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Backing up entire structure definition -for quick redeployment.

I know it is possible to take a manual data export from salesforce, and that once a week an automatic data export is stored by salesforce.

I was wondering if it were possible to export the entire structure definition of my account as well.  This would help in cases where accidental damage was done to our structure - such as a necessary object being deleted etc.  We would be able to quickly return the structure and data to a previous state.

Given our current setup it would take a year to recreate the structure of salesforce before we could even start to import our data back in. 

I read Bretts answer to a similar qn in 2005, and he suggested using DBAMP to export to SQL SERVER, but
1) it is costly
2) it only seems to be the data tables that are linked and not the structure definition
3) i do not think this is really a backup tool.

as an example..  SQL has a flat file export of all database structure, which allows for a 10 second recreation should we have a problem with the database.
DbAmp (and similar data replicatation products) are your best bet.  These will capture the state of both your schema, and the data itself.

As we currently don't have APIs for meta-data creation, however, the process is one way - there is no "automatic" restore possible.

An alternative option (for the schema, not the data) is to create an AppExchange package of your schema, and then re-import it as needed.
Also, looking at the Enterprise WSDL will show you what fields you have, but won't be as granular as you may want (ie you'll know the field is a string, but not that the length is 20). 

Check the AppExchange as well, I believe there are some partner solutions that may help.  I remember one called OrgView by DreamFactory.