We get asked frequently which backup solution we recommend… and the obvious answer is ForeFront Data Protection Manager 2010 which includes protection for the entire SharePoint stack (Windows, SQL, and SharePoint itself). Of course we recommend it… WE MAKE IT!.
Otherwise, Microsoft doesn’t recommend, endorse, validate, or support any 3rd party software… pretty much ever. (regardless of partner level… Silver… Gold… Platinum… Unobtainium… whatever). However, we can tell you what questions to ask of your vendor… and what question you should be thinking about.
First, remember that you’re not looking for a “backup solution”. You’re looking for a “Disaster RECOVERY” solution… so the question you should be asking is not “How does this back up”… it should be “What can this help us recover from?”. For example, doing filesystem backups of the SharePoint server is all well and good… but those indexes on the SharePoint server you backed up? Nearly useless. So clearly the fantastic backup strategy is EPIC FAIL on the recovery side… which is the whole point anyway, isn’t it?
Second, there are two key questions that you should be asking when looking for a DR solution::
Third, and last, does the DR solution meet your business and data management needs? Does it offer retention (and mandated deletion)? Offsite storage? Tape management? What is the recovery speed? What is the recovery process? Can you do a “bare metal” recovery? What CAN’T it restore?
…which brings us back to DPM… which does all of these things well. Plus, if you have a problem in your DR strategy, it’s nice to only have one vendor to talk to.
Happy RFP’ing :)