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“That’s Not My Job” One Other Maintenance Plan Issue

Not My Job

Not My Job

Experienced M2M Administrators may have noticed something consipicously absent from my article on maintenance plans. I either skipped it intentionally to make a point or forgot because I have the attention span of a gnat, I’ll let you speculate the reason amongst yourselves.

As of now, all versions of Made2Manage since 3.X are a kind of hybrid database and include a Visual FoxPro database component. It may not contain your shipping records, but it is vital nonetheless. Visual FoxPro is an anomaly in that it’s database tables are actual files on disk. What is in that database?

  1. All of your login information including name, password, permissions, etc.
  2. All M2M Reports, both standard and any you’ve customized.
  3. Any FastForms customizations you may have created.
  4. Text values for terms, invoice status, and other field codes saved in the SQL database.

If you lose these files, you are dead in the water. I myself have had to re-create the files from a backup that was a few months old. It’s not pretty.

The title for this post comes from an interesting call I received from the Vice President of one of M2M’s customers. He said his M2M system was down because they had a raid array fail, and asked me for advice. My advice was simple, rebuild the server and restore from backup. He told me in an exasperated voice that he had tried that, and the SQL databases were restored, but they had lost the entire M2M file share. Upon further questioning he revealed that while he had SQL database backups, they were not taking backups of the file share of that server.

He elaborated how his M2M Administrator marched into his office and told him the bad news. When the VP asked him why critical M2M files weren’t being backed up he confidently said, “That’s not my job, file backup is Bob’s responsibility. Mine is M2M administration.” The VP then informed the employee that neither was his job anymore and let him go.

If you’re a M2M Administrator, these files are your responsibility whether or not you have a dedicated Network Admin who oversees file backups. In an emergency, it doesn’t mater why M2M is down, only that it is down.

What do I recommend? You must verify that these are being backed up on a regular basic and perform test restores on them as well. If you are in a situation where cannot perform test restores on the files, perhaps you don’t have access to the tape machine, then make your own backups somewhere else. At the very least perform a periodic copy of the M2Mdata directory to another server, even your own desktop. The size of the directory should be less than a gigabyte. If you include compression in your process through a free program like 7-Zip, the compression rate is somewhere near 90%. This means that each backup of your M2M share is something less than 100MB which is totally manageable. Some quick options come to mind. You could use Powershell, Windows Scripting through batch files, or my weapon of choice SQL Server Integration Services.

It’s not very hard to do, and is paramount in your role as a M2M Administrator.

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7 comments to “That’s Not My Job” One Other Maintenance Plan Issue

  • Toby

    I’m convinced you left it off intentionally just to see if we (your loyal readers) were paying attention.

    I couldn’t agree more. If you’re not regularly backing up the M2MDATA folder by some method, you’re not doing your job as an M2M administrator. In addition to getting all of the VFP tables, custom reports, FastForms customizations etc. backed up, you are also backing up your VBA customizations.

    Good post David.

  • Toby, thanks for bringing up the VBA customizations. Umm… I didn’t forget it… I left that out to make a point too. 🙂

  • Curt

    David,

    Currently, it appears I set this up to do a full tape backup weekly and an incremental tape backup nightly at 2:00 am that includes the M2MDATA folder. Would this suffice? I appreciate everyone’s input, me being the nube that I am!

    Curt

  • Tony

    I also back up the SFDC folder, just to be safe.
    Tony

  • Al Lakin

    Amen! My network adminsitration is handled by an outside firm who also maintains a SQL contact manager. They turned off the SQL maintence plans because “we backup the network twice a day”. I found this ticking timebomb when I went in to get a fresh restore of our Sandbox company to test a proposed work procedure….. ninety days after the backups had stopped.

    My top priority became backing up our two live companies and testing restore to our Sandbox. The maintenance plans came next. I made it through the rest of the day without any more coffee, which is the ultimate test of my adrenaline levels that day.

    The outside firm should have known better (and does now after being on the receiving end of one of my rants).

    Moral: don’t give SQL administrative rights to anyone who thinks that network backups are all you need.

  • Alex

    The arrogance of the m2m administrator in the story just makes me mad! Did they end up getting their data back?

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