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
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
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
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:
The SMS database and the system databases
(Master, Model and MSDB)
The SMS file structure that is contained under
the SMS_ directory, the WBEM repository and
SMS registry keys.
Software Metering Database
Software Metering Database, and system
If it resides on a different server more files
will be present.
SMS Provider registry key
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
Customizing the Backup Control
SMSbkup.ctl should be customized to
match the components installed on your primary server.
Customizing will help you avoid errors and possibly miss data
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
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
Here is a link to some great backup and