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Will SharePoint Hurt Your Backup?

by on August 13, 2010

Microsoft’s sharing and collaboration platform, SharePoint, has been attracting users since its introduction in 2001. Companies are finding the software’s document sharing, team discussion and document-based workflow features hard to resist. However, organizations that depend only on the native backup tools in SharePoint to protect their information could be asking for trouble.

SharePoint-2010-logo That’s what AvePoint maintains in a white paper published last spring. Granted, AvePoint is in the business of selling SharePoint add-on software, but it does make some excellent points about the deficiencies in SharePoint’s native backup tools. If all your SharePoint data has the same value, and all your data sets are being updated and modified at the same frequency, and it’s acceptable to lose all your documents’ metadata during a recovery operation, then the software’s native backup tools will satisfy your needs, AvePoint notes facetiously.

“Otherwise,” it declares, “without proper planning, the lethal combination of growing content volume, the use of DB as primary storage, and the lack of sufficient native backup tools could very well make SharePoint a Pandora’s Box for your organization.”

One particular thorny issue cited by AvePoint is the loss of metadata when recovering backups. “If a SharePoint native backup solution is utilized to recover [a] corrupted or missing document, the restored document may lose its original metadata and recovered documents will be created under the name of the  person restoring it,” the company observes.

That has two bad consequences for a company. Not only will it lose the metadata for the documents, but it creates a false audit trail for the information, which  can have legal ramifications down the road.

AvePoint’s paper focuses on the tools in SharePoint 2007. Those tools have been improved in the 2010 version of the program, released earlier this year, but, according to some observers, still leave much to be desired.

“The new backup and recovery features that come with SharePoint 2010 will simplify basic recovery scenarios and are definitely a step forward for anyone who can afford to rely on the native tools only,” Ilia Sotnikov wrote at the SharePoint for All website.

“However,” he continued, “companies that store critical data and run business applications on SharePoint will still want to consider third party tools to ensure they spend minimum time to restore content, be that a single document, a list, or an entire site collection.”

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