Back up the database

You should back up your database frequently to insure against data loss.

Microsoft recommends backing up a SQL Server database to an internal fixed drive. The operation may fail — possibly without any warning — if you select a compressed, network-mapped, or external volume. Verify that a backup that's saved to the selected device can be restored.

Microsoft SQL Server databases are not backwards compatible. A database backup can only be restored into the same, or higher, SQL instance. For example, SQL Server 2012 (version 11.0) can restore an 11.0 database, as well as upgrade an older SQL Server 2008 (10.0) database. It can't "downgrade" a higher-level database backup from SQL Server 2014 (12.0).

The PDXpert Application Server may automatically purge files or folders within its working directory. Do not add files to the server's \Data\ folder or its subfolders, since unrecognized files may interfere with proper operation or be deleted.

Using the manual backup tool

On the PDXpert Application Server window:

  1. Click on the Manage tab.

  2. In the Maintenance area, click the Backup... button to open the Save Backup As dialog.

  3. There are two backup formats available:

    • The default backup format is Database with Library (*.pdxz). This is a simple way to save your database and all library files into a single compressed ("zip") file. The file contains the SQL Server backup (.BAK) file, an XML manifest file, and the library file attachments.

      The PDXZ format is convenient as you're starting out, but it's intended only to support smaller systems. Use a commercial backup solution before the \Data\Database\ and \Data\Library\ subfolders reach 1GB. See Automating your backup, below.

    • The alternative backup format is Database without Library (*.bak). This saves the "raw" SQL Server database without including the library files. This is a much faster backup, and is useful for maintenance, but is incomplete without the file attachments.

      To have a complete backup, you must use Windows or a backup tool to copy all of your library files that are stored in the \Data\Library\ subfolder.

      If more than 2GB of files are in the \Data\Database\ and \Data\Library\ subfolders, you can only save the SQL Server database without the library files. This will be indicated by the DATABASE ONLY - NO LIBRARY (*.bak) format type.

  4. Choose the location where you want your backup file to be saved, and click the Save button.

    The backup database file does not carry any security restrictions, and includes your software license key. It may be loaded into another PDXpert instance, and the database component can be extracted and loaded into any SQL Server database engine. Secure your backups to prevent unauthorized access to archival data.

    The backup file name includes information about the correct SQL Server version (like ...-13_0.bak). Before the backup database is restored, the file name's SQL Server version is compared to the installed instance to warn of incompatibility.

To restore the backup, see the Restore data from a backup help topic.

Automating your backup

Your server backup software must be compatible with SQL Server. Consumer-grade backup utilities may not be capable of correctly backing up a SQL Server database, and can even damage or delete your original database. Search the web for sql server backup software. Some less-capable tools may back up the SQL Server database only, and you may need a separate utility for backing up the files contained in the library folder.

It's very important to have a scheduled backup process that automatically saves the database and the library to a safe archive. As your database and file library grow, the compressed .PDXZ backup file will take longer to finish, consume more system resources, and be increasingly vulnerable to file system errors.

Data that must be backed up

There are two essential PDXpert data components that you must protect:

  • the SQL Server database in which all of the product data is maintained (for example, files like PDXpertDB.mdf and PDXpertDB_log.ldf), and
  • a Windows folder, called the \Library folder, that contains all files that have been attached to PDXpert's items.

Both of these data elements work together, and therefore they must be backed up at the same time.

Finding the data to be backed up

The options are:

  • Back up the entire server computer.
  • Back up the entire disk drive that contains the PDXpert \Data\ folder.
  • Within the disk drive, back up the entire content of the \Data\ folder.
  • Within the \Data\ folder, back up only the content of these two folders:
    • SQL Server database files: \Data\Database\
    • PDXpert library files: \Data\Library\

The disk drive and the location of the data folder are displayed on the PDXpert Application Server's Manage tab.

Server data folder location

Automation practices

Regularly assess your backup & recovery risks, procedures and technologies. Develop and maintain a robust data backup and disaster recovery plan in consultation with your IT specialist. Always validate the results of a new or revised backup procedure.

Your Windows operating system may have the necessary software utilities to create and maintain a reliable backup procedure. There are also many commercial tools available to perform this important task. When developing your data backup and disaster recovery plan, consider these practices:

  • Schedule backups to accommodate user activity: backup jobs consume significant I/O resources.
  • Ensure that the backup interval reflects how quickly your data ages, and balance this interval with users' time to reproduce lost data after the most recent backup's been restored.
  • Avoid propagating viruses by scanning file attachments before saving them into the library.
  • Some antivirus software can interfere with the PDXpert Application Server, and should be tested for problems while users perform normal database and library file tasks.
  • Do not use your production database/library disk as the primary backup device. Use a separate physical disk and not simply a partition on the same disk.
  • After a backup is complete, copy the backup file(s) from the primary backup drive to a secondary device. This secondary device should be secured, and logically and physically separate from the production network. Use disk-to-disk or disk-to-cloud technology for secondary backups. Avoid tape.
  • If you don't control your off-site storage location, consider encrypting your saved data.
  • To minimize downtime, ensure that off-site backups can be retrieved quickly.
  • Don't be too aggressive in purging old backups. In a very large historical file library, a monthly snapshot going back a few years may provide that one crucial file that was corrupted long ago but only recently discovered.
  • Periodically verify that your hardware, particularly disk subsystem, is functioning properly.
  • Test the data integrity of your backup process by restoring the backup file(s) into a fresh configuration. Regularly validate that the backup process is creating fully-restorable backup files.

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