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Copy current live Sharepoint 2010 environment and deploy in a test environment

We have our live Sharepoint 2010 Farm. It is running off Server 2008 R2.
The Database Server is SQL 2008 R2. This is running on Server 2008 R2 also.
Both Servers are VM's.

We would like to replicate the current live environment to 2 new Server 2008 R2 VM's (1 with SP2010 and 1 with SQL 2008 R2) so we can use as a test farm to deploy and test a new feature.

Is there a way to backup the current farm, then deploy it on the 2 new servers? The new servers will be running in the same domain. So we would need to make sure that the live and test farms do not interact with each other. Is this possible?
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Howzatt
Asked:
Howzatt
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8 Solutions
 
wdfdo1986Commented:
You can either use UI or Powershell commands
Powershell commandlets for backup and restore are
Backup-SPFarm and Restore-SPFarm

Use these official documentations
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee428295(v=office.14).aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee428311(v=office.14).aspx
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Justin SmithSr. System EngineerCommented:
After reviewing all these options that were posted, I have the following comments:

1. sharepointchick - this is a bit overkill.  You don't need to worry about that XML spit out for the accounts.  Also, I believe this was written for 2007, though the overall process is pretty much the same.

2. richardstd - this looked promising, but he's lacking information.

3. technet - the technet articles are all for backup/restore in SharePoint.  For one, the farm level backup and restore usally only works if you're restoring to the same server names.  Secondly, the site level backup and restore is pointless if you have a bunch of sites.  You'd have to run it for each one.


Rather than posting a link to an article, let me first ask you how many Site Collections does your farm have?  What is the average size per site?  Do you have a bunch of custom search configuration (rules, properties, etc) that you need to replicate?  Do you have a bunch of custom User Profile Properties that you need to replicate?
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HowzattAuthor Commented:
ACH1lLLES, Just want to replicate the entire farm. Do you need to know the answers to all of those questions to do that?
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wdfdo1986Commented:
Replicate entire farm can be done by using BR methods given by UI or Powershell Commandlets.
But Site Collections should be separately backed up and restored.
Sorry I missed that point earlier.
But as far as I see your problem you don't need to replicate site collections in your test environment. Am I right?
If you want refer to official technet documents always. Because they are the most up to date.
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KoenVostersCommented:
Have you considered creating a VM of your AD, putting it together with the SharePoint Server and SQL on a seperate network segment so that it is completely seperated from the rest?

That way you will have the full stuff all together.

Another option would be to create a new farm in VM's, add the content databases and service application databases and deploy any custom solutions you already have on it.

It's a great way to test if you can recover your SharePoint farm from a backup (and test if all the customizations you have there are properly documented)

Afterwards you can, as a process, repeat the re-deployment of content databases from production to your test environment. Additionally, take into account that if you are using the MMS that also those databases need to be copied with the content databases as there is a GUID based link between the two.
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HowzattAuthor Commented:
Forgot to mention 1 point in the original post. There are 2 SP servers. 1 for App and 1 for Web.
What I have done so far:
* Deployed 3 new VM's (Server 2008 R2)
* Installed SQL 2008 R2 on Server A. Add all the appropriate users
* Installed SP2010 on Servers B & C
* Run a backup of the Content DB from the Production Farm SQL Server
* Restored the Backup to SQL on Server A

I assume the remaining steps are too:
* Create the new Farm on SP Server B.
* Connect SP on Server C to the Farm on Server B
* remove the default content DB from the new farm
* Attach the Content DB on Server A

This is the first time I have attempted this. I am not a SP Expert. So any other steps I am missing would be greatly appreciated.
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wdfdo1986Commented:
First where did fails? I have never done it in that way.

If you want to go this way I recommend to backup and restore both config and content dbs and use this command to attach it
New-SPConfigurationDatabase -DatabaseName <Config DB Name> -AdministrationContentDatabaseName <Content DB Name> -DatabaseServer <SQL Server> -Passphrase (ConvertTo-SecureString <SQL Server Password> -AsPlainText -force) -FarmCredentials (Get-Credential)

This is the recommended command for DBA created DB scenario. So it should work.

Actually that's not the best way if you are not an SP expert. If you use commandlets or UI you don't have to worry about the DBs.
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wdfdo1986Commented:
And also run the PS config after that.
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