Backup and Restore
Backing Up And Restoring Data
The most important aspect of maintaining a properly functioning IMSMANG system is backing up and restoring data. Regular data backups are essential for maintaining the integrity of the system in case of sytem failure, software errors or accidental data deletion. Not only should information managers mandate that all IMSMANG data is regularly backed up, but more importantly a multitiered backup strategy should be used to eliminate data loss. Consider the following options below when developing a backup strategy for IMSMANG.
- disk mirroring
- operating system backups
- hard disk backup
- offsite data storage
- IMSMANG-specific backups
Moreover, a backup is only as good as the ability to restore it. As such, any data backup strategy should include plans to test existing backups to ensure that the backups are usable. If it becomes necessary to restore data, regular testing of backups helps ensure that it will be possible to do so.
The table below outlines the recommended schedule for backing up the IMSMANG database and other files. Note that an event-based change to the components necessitates a backup. Event-based changes include events such as:
- Before upgrading software
- Before importing data
- After importing Data Entry Forms
- After changing SQL views in the database
Component Daily Weekly Weekly Event-based change IMSMANG database ● ● ● Attachments ● ● ● GIS database ● ● ● Maps ● ● ● Templates ● ● ● Translation ● ●
Backing Up the IMSMANG Database
IMSMANG contains several stores of information that can be backed up. By far, the most critical store is the IMSMANG database itself because it contains all of the actual data in IMSMANG including published reports, form templates and geographic data in addition to the typical mine action information. IMSMANG’s Backup capability backs up the IMSMANG database by executing a PGSQL database dump command that creates a complete backup of all of the data in the database including any additional tables, views and other customisations. The resulting dump.sql file, which is stored in a time-stamped directory for easy identification, includes the necessary commands to recreate the database with all of the existing data.
|The dump.sql file is stored in text format and can be made smaller for storage or transport using compression tools such as ZIP and RAR|
Information managers can augment the IMSMANG Backup capability with other scheduled backups using PGSQL Administration tools, for example, and build daily or weekly routines that back up the database automatically. These backups work similarly to IMSMANG Backup; however, any backup made outside of IMSMANG will have to be restored manually. Even so, regularly scheduled backups are an excellent component of a backup strategy.
|In a client-server environment, backups should be made from the server rather than the clients. Similarly, backups can only be restored on the IMSMANG server|
IMSMANG stores attachments on the server file system separate from the IMSMANG database. Because of the size of some attachments, it may not be beneficial or necessary to back up the attachments each time. IMSMANG Backup provides the option to exclude attachments when performing a backup.
For regular, complete backups, it is recommended to include attachments. But, if the size of a backup file is a concern, the attachments can be manually deleted. This is a better alternative to creating a backup without attachments since attachments cannot be added back to the backup file. Excluding attachments from a backup is an option that should be used with caution.
Backing Up Other IMSMANG Information
In addition to the IMSMANG database and attachments stored on the server, IMSMANG Backup allows users to back up certain settings from the IMSMANG client. These include:
- GIS database (.mdb file)
- map files (.mxd, etc)
- Data Entry Form template files
- iReport template files
- translation .properties files
While IMSMANG stores all coordinate data in the PGSQL database that is backed up with the IMSMANG database, IMSMANG also stores coordinate data in a geodatabase file (IMSMA.mdb) on each client computer to allow data to be displayed on the map. This file should be included with each IMSMANG backup to shorten the time it takes to launch IMSMANG after a restore. IMSMANG automatically builds this file during system launch if the file is missing, but it can take several hours to do so.
Because the geodatabase is built on a per-client basis, it is also recommended to launch the client to fully update the geodatabase prior to backing it up. After it is backed up, the geodatabase can be transferred manually to other freshly installed clients to shorten the time required to build the geodatabase during system launch.
IMSMANG map files can be loaded on a per-client basis and stored in IMSMANG Backup, providing an easy way to share maps between clients.
|IMSMANG Backup backs up only the active map on each client. Other maps previously loaded on a client will need to be copied manually.|
Data Entry Form Templates and iReport Templates
IMSMANG provides the capability to store copies or drafts of Data Entry Form templates and iReport templates to the file system during report design. While the published versions of the templates are backed up as part of the IMSMANG database backup, the files are only included if the option is selected on the IMSMANG Backup window. Storing these files in the backup is recommended as it makes it easier to resume drafting templates and reports.
IMSMANG stores translations of the application in several places. Translations and localisations of data elements are stored in the IMSMANG database and are backed up with the database backup. The .properties files used to translate the IMSMANG interface are stored externally to the database, but they can be added to the IMSMANG Backup as an option. If changes are made to the .properties files, it is recommended to back them up after each change as well as each time a full backup is made.
Other Backup Considerations
While IMSMANG Backup backs up all of the files used in the typical operation of IMSMANG, there are other customisable files that should also be backed up. These include:
- map customisations
IMSMANG does not automatically back up customisations made to maps used in IMSMANG. Users can make changes to the imsma.mxd file, create or modify ESRI style files, add symbology or make many other changes to maps, but these files are not included in the IMSMANG Backup and must be separately backed up and managed.
- base maps
It is recommended that information managers make backups of maps that are imported into IMSMANG for use on client computers. While IMSMANG Backup backs up the maps when they have been imported, these base map files are not managed within IMSMANG and should be backed up manually to allow for customisation and later import.
- external reporting tools
External reporting tools and other add-ons are not backed up by IMSMANG and should be backed up manually. These include any tools using ODBC connections to IMSMANG such as Microsoft Access databases, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, OpenOffice connections and Crystal Reports. Information managers should ensure that these tools get backed up manually or automatically.
Backups created using IMSMANG Backup can be restored using IMSMANG Restore as well as other PGSQL tools if necessary. The IMSMANG Restore function can be used on both clients and servers to restore key information in the event of data loss or other restore needs (for example, after an upgrade).
IMSMANG Restore allows users to determine which components of an IMSMANG Backup to restore. The components available depend on the options that were selected during backup. Each option behaves slightly differently depending on whether the restore is occurring on a server or a client.
Restore on the Server
In a client-server environment, the IMSMANG database can be restored only on the server machine so as to prevent accidental deletion of data by client users. Conducting an IMSMANG Restore on the server machine (or a stand-alone machine) restores the IMSMANG database and the available attachments to the server, replacing any existing data in the IMSMANG database. When a restore is complete, IMSMANG closes and must be restarted.
IMSMANG Restore can also restore the GIS database, Data Entry Form templates, iReport templates, map files and translation .properties files; however, these are only necessary when running the client on the server or when running in stand-alone mode.
|In a client-server environment, it is recommended to stop the server prior to restoring the database to ensure all clients are disconnected|
Restore on the Client
Except for instances where the client and the server are on the same machine, the IMSMANG database cannot be restored to a client-only machine. However, IMSMANG Restore can be used to restore client settings including the GIS database, Data Entry Form templates, iReport templates, map files and translation .properties files. This functionality is particularly useful when connecting new clients to a server as this allows information managers to prebuild the GIS database and map configurations and simply restore them to the new clients.
On a client machine, IMSMANG Restore acts as a file copying function, copying files included in the backup to the correct location on the client. IMSMANG Restore also attempts to back up any files it is replacing. These backup directories have “_orig” appended to their file names to distinguish them from the new files.
And because the client restore works as a file copy function, it is also possible to manually copy the desired files into the correct locations without running IMSMANG Restore. This can be a helpful shortcut when a full restore is not necessary.