SUMMARY: Tips and hints
for making backup safety copies of your Clients & Profits
There is nothing more important to Clients & Profits than backing
up your database. Without a reliable backup copy of your work, any kind
of threat: power failure, system crash, fire, flood, theft--can leave
you desperately trying to recreate jobs, costs, time sheets, and more
from scratch. There's no excuse for not making daily safety copies of
your Clients & Profits database--it's something that has to be done,
or else you're tempting fate.
When should I restore a backup copy of my Clients & Profits
If the database is damaged and can't be repaired by the automatic Quick
Check, then you only have two choices: restore yesterday's copy of the
database from the backup, or export the bad data into a new database
(using the Export/Import utility). Restoring a backup is far better,
faster, and more reliable. Exporting a bad database can take days, while
restoring the backup usually takes less than an hour.
"We back up the database by making a copy on the server.
Is this ok?"
No -- it's not going to help you if (1) the file server crashes, (2)
there's a fire, or (3) the file server is stolen during the night. The
point of making a safety backup is to limit your risk to a catastrophe
like a disk crash, a fire, or a theft. The only way to prevent a big
loss is to copy the database from the server to a backup media, like
a tape -- then store that tape away from the office.
"Last night's backup didn't work because someone didn't
quit Clients & Profits. Can I automatically force the
software to quit?"
Yes, Clients & Profits can be set to automatically quit itself after a certain hour after 5 PM. The setting is in Users, Access, and Passwords > set quit times, and is set separately for each user. For example, if you set Clients & Profits to automatically shut down at 11 PM, the program will look to see if anyone's still using it at 11:01. If so, the user is warned that Clients & Profits is about to quit. If they're working on an important job (like entering their time sheet on Friday!), they can cancel that automatic shut down -- which means they might interfere with the backup. But the program will remind them to quit Clients & Profits as soon as possible.
"How do I know everyone's quit Clients & Profits before
I start the backup?"
The Who's Connected? window shows everyone who's still using Clients & Profits. To see the user list, close any open window then choose Lookup > Who's Connected? You'll see a "where" column, indicating if the user is in or out, according to their last login/logout. It's important to note that users are only marked as out when they quit Clients & Profits properly. If their computer freezes, the application is forcibly quit, or they simply turn of the computer's power, the in/out isn't updated--and they'll appear "in" in error.
"Is there any way to remotely quit any copy of Clients & Profits
Besides using the set quit times in Users, Access, and Passwords, there
is no way to remotely shut down (unless, that is, if you use Timbutku, Apple Remote Desktop, or other VNC software -- but that's a more complicated option).
"What's best for backups: Tapes, CD-Rs, hard drives?"
It depends on the size of your database, as well as how many files are
being backed up. Tapes and external drives work best for backing up your entire file server,
since they can store lots of information. Disks (CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, or DVD-RW) are better
for quick backups of single files, like the Clients & Profits database.
They're easier to use because they don't require a backup program like
Retrospect, though can't be automated as well. The risks are that disks are delicate and drives can crash. Tapes suffer neither of those disadvantages, though the drives to read them can be expensive and the transfer rate is much slower than a hard drive (thus making the backup take much longer).
"What is Retrospect?"
Retrospect is the leading backup software. It is widely-used and has
proven reliable for many years. More information is available at EMC Insignia.
"What about SQL Databases?"
SQL databases (available to Pro, Job Tracker, and Enterprise users) are handled differently than omnis-style (.df1) databases. Rather than a flat file that all users connect directly to, the file structure is very different. MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server both offer their own administration tools to maintain and backup data. Some users set up cron tasks to export data from a dump file on a schedule, but check with a qualified DBA for the best solution in your environment.
TYPES OF BACKUP MEDIA AND CAPACITIES
Below is a brief list of the commonly-used backup systems. There are
lots of choices, so this list is far from complete:
-- Hard Drives (internal or external): Potential of crashing, doesn't allow for offsite unless multiple drives are used, but offers the fastest data transfer rates and large storage capacity.
-- Tapes: varying sizes, plus compression offer a lot of flexibility, though the transfer rate is slow. Durable.
-- CD-Rs: 800mb (inexpensive, but slow; stores less than DATs).
BACK UP TIPS
1 Back up your Clients & Profits database every
2 Use a different media (i.e., tape or
disk) for each day of the week.
3 Store your backup media in a fireproof safe designed
especially for computer disks (a regular safe won't protect
your media from heat or moisture).
4 Make a special weekly copy on Friday or Saturday, and store
this media off-site in a safe-deposit box or media safe--not
in your briefcase or glove box. An alternative is to electronically transfer the file offsite (to a hosting, storage, or backup service).