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Granular Backup and Restore: A Step-by-Step Guide from AvePoint

Granular Backup:

Planning and deploying a data protection strategy for your SharePoint data is critical for maintaining business continuity and ensuring that your company assets are covered from both accidental deletions or even malicious intent.  This post will walk you through a few simple steps to configuring the AvePoint DocAve Granular Backup solution for an effective strategy to protect your SharePoint data at a granular level, coupled with a video illustration of setting up the AvePoint software.

After installing the software on your SharePoint 2010, 2013 or 2016 environment, you simply log in and access the Granular Backup and Restore interface to begin the setup.  Once there, you will be presented with an interface to the farm(s) connected to the DocAve system.

Step 1:  From this interface select the farm(s) in question and expand the scope tree down to the level you wish to backup (i.e. select either site collection, site or even lower level objects depending on the backup requirement).

Step 2:  Begin building out the backup policy by selecting Wizard Mode from the Plan Builder icon in the ribbon.  This wizard will take you through a series of configurations for your backup policy beginning with a “Plan Name” and optional “Description” that you can apply to your particular policy.  Once this is done click Next at the bottom right of the screen in this wizard.

Step 3:  Next you will need to define a location where the DocAve system will write its backup data to.  This is configured in the “Specify a storage policy” drop down field (note: this post assumes that you have already configured a “Storage Policy” in DocAve).  Other options available, but not required, are Compression and/or Encryption of the backup data.  Once again, click Next at the bottom right of the screen.

Step 4:  At this screen you will be presented with options (depending on the level selected in the scope tree) for the level desired for restore.  Most AvePoint customers using Granular Backup select “Item” restore granularity as this allows to restore granularly from the backups.  Click Next at the bottom right of the screen.

Step 5:  Now it’s time to select whether to configure a schedule for your backup.  If desired select the radial labeled “Configure the schedule myself” and then click the link titled “Add Schedule” that is made available immediately thereafter.  This will generate a pop up window that allows you to setup your backup schedule and the backup type desired (i.e. Full, Incremental or Differential).  Select your backup type, setup your desired backup frequency and click the “OK” button on this window.  Click Next at the bottom right of the screen.

Step 6:  You will now be presented with advanced options for your backup plan.  These include any filter policies that may have been configured in DocAve which you would like to include in the backup plan and options for email notifications, inclusion of workflow definitions and instances, as well as user profile information.  Depending on your backup needs, you may want to include or omit those options.  Please note that there may be performance implications by selecting more options to include as part of your backup plan.  Click Next.

Step 7:  This step allows you to review the settings you’ve selected while building your granular backup plan.  At this stage take a moment to confirm that your desired settings are configured correctly and if so, proceed to select the “Finish” option at the bottom right of the screen.  “Finish” allows you to save the configuration and your backup will commence at its scheduled time or you can select “Finish and Run Now” if you wish to execute a backup job immediately.

This completes your Granular Backup setup.  Upon job execution you can follow the status of a running job in the DocAve Job Monitor.  Please watch the video below outlining the steps highlighted above.

Granular Restore

What good is a backup without the ability to perform an effective restore?  This section covers the steps required for you to be able to restore content at a granular level from the backup we just configured.  As we did with the granular backup, these steps will be followed with a short video illustrating the narrative.

Start by simply logging in the DocAve console and accessing the Granular Backup and Restore.  Once there, click on the “Restore” tab at the top of the ribbon and select the link labelled “Start with Time-based Restore”.

Step 1:  You will see a calendar displayed on the UI with references to each backup job ran under its respective day of the week.  Simply locate the appropriate completed backup job that you wish to restore from.  For older backup jobs that you may not see present in the UI, simply adjust the filter at the top left of this screen for a more historical view of your backup data.  At this point select the backup job desired for restore and click Next at the bottom right of the screen.

Step 2:  You’ll be presented with a scope tree associated with this backup job in the UI which you can expand down in order to find the desired data.  In the video, our IT administrator has been asked to recover a file that a SharePoint end user can no longer find in SharePoint.  As such, the administrator is drilling down in through the scope tree into a document library and picking out the appropriate file for restore.  NOTE:  In the example if the administrator did not know the exact location of the file, he or she could have just as easily performed a full text search for the file from the UI to find it with ease.  Once the file is identified in the pop-up screen, it is selected, click “OK” to exit the pop-up, and then click Next at the bottom right of the screen to proceed.

Step 3:  At this step you will be offered an opportunity to determine where you want to restore the file.  Three options will be presented; “In place restore” which restore the file back to its original location, “Out of place restore” which allows you to pick another SharePoint location to restore the content, or “Restore to file system” which allows you to restore the data out to a network share.  In the video, we’ve been asked to restore the file to its original location so “In place restore” is selected.  The administrator then clicks Next.

Step 4:  Now you will be offered a number of “Restore Settings” to choose from.  Container and Content level “conflict resolution” are options that allow you to determine how to manage potential data conflicts during the restore process. This screen also allows you to determine whether to apply these rules to potential conflicts in the site recycle bin, or whether you choose to include Apps and/or to exclude users and groups that do not contain permissions to the object being restored.  Version settings and workflow state are also options that can be included in the restore process.  In the video most of the default options are left and the assumption is that the file is nowhere to be found in SharePoint.  Thus, the “Skip” option is selected in the conflict resolution for each option and the remainder of the defaults are left.  The administrator clicks Next to advance.

Step 5:  You will have the option to restore the object on a schedule.  If desired you can choose to “Configure the schedule myself”.  Otherwise select “Restore immediately after wizard finishes” to execute the restore on the spot. In the video we want to restore this content as quickly as possible so the administrator selects “Restore immediately after wizard finishes”.  Click Next to proceed.

Step 6:  Use this screen to review all the choices selected throughout the wizard to ensure that your restore options are appropriate.  Click Finish once you have reviewed the settings.  This kicks off the restore job to begin.

You can then monitor the completion of the restore in the Job Monitor and once it indicates as finished, you can navigate to the selected restore location to verify that the content has been restored successfully.  Enjoy the video outlining the steps covered here.