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Anita Malone

Hourly Backups

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Please excuse my ignorance, FileMaker and Macs are both very new to me...

I've recently been hired by a small company that uses a FileMaker database (not FM Server) to keep track of customers, invoices, etc. After quizzing the guy who built the database, he currently has Time Machine as the sole backup plan. From the research I've done, this sounds like it's not a good idea since the files are open when Time Machine runs and you may get consistency errors.

I am finding a number of backup suggestions for FM Server, but not for a standard database. Please point me to the right place to walk me through doing incremental backups of an FM database.

Second question: If a file is corrupted and needs to be recovered is it safe to continue with this file? We are at a point where we're going to be making major database changes and want to insure that what we start with is "good". Is there a way to check if a file is corrupted?

Thanks,

Anita

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Hello Anita,

You are absolutely correct, TimeMachine should never touch an open FM file. There really is no automatic backup (and there's no such thing as incremental) for an open file. Close and manually backup. Better yet, get FM Server.

Never use a recovered file. Recovery is for getting data out of a corrupted file. There are many threads on this forum about Recovery.

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Hello Anita,

You are absolutely correct, TimeMachine should never touch an open FM file. There really is no automatic backup (and there's no such thing as incremental) for an open file. Close and manually backup. Better yet, get FM Server.

Never use a recovered file. Recovery is for getting data out of a corrupted file. There are many threads on this forum about Recovery.

The Time Machine issue is something that concerns me. Given I have Filemaker open quite a lot, TM is backing up FM files often. I've restored files a few times from TM without any problems, but that may have been dumb luck. Am I correct in assuming the "danger zone" is entered when TM is backing up an FM file that is currently writing to disk, or just because the file is open? BTW, I also use Super Duper as well.

Thanks,

RW

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The Time Machine issue is something that concerns me. Given I have Filemaker open quite a lot, TM is backing up FM files often. I've restored files a few times from TM without any problems, but that may have been dumb luck. Am I correct in assuming the "danger zone" is entered when TM is backing up an FM file that is currently writing to disk, or just because the file is open? BTW, I also use Super Duper as well.

Hey Rick,

Yes that is basically the idea. Open files are almost constantly doing something. Best practice with shared files is to not let anything touch an open file except FileMaker Server. I always try to turn off any 3rd party back-up software, anti-virus, and OS level file sharing. For my Windows boxes, I even turn off the Server service...since FileMaker has it's own network protocol.

The problem is the nature of the corruption that occurs. Often, by the time you see that there is a problem, your file has slowly been getting corrupted over months or years.

Either use FileMaker Server, the Save a Copy As feature/script step, or close the file-backup-reopen.

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Open files are almost constantly doing something

FMS and FMP use RAM caching to improve performance. Data is read from the hard disk and a lot of the processing happens in memory, because reading and writing to disk is comparatively very slow. The cache is flushed to disk at various times and when FMP quits. This means that the data actually on the disk is not necessarily current and can be in an inconsistent state (ie, some bits old and new).

This is the reason why the computer hosting the database should be plugged into an uninterruptible power supply.

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I am finding a number of backup suggestions for FM Server, but not for a standard database.

In a peer-to-peer setup, you can backup either by saving a copy of the file or by exporting your data. This could be automated using OS scheduling, but... the process must take place on one of the peer workstations, thus interrupting the human user.

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Hey Rick,

Yes that is basically the idea. Open files are almost constantly doing something. Best practice with shared files is to not let anything touch an open file except FileMaker Server. I always try to turn off any 3rd party back-up software, anti-virus, and OS level file sharing. For my Windows boxes, I even turn off the Server service...since FileMaker has it's own network protocol.

The problem is the nature of the corruption that occurs. Often, by the time you see that there is a problem, your file has slowly been getting corrupted over months or years.

Either use FileMaker Server, the Save a Copy As feature/script step, or close the file-backup-reopen.

Hi,

The solution I use is not networked, although I understand the implications inherent in backing up a networked solution. What I've taken to doing is, if an FM file is open and Time Machine begins, I "stop backup" and when I quit FM, "back up now". Of course, this isn't an adequate solution to the problem as it means I can never leave the machine unattended with FM files open. Another way is to exclude FM files from TM backups and do frequent Super Duper backups when FM files are closed. Then I don't have hourly backups of FM files 'tho.

