Book Review: SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide

April 1, 2009

Nice people from Cengage Learning contacted me recently for a review of a book they published. The book is called SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide and was written by John L. Ferringer and Sean McDonough.

They were also very kind to send me three copies of the book for giveaway, but since you won’t believe it on April 1st anyway ;-) there’ll be a separate post soon explaining how to win your copy.

Who should read this book?

This book will be invaluable for SharePoint administrators who already have a good understanding of how data is stored in SharePoint and have some technical experience with built-in backup and recovery tools. I think it would be a difficult read for those who only have end user experience with SharePoint and are new to the platform administration. It will be overwhelming and confusing for such readers.

Why read this book?

I think that anyone who already has such experience and is tasked with preparing an overall disaster recovery plan should read this. Here’s the good stuff you will find in the book:

  • Helpful tips on what you can do with the native backup and recovery tools and how you could extend them via scripting and custom development can be found troughout the book, specifically in chapters 6-7.
  • If you are SharePoint administrator with not much experience in technologies it depends on, such as IIS and SQL Server, you’ll find quite a few insights here and get a bigger picture of what tools exist and can be used in SharePoint disaster recovery. Chapters 8 through 11 cover SQL server and Windows backup and recovery and high availability.
  • Real jewels in chapters 12 through 14 (DR Planning and Key Concepts; Design and Implementation; Testing and Maintenance) are a must-read for any technical staff responsible for SharePoint recovery. Too often we think of SharePoint just from technical perspective, these chapters help to put the technology in the right place from perspective of the overall business continuity planning.

Some suggestions for the Second Edition

Few things that I believe could be done better to make the book more straightforward for SharePoint newbies, not only administrators with good level of understanding:

  • Add an overview of how SharePoint data, configurations, and customizations are stored. A lot of this information is scattered throughout the book, but there’s no single chapter in the book to serve as a reference. Things like Joel’s SharePoint containment hierarchy could really help here.
  • Make it very clear how much technical knowledge and experience is assumed. Some sections of the book surprised me by too detailed explanations of the basics (like the default install paths with screenshots, etc.), while the very next page can mention about IP bindingsin IIS with no explanation at all.
  • Re-write or cut the chapters that cover topics that are not directly related to disaster recovery. It’s good to know about recycle bins, SharePoint Designer backups, and maybe even the options such as saving site templates with content. But none of these really fits into the disaster recovery plan discussed further on in the book, and spending almost 60 pages on them might be too much.
  • Get another round of technical review to ensure all technical details are accurate and there is no ambiguity. For example, in several places the book mentions you can restore a single site collection from a Central Administration backup. In reality, this is only true when you keep one site collection per content database. This assumption is never articulated in the book, which can be really misleading for readers who don’t have hands-on experience with Central Administration and STSADM.exe backups.

Bottom line:

SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide is a great resource for SharePoint administrators with good technical understanding of SharePoint overall architecture and built-in backup and recovery tools. From reading it you can learn how you can extend the use of the native tools with other methods, and see what other technologies such as Windows Server and SQL Server have to offer. Finally, the book allows you to take a step back and see the bigger picture of SharePoint disaster recovery from the business perspective.

So, take your time to review the ToC with John’s comments and stay tuned for the giveaway details!

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3 Responses to “Book Review: SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide”


  1. […] first three winners will get the free copy of SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Guide. You can see my review of the book here, and read more about it on […]

  2. techiee Says:

    Hi,

    Just moving by and saw this post…surely MS SharePoint Server is rising immensely and so are the corruption levels and document recovery situations. It turns out to be nightmare for sharepoint admins to perform the restore and recovery operation and even worse if the backups turn bad.

    There is one tool which takes you out from such situations:

    http://www.nucleustechnologies.com/sharepoint-document-recovery.html


  3. Thanks Techiee, that’s an interesting tool. Obviously a good backup is not available, and a database corrupts happen every once in a while…

    If you read this book, John and Sean give few great tips on how to mitigate the risks and avoid such situations – actually, that’s the whole point of the Disaster Recovery Guide!

    Regards,
    Ilia


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