SharePoint 2010 provides some support for the Farm Configuration restoration using "Configuration Only" option http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee428326.aspx. However, the limitation of this approach is that not all configuration settings are backed up and can be restored. For example, the following settings cannot be backed up as a part of config-only backup.
- Alternative Access Mapping (AAM)
- Environment specific settings (IP addresses, machine names)
- Service Applications