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Most organizations perform some sort of backup of their System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (CM12) sites. Unfortunately most do not actually tested their backup. This is because it can be very difficult to simulate a failure in production and perform a site recovery. Backups are good. Backups that you know you can actually restore from are better.
This post is intended to provide IT professionals the understanding of the general case backup requirements of CM12, a sample backup strategy, and how to test the backup by simulating a failure and performing a restore of the database portion of the site. As a best practice I typically walk my clients through this process before handing them the keys to their new CM12 environment. The instructions provided here are based on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 and MS SQL Server 2012 SP1.
Step 1: Scheduling the Backup Task
CM12 has a built in maintenance task call Backup Site Server. It performs synchronization between the database and the site control file and other key configuration elements of the Configuration manager site.
As part of the site configuration, the maintenance task to perform a site backup should be configured to perform a daily backup stored in an easily accessible location. For the purposes of this post, let’s use E:\CM12_Backup Figure 1 - Configure Backup Maintenance Task
The success of the backup task can be verified in the following ways:
The backup files in E:\CM12_Backup should be moved to an archival media as per corporate standards. Multiple copies should be maintained in the event that one copy is corrupted or unavailable as it is preferable to restore from an older backup that to recreate the entire infrastructure manually if the latest backup is unavailable. Step 2: Backing Up Additional Items The Backup Site Server task is intended to backup key elements of the Configuration Manager site that require synchronization, or other special attention. Items that are not backed up by the Backup Site Server maintenance task that should be considered for inclusion in any supplementary backup tasks are listed below:
Step 3: Site Recovery
To restore a Configuration Manager Site Server, follow these steps:
Once the site has been successfully recovered, the following tasks need to be performed:
Step 4: Partial Recovery – Database Only
The site recovery wizard will run the same prerequisite checks that a full install will perform. If a full rebuild of the server OS was not performed and only a database recovery is required, the restore process may fail on the detection of a dedicated SQL instance with the following error:
Dedicated SQL Server instance Failed
The same error may be encountered during a test of the restoration process due to remnants of the site in the registry that may indicate a previous installation.
To remedy this error, delete the following registry keys:
The same issue may also arise when testing the DR process. The same resolution method can be used. I have created a batch file that I use to speed up this process. Here is the source for my DelKeys.bat file:
REM *** DelKeys.bat ***
REM *** Delete the 3 registry keys to simulate CM12 site failure ***
REM *** Do not prompt user before delete ***
REM *** Unsupported – Use at your own risk ***
REG.EXE DELETE "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\Components\SMS_SITE_SQL_BACKUP" /f
REG.EXE DELETE "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\Operations Management\Components\SMS_SITE_SQL_BACKUP" /f
REG.EXE DELETE "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\Tracing\SMS_SITE_SQL_BACKUP" /f
Step 5: Performing a Database Only DR Test
As the base OS, SQL Server and, Configuration Manager Application software can all be rebuilt from generic source media, the most important part of a DR test is to verify that the site configuration and database can be restored as these items will be specific to your organization. The following method can be used to simulate a failure and restore.
Now go test those backups.
 The actual recovery process has options to restore different portions of the system depending on the nature of the site failure.
Always very informative, Thanks Colin.