SCCM Backup and file backup

I have run into the fact a couple of times at customers that there is no valid backup of SCCM that can be used, so I thought it was time to share it.

When doing backup of a SCCM primary site there is only one supported way to do it and that is using the Site Maintenance Task called: “Backup ConfigMgr Site Server”. When configuring the task you choose where to save the backup and when it should run. In many times this can be a local disk or a remote share on a file server.

Note: there is no idea of doing a backup of a secondary site as you cannot restore it, for more information see

To archive the backup a file backup of the share/folder is normally used as this is the only way to back up the SCCM site and it is here it starts getting interesting.

Configuration Manager Uses snapshot technology for backing up the Database and Database log file, this means that these two files are NOT modified during the backup, not even the time stamp.

The only time the dates of the Database and Database log files changes date is when:

  1. The SQL server or SQL service is restarted
  2. The database or database log files are growing automatically


If we have a look at the files in Windows Explorer, this is taken from my lab environment where the backup of SCCM ran successfully on the 2/5 – 2011  



If we the open the SiteDBServer directory which holds the database and the log file, we can see that the time stamps of these two files are from the last time I restarted my server even if the backup ran on the 2/5:

When using a backup system like TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager) or some other product make sure that the backup tool is using the archive attribute to recognise if  a file is changed.
TSM does NOT use it, it checks the file dates and I have ran into this a couple of times now that there is now valid backup to restore.
Maybe this is the case for more than TSM but I haven’t had the opportunity to verify it.

So talk to your backup team and ask them how the backup tool you use work. If it doesn’t use the archive file attribute ask them to perform a full backup each night of the SCCM backup directory so you have a valid backup.
I always recommend doing a full backup of the SCCM backup directory each night.


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