How to restore a portal site from SQL database backups in SPS 2003

Right before the scheduled time for production upgrade from SPS 2003 to MOSS 2007, my customer's SPS 2003 production environment was down. The database server was running on SQL Server 2000. The DBA told us ALL the SharePoint datababases just disappeared overnight and they didn't have any script to track who deleted them or it's virus or some other kind of intrusion (unbelievable?!).

Anyway, I was asked to help with restoring the SPS 2003 farm using all the database backups including the CONFIG database, but restoring a CONFIG database doesn't work most of the times since it can be easily out of synch with the content databases (refer to the SPS 20903 resource kit ). That's also my customer's case. They were seeing all kinds error message when trying to navigate through portal site - "invalid configuration database (offline)", etc. So there's no point of trying to fix that, we just decided to rebuild the configuration database in stead.

The following steps decribe how I restored the SPS 2003 from the SQL databases that were restored from the backups in the tape:

  1. Disconnect all the servers from the farm
  2. Configure the configuration database with a new name Portal_Config_New
  3. Add back all the servers in the farm pointing to the new configuration database
  4. Unextend the Virtual Server your portal site resdies using Remove Windows SharePoint Services from Virtual Server in Central Admin. Note: if your Virtual Server has been extended, trying to restore a portal site will fail with error complaining the VS has been extended.
  5. In the SPS admin, click on Create a Portal Site
  6. Select Restore a portal site
  7. Type in your portal content database, profile database and service database. In my case they were in the format of portal_SITE, portal_PROF, portal_SERV.
  8. Submit the above and the portal site should be restored. Note: if you have already added your portal content db back to the farm the restoring a portal site will fail with error message complaining the site/database already exists. Delete the portal content db from Manage Content Databases and repeat steps 4-6
  9. After Verifying the portal site is up running, add the rest of content databases using Manange Content Databases from your Central Admin site.
  10. Verify your portal and other team sites.
  11. Note: You may have to redeploy custom web parts or other applications that you had under the Virtual Server, but since my customer was going to upgrade to MOSS and retiring the SPS 2003 environment soon, they were ok with not redeploying. They just wanted to keep the SPS 2003 environment for post-upgrade comparison.