When Is It Time To Backup?

When is it time to backup?  BEFORE it’s too late! 

If suddenly there was a power surge and the hard drive(s) on your server crashed, what would you do?  Would you reach for your most recent backup and restore it with confidence? 

What can I say, if you do not have a backup plan in place and haven’t tested its validity, you are an accident waiting to happen.  Trust me, I know.  If you get bitten, you will not ever let your backups lag again.

Consultants have many tools and tricks to use, but if these fail us, the ultimate fall back is your backup.  A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a client whose GoldMine was not working.  It was GoldMine 3.2… it came to me because I’m the only one who remembers the 10 year old product!  I asked if they had a backup.  The answer was, “No, if I did, why would I need you?”  We then talked about magic and miracles and why not to take the chance of not having a backup of a customized, no-longer-supported product.  They could have easily restored from a backup and saved the expense of calling me.  Needless to say, I was able to recover their GoldMine – but I made my point about backing up.  I also have a new client that trusts me.

Within some of the GoldMine dBase products, there exists a backup function that I do not recommend.  While it does do a backup, it is not consistent and doesn’t give the flexibility of restoring an individual file if that is all that’s necessary.  My recommendations for backing up are listed below.

There are many parts of Goldmine that should be backed up.  Backing up doesn’t have to be complicated.  Making a copy of a few folders and putting them in another place like another machine, an external hard drive, etc. can be very effective.  Here’s how to handle a dBase installation of GoldMine:

    1. GoldMine’s root folder – wherever the software has been installed.  For a typical single user, that may be at c:\program files\goldmine.  But for a networked user, it resides in a shared folder on the server.  A backup of this will take all of the “exe’s” and “dll’s” necessary to recover the program side of GoldMine.
    2. In a dBase environment, the files in the GMBase folder and also the contact set folders being used should be backed up.  This folder can be found in the root of GoldMine – ie c:\program files\goldmine\GMBase.  In a typical install of this type, a common folder is added and contains all of the database files used in the Common Contact Set.  If you’ve created others on their own, include these in your backup.  Using the same example, the Common Contact Set can be found at c:\program files\goldmine\common. 

For Microsoft SQL installations, it can be a little more complicated.  While the first step listed above will also copy the necessary program files and should be done, the database backup is quite different.  You may be lucky enough to own a piece of expensive backup software that has a SQL component and it will handle your data backup for you.  It’s not the end of the world if it is not.  Either way, we recommend using the internal backup functions of Microsoft SQL.  The backup, however it is invoked, will create a file and place it somewhere on a device that is accessible.  This will greatly decrease the time necessary to recover the backup because the file is at hand.  There are other reasons to use the SQL functions and I’ll discuss a few below. 

    1. In both SQL 2000 and SQL 2005, you can use the instructions at the following link to do a simple backup.  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930615/en-us
    2. The other method is to set up a Database Maintenance Plan within SQL.  Not only will this handle the database backup, it can also perform other common maintenance functions such as re-index the data, check for database integrity, shrink the database to eliminate unused space, etc. 

You can find the Database Maintenance Plan wizards:

    1. For Microsoft SQL 2000  – Within the Enterprise Manager, click on the Management folder and right click on the Database Maintenance Plan.  Choose New Maintenance Plan and follow the prompts.
    2. For Microsoft SQL 2005 – Within the Management Studio, click on the Management folder, right click on Maintenance Plan.  Choose Maintenance Plan Wizard and follow the prompts.

(The specifics of each option are too lengthy to discuss here.  Contact your service provider for more detail.)

Scheduling a backup to run during the night and you will be sure to have something to fall back on in the morning.  You won’t have to think about when the right time to backup is… it will automatically be ready for you when you need it.  I hope you NEVER need it!