RW

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If you use a script that uses the Save a Copy As script step, you can back up those files no problem. Possibly including a script to run on close to create a backup copy, so you know that Time Machine is always grabbing a copy of the latest data on any file. Then just have it exclude the original FileMaker files.

On my non-Server files, I have an Install OnTimer Script run on open to save a backup copy every so often. I save them to an external drive (or a separate internal/network drive), and have my backup software grab the contents of that drive.

FMS and FMP use RAM caching to improve performance. Data is read from the hard disk and a lot of the processing happens in memory, because reading and writing to disk is comparatively very slow. The cache is flushed to disk at various times and when FMP quits. This means that the data actually on the disk is not necessarily current and can be in an inconsistent state (ie, some bits old and new).

This is the reason why the computer hosting the database should be plugged into an uninterruptible power supply.

Thanks Vaughn. That was a much better explanation.

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If you use a script that uses the Save a Copy As script step, you can back up those files no problem. Possibly including a script to run on close to create a backup copy, so you know that Time Machine is always grabbing a copy of the latest data on any file. Then just have it exclude the original FileMaker files.

On my non-Server files, I have an Install OnTimer Script run on open to save a backup copy every so often. I save them to an external drive (or a separate internal/network drive), and have my backup software grab the contents of that drive.

Thanks Vaughn. That was a much better explanation.

Josh,

That's a brilliant solution to the problem. Thanks much.

RW

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Please excuse my ignorance, FileMaker and Macs are both very new to me...

I've recently been hired by a small company that uses a FileMaker database (not FM Server) to keep track of customers, invoices, etc. After quizzing the guy who built the database, he currently has Time Machine as the sole backup plan. From the research I've done, this sounds like it's not a good idea since the files are open when Time Machine runs and you may get consistency errors.

I am finding a number of backup suggestions for FM Server, but not for a standard database. Please point me to the right place to walk me through doing incremental backups of an FM database.

Second question: If a file is corrupted and needs to be recovered is it safe to continue with this file? We are at a point where we're going to be making major database changes and want to insure that what we start with is "good". Is there a way to check if a file is corrupted?

Thanks,

Anita

I recommend to do backup up from a batch file and was able to do it with the commands below. The key was that if I setup my backup as a schedule on the server that is set to only keep one copy so that it only puts on folder at a time in the backup folder I can gain access to it with * a wildcard in dos. also you see the sleep command used and thats not built in to dos I had to download it from mircosoft as part of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools i got here.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...displaylang=en

Here is the batch file

fmsadmin.exe Run schedule 4 -u administrator -p Password

sleep 10

fmsadmin.exe CLOSE -y pplay.fp7 -m "Pplay will close in 2 minutes for the nightly update" -t 120 -u administrator -p Password

Sleep 160

cd\

cd FmpBackUp

cd Quick*

cd Databases

copy RealDB.fp7 "D:\Program Files (x86)\FileMaker\FileMaker Server\Data\Databases\pplay.fp7"

sleep 10

fmsadmin OPEN Pplay.fp7 -u administrator -p Password

Schedule 4 is named QuickBackup on the FPS10 server and creates a folder called QuickBackup_2009-04-29_1642 where the time and date changes each time. In the batch file the cd Quick* will open the subfolder as long as its the only one that starts with the word Quick so I don't think this would work if you had filemaker do incremental backups

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@alan - she doesn't have a FMS.

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I have a similar question and am a beginner to File Maker. We have a peer-to-peer sharing situation and I need to setup a backup. (No FMS)  If I could create a script on the host (that runs late at night and bumps off any users), flushes the cache and then "Saves a copy as" onto a network drive as a backup, would that solve the possible corruption problem? Or does FM need to close and reopen? Thanks so much for your help!!

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Save as copy is better than copying the file...but it only helps with 1 of the dozen or so corruption points. If FileMaker on the host machine crashes, there is a strong possibility corruption will occur. And you may not notice it for a long time.

I hosted a solution for a long time with FM Pro. If there is any way you can swing it, get FMS. The software side of it is $29/month. Or consider a hosting service...

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