ConfigMgr 2012 Site Backup and Recovery Overview


This overview is primarily intended to cover backup and recovery for single site hierarchies. Due to their complexity, recovery of a site within a multi-site hierarchy, which will include a CAS (Central Administration Site), is beyond the scope of this guide. References will be provided to assist in this particular scenario.

Any viable recovery starts with a backup.

ConfigMgr 2012 Backup Methods

This guide will focus on use of existing Microsoft backup techniques, since they are most commonly deployed. This does not imply that 3rd party backup products cannot or do not work, simply that it is beyond the scope of this guide to cover 3rd party backup solutions.

Both the CAS and the Primary sites should be backed up on a regular basis. Note there is no backup needed for secondary sites. In the event a secondary site needs to be recovered, it is regenerated from the parent primary site.

What needs to be backed up?

Primarily, two things:

  1. Files – All package source and library content should be backed up to a secure location. While the ConfigMgr site database will have knowledge of packages and applications in use, the package/application source is not included in the standard built-in backup maintenance task (details below).
  2. Databases – The ConfigMgr and SUSDB (if applicable) databases should be backed up on daily basis.

Built-in backup maintenance task

Enabled from the ConfigMgr console, the built-in maintenance task will backup all required files needed for recovery, including full copies of the ConfigMgr site database files.

Note: Advantage of using this backup maintenance task is that it will work with all versions of ConfigMgr 2012, and past versions as well. The disadvantage of using this standard task, the backup takes additional storage as the full database copies are copied as well.

Use Data Protection Manager

Starting with ConfigMgr 2012 Sp1 and later, DPM is a viable backup method to backup only the ConfigMgr site SQL database.

Note: Requires having DPM installed and managing the server environment.

Use native SQL Backup tasks

Starting with ConfigMgr 2012 Sp1 and later, using native SQL Server backup tasks is another valid option to backup only the ConfigMgr site SQL database. The easiest way to implement this method; use the SQL Server backup maintenance wizard and schedule the backup plan with an SQL Server Agent job.


Note: Advantage to this method, database backups can be completed using database compression, often resulting in backups that are 25% of the original data size!

ConfigMgr 2012 Recovery

A site recovery is required any time a site fails or data loss occurs within the database.

Note: that in a multi-site hierarchy recovery scenario, there is a time limit on the validity of a database backup set (it is about 3 days maximum). This illustrates the importance of running backups on a daily basis.

Recovery Method

Anytime a ConfigMgr 2012 site recovery is required, you will need to use the Configuration Manager Site recovery wizard. This recovery option is only available by running Setup from the original ConfigMgr 2012 installation media.

Site Server Recovery Options

Reinstall the site server – option of last resort, would only be used if no backup existed of the site server. Site server would be re-installed with all of the options selected on the original install.

Recover the site using an existing site backup – using the backup set from the site backup maintenance task; perform the site server recovery sequence.

Site Database Recovery Options

Running Setup from the original ConfigMgr 2012 installation media, you have the following options for recovering the site database. Note than in all scenarios, any changes made to the site following the time of the backup will not be recovered.

Using a database backup set from the built-in maintenance task – Database can be restored as part of this process.

Skip database recovery – used primarily for SQL Server databases stored on another server, and not needed for recovery. The likely use for this scenario, the SQL database is fine, and the primary site needed to be recovered.

Create a new database – this option would only be used in a multi-site hierarchy where one of the site databases could not be recovered. The “missing” information can be re-created from existing information located and replicated from within the hierarchy.

Manually recover a site database – this option would be used for all recovery options where the ConfigMgr database was restored from a backup from any process outside of the site backup maintenance task. Once the database is restored, use the setup and restore option to complete the recovery option using an existing database option.

Note: this method is supported from ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 and later.

For other related restoration activity, please review the following


This entry was posted in ConfigMgr, SQL Server, System Center 2012 R2. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to ConfigMgr 2012 Site Backup and Recovery Overview

  1. Kevin says:

    Steve – If we are going to use a Native SQL backup maintenance plan should we then change the recovery method from Simple back to full?

    • configmgrmvp says:

      Hi Kevin, there should never be a reason to use full recovery mode for a ConfigMgr database. Daily backups are usually sufficient. Even in a restore scenario, the site can rebuild the information that may have been lost. -Steve

  2. Pingback: Configuration Manager SQL Server Backup guidelines | Steve Thompson [MVP]

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