Microsoft SharePoint is an invaluable tool used by organizations worldwide for data sharing and collaboration among teams. SharePoint provides businesses with a way to increase teamwork and productivity to streamline their processes and improve their business outcomes. There are several deployment options available for SharePoint, such as on-premises, online through Office 365 or a hybrid deployment. Each option has its own benefits, however, this blog post focuses on Veeam Explorer for SharePoint being used in an on premises deployment model of Microsoft SharePoint. If you’re using SharePoint online, Veeam Explorer is available to you as well through Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.
An on-premises SharePoint farm could consist of multiple servers with each server needing to remain operating to meet your end user’s expectation. To meet a user’s demands, it’s important to have an Availability strategy in place. Veeam meets these expectations by giving you the technology to browse the database, restore individual items, and gain instant visibility while still being easy to use.
Veeam has developed many powerful built-in Explorers in its software, and Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint is no different. From the Veeam backup of your SharePoint server, you gain the ability to browse the content database, recover necessary items without having to fully restore, and start the virtual machine hosting the content database. Like the other Veeam Explorers, this tool is available with all editions of Veeam Backup & Replication, even the Free Edition!
When you perform a backup of your SharePoint Server, remember to enable Application Aware Image Processing. This technology creates a transactional-consistent backup to guarantee the proper recovery of your applications running on VMs. Once you successfully created the backup or replica of your SharePoint Server, you can start using the Explorer. There are a couple options available to you when using the Explorer, these include: browsing the SharePoint database, restoring individual SharePoint items and permissions, exporting items (sending as an email attachment or saving them to another location), and the ability to restore SharePoint sites.
Once you’re ready to perform a recovery, the application item restore wizard will auto-discover the SharePoint farms that were backed up and initiate the mount operation. During this operation, Veeam Backup & Replication retrieves information about SharePoint sites, the corresponding database server VMs, and restore points.
Figure 1: Veeam SharePoint Item restore wizard
When first initiating the restore, the wizard shows you the list of available sites included in the backup, allowing you to choose which site you want to explore to find the items you need. The Application Aware Image Processing technology is how Veeam Backup & Replication auto-discovers the information about your SharePoint Servers. It is important to remember to select this option when first performing the backup.
Figure 2: Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint
Within the Explorer itself is where you can view the content databases, sites, subsites, libraries and lists. Depending on what you select, you can browse and view its contents to find what is needed to restore. If you’re restoring a document, you can even open and preview the document to ensure it’s the correct item needed to recover. Available in all the editions of Veeam Backup & Replication, Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint delivers granular browsing and search capabilities to find any item or multiple items stored in any number of Microsoft SharePoint databases. To support this capability, the guest file system of the VM is mounted directly from the backup to a staging Microsoft SQL Server. By default, Veeam will use the SQL Server Express instance that was installed when you deployed Veeam Backup & Replication. One thing to note, the staging system must be compatible or the same version as the Microsoft SQL server that hosts the Microsoft SharePoint Content databases. If it is not, you will need to identify a staging SQL Server that is compatible to be able to use the Explorer. This is available within the Veeam Explorer options, under the SQL Server Settings tab. For detailed instructions on this functionality, please refer to the user guide.
With the amount of visibility Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint provides, you may want to be able to keep track of who is accessing the Explorer, what they are looking at, and why they are performing restores. For this, Veeam offers another layer of visibility, especially when it comes to restore operations. This visibility comes in the form of Veeam ONE, specifically the Restore Operators Report allowing you to safeguard your data with the ability to see who is accessing your data, where it is being restored to, and what items are being restored.
Veeam ONE Restore Operators Report
Veeam offers powerful, useful tools to ensure Availability for your business. Sometimes, we need to take an extra step to ensure we are still meeting the security requirements for the business as well. Veeam ONE’s Restore Operator’s Report gives you a detailed description of who is accessing your backup data and what restores they are performing or not performing. This allows you to gain an extra layer of visibility by being able to view all types of restore actions performed across the Veeam Backup Servers.
Figure 3. Restore Operators Activity Report
The above report shows who is accessing the backup data and what restores they are performing. This is an easy way to ensure that the correct people who have permission to be accessing certain data, are only accessing that data when and how they’re supposed to. The above image shows the different users performing restores and what type of restore it is, if its application, full VM, files, or even a restore from tape.
Figure 4. Restore Operators Report Continued
Going deeper into the report, you can see which VMs the users are accessing and what restores they are performing, or if they’re even performing a restore. This report is very useful to double check to ensure your users are only accessing what they should be accessing.
Microsoft SharePoint is a valuable tool used in organizations today to increase collaboration among teams to improve teamwork and organizational knowledge to be able to make better decisions. Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint allows you to keep your business’ most important applications available to meet your end users demands. An added benefit is this Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint is even included in Veeam Backup Free Edition — allowing you to start using this powerful technology today!