Backing Up SMS Primary Sites

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Nov 19, 2001


by Dana Daugherty

Microsoft supports only one backup procedure for Systems Management Server. This article hits the highlights of backing data up in SMS and points you to some good resources for additional information on the procedure.


Microsoft supports only one backup procedure for Systems Management Server. Dana Daugherty's latest article hits the highlights of backing data up in SMS and points you to some good resources for additional information on the procedure.

Can you think of one work-related scenario that could almost make you cry? How's this -- for years you've been promising your wife that you would take her on a cruise. With all the long hours you've been putting in as an SMS administrator, she's beginning to feel a bit neglected. She can't believe that you are actually working all those hours. Not to mention all the chores you've been putting on hold around the house...and so on...

Now it's finally the big day -- you have the car packed, the baby sitter lined up, the whole nine yards. You're ready to leave right after work. You can just taste the rum and coke, warm sun, entertainment -- you get the picture...

Then Bingo! Your SMS Primary Site Server fails, the one with 20 secondary sites. You're starting to feel sick all of a sudden. The story can end happily, or it can leave you crying the blues.


SMS Site Backup Task

If you've followed the supported backup scenarios offered by Microsoft you could be on your way, and on time even. If you have no backup at all, or if you have used a non-supported method...well, good luck.

If you are going to go to the trouble of backing up your SMS server, use a method that Microsoft supports. SMS provides a great backup feature. On a primary server, drill down the hierarchy, open Site Settings, then open the Database Maintenance tasks tree, and then select Tasks. Within Tasks you will see Backup SMS Site Server. This is documented as the preferred method of backing up SMS. You can customize your backup within the task properties by selecting the location to export to and the day and time to perform a backup.


What Gets Backed Up

 By default the backup task exports the following from the primary server:

 X      SiteDBServer

o       The SMS database and the system databases (Master, Model and MSDB)

X      SiteServer

o       The SMS file structure that is contained under the SMS_<SiteCode> directory, the WBEM repository and SMS registry keys.

X      Software Metering Database

o       Software Metering Database, and system databases

o       Registry keys

o       If it resides on a different server more files will be present.

X      PoviderServer

o       SMS Provider registry key

o       If the provider resides on a different server more files will be present.

The SMS Site Backup task creates four folders. The folder names match the bullets above. Each folder is populated with the items listed beneath the bullets. There is also a log in the root of the export path that you can configure in the task properties.


The Backup Control File

This is the blue print for the backup. The SMS Site Backup task reads this file to determine what to backup. The location is \\<SiteServer>\Site_<SiteCode\inboxes\SMSbkup.box\SMSbkup.ctl . It is highly recommended that you back this file up after customizing it. Some service packs will actually overwrite the backup control file. Also be aware that the SP1 version of smsbkup.ctl is quite a bit different than SP2.


Customizing the Backup Control File

 SMSbkup.ctl should be customized to match the components installed on your primary server. Customizing will help you avoid errors and possibly miss data during backup.

For example, here is a snippet of code from the file. Since my server doesn't have Crystal Info installed, I commented out the commands that attempt to stop those services.

 [stop]

service     \\%SITE_SERVER%\SMS_SITE_COMPONENT_MANAGER

service     \\%SITE_SERVER%\SMS_EXECUTIVE

service     \\%SITE_DB_SERVER%\SMS_SQL_MONITOR

service     \\%SITE_SERVER%\SMS_LICENSE_SERVER

# service    `\\%SITE_SERVER%\Info APS`

# service    `\\%SITE_SERVER%\Info Agent`

# service    `\\%SITE_SERVER%\Info Sentinel`


Why Is this the Preferred Method?

This is the preferred method mainly because the SMS services are stopped and a snapshot is taken of all your important SMS data and support files. Synchronization of the process within the primary server and with other SMS servers is also an issue. Read my article about Site Recovery to see why synchronization is so important.

Note: You can use third party backup software; Microsoft only supports it if the same procedures listed in the backup control file are followed in the same order.

Here is a link to some great backup and recovery info: http://www.microsoft.com/smsmgmt/techdetails/recovery/default.asp


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