Posted by: John Ferringer | July 2, 2012

Presentations: Backup is not Backup and Everybody Lies

This past weekend was a lot of fun for me, I got to see several of my very good friends from the SharePoint community over at SharePoint Saturday Dayton 2012, including Sean McDonough, Virgil Carroll, and Dan Usher, met some new connections such as Clint Richardson and Scott Hoag, and had another great road trip with my brother in geekery, Enrique Lima. Oh, and I got to do a brand spanking new presentation, “Everybody Lies: Troubleshooting SharePoint with House MD” 🙂 If you were able to make it out to SPS Dayton and catch the presentation, please let me know what you think, I’d love the feedback! It was a wonderful event, and I was thrilled to be part of it.

I’m embedding the slides from that presentation below, along with links to some of the tools and info that I mention in the presentation. One important link I do want to call out is to a white paper that I’ve written for Idera Software on the same subject, which can be downloaded from Idera’s website at It’s a handy companion to the presentation, each was an outline for the other and my perspective is that you’ll get more from the two combined than you will with just one or the other.

Here’s the slides:

And here’s the links to resources that I mentioned in the presentation:

Speaking of Idera, they also invited me to do a free webinar last month on the subject of SharePoint Disaster Recovery, which was a great opportunity for me to do yet another new presentation I’d been working on: Backup is not Backup, Restore is Backup. I’d been wanting to try to encourage a different perspective with SharePoint DR: one stressing the importance of making sure you’re able to actually restore your content when it counts rather than just getting it backed up and forgetting about it. The webinar went very well, and I really enjoyed the conversations in the chat room during it in addition to the overall opportunity to deliver it. If you didn’t get a chance to join us, Idera has published a recording of the webcast, which you can go here to download:

Additionally, here are the slides for that talk:

That’s all I’ve got time for right now, but I’m going to challenge myself to get another blog post up this week on a technical SharePoint topic that keeps coming up for me time and time again, even though its been around for quite a long time on the SharePoint platform: how to access SharePoint’s databases. Hopefully I’ll be able to get that done this week, we’ll see if its possible with the upcoming July 4th holiday here in the United States or not.

Until then, have a great one and I hope the slides are useful!



  1. It was great meeting you in-person at SPS Dayton. Thank you for volunteering for our first annual event.

  2. The topic of troubleshooting SharePoint is of critical importance to me, and yet your talk, as well as a blog series or two that I have found during searching, seems to be the main sources of useful information available to SP admins. The msdn forums are great when questions result in responses, but to those not so fortunate, having other avenues of information seems pretty important.

    Are you aware of anyone who has written extensively on the topic? I am really in need of a store of information to assist while trying to correct the various problems that I encounter.

    Troubleshooting problems in SP is not just a SP topic – problems can reside in SQL Server, IIS, Windows Server, networking, hardware, etc. and I have found that trying to decipher enough information to pin down the problems is a tremendous challenge.

    For example, right now I am struggling to determine why the IIS server under our MOSS 2007 SP3 32 bit environment is having sporadic problems serving pages. Sometimes, there are events that indicate an out of memory situation. Sometimes, issues have arose and I have not found a solution to the problem.
    But posting messages to msdn,, etc. have not yielded ideas on where to look, and searching for the specific errors and then seeing if the experiences of others apply also has come up dry.

    I am surprised that with all the knowledgable people that I have met at SharePoint Saturdays, etc. that no one has worked towards a resource center or guide for admins to use as a starting point to solving their problems.
    Certainly it won’t cover 100% of the problems – perhaps not even 50%. But particularly in an interactive environment, where the information can organically grow with a vetting process, it seems like it would be a very useful site.

    • Larry —

      I think some of the issue here is that we’re dealing with a highly complex system that can be deployed and implemented in a wide array of manners, not to mention configured with a dizzying array of settings, and that can be highly customized or modified depending on an organization’s needs or preferences. The number of permutations I’ve seen with SharePoint over the years, as well as all of the things that can go wrong with it, feel staggering at times and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what is possible for all organizations that use it.

      The other issue is that blogging and the other mediums out there for publishing content online lend themselves to a very small scope; as you alluded to they focus on a single issue or problem rather than a broader troubleshooting scope. Because of that its harder to do broad treatments of subjects like that. I started a series of blog posts on this blog over a year ago and it took me quite a bit of time to finish them up, it wasn’t that I couldn’t talk about it, just that there were so many things that distracted me from completing it.

      I think your idea is a great one, and is definitely something admirable, but the challenge with is the question of how to coalesce information like what you’re talking about into an effective central repository. There’s a lot of great sites out there with amazing content repositories for SharePoint, but there’s several different ones like that and hundreds more that aren’t as good and distract from the good ones. The same goes for blogs like this one, there’s some really good ones but many many more beyond it that add to the noise as much as they could possibly help.

      The thing I’ve tried to focus on because of these things is becoming as efficient of a researcher and troubleshooter as I can. The quicker I can find an answer with Google or Bing, the better. I like to think that I’m pretty good at search queries, but I’m far from perfect at it. But I also remind myself that I’m not on an island and that there’s a point where I can thrash too much and be pretty inefficient b/c of it.

      This is why I’ve written the troubleshooting presentation in that manner, I just don’t feel like it would ever be possible to capture all of the issues you could somehow face in a SharePoint environment and because of that its more important to focus on a repeatable successful approach, rather than trying to boil the ocean and learn every possible problem and the solution for it. I’d love to have a tool that can tell me exactly what happened and how to fix it, but that’s just so incredibly difficult to do with a complex IT platform like SharePoint.


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