Thursday, April 4, 2013

Restore site or list from backup without attaching database

A great improvement to Restore/Backups was made to SharePoint 2010. In MOSS2007 the restore/backup functionality was restricted to Farm, Web Applications and Content Databases.

In the 2010 version, using just the OOTB options, we can be as granular as choosing an individual list. This greatly improves the flexibility of this functionality. Not surprisingly, the feature is called Granular Backup.

To use it, open Central Administration and go to Backup and Restore. You'll see 2 sections: Farm Backup and Restore (enhanced version of the old feature) and Granular Backup (new feature).

The Farm Backup and Restore option, is the upgraded version of what we had in MOSS2007. Objects such as Solutions and individual Content Databases in Web Applications can be chosen, and so do other configurations and data throughout the farm, such as the Managed Metadata Service. It is slightly more extensive than the MOSS2007 version, but still not as granular as we'd like, as it only goes as far as Content Databases and Farm Components.

In the Granular Backup, is where the new 2010 functionality kicks in. Backups of individual site collections or exporting sites or lists can be performed. Beware, running PowerShell will be required for the restore/import.

Anyway, the most interesting functionality there, for me, is the ability to open an unattached database in browse mode and restore content from it. You can quite simply restore a database backup in SQL Server and then open it and browse just by using the Central Admin.

Once you've selected the database server / database name and browse content, you'll be able to navigate through the site collections > sites > lists navigation tree. After that, you're given the same option as with the live system: backup the whole site collection or export the chosen site or list. The export can include security and allows us to choose how to handle versioning: export all the versions, only the last major, only the current one or the last major and minor.

After this step, we'll have either a bak or cmp file and will be able to restore / import the content using PowerShell. Check Restore-SPSite or Import-SPWeb, according to the type of content you want to restore / import.

Overall, makes things much easier in restoring data from backups, allowing us to do restore the database in SQL and then do all the recovery work in the Central Admin.

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