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Softdocs’ Tech Talk – November 2013

Dale Fowler

Dale Fowler
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Welcome to the second edition of Tech Talk, Softdocs’ newsletter for system administrators and technical resources. It is our goal to make this newsletter a vital source of information relating to product updates, system integration and technical environment suggestions. If there’s a topic you would like for us to include, please contact Dale Fowler at dfowler@softdocs.com.

This Issue: SQL Server maintenance plans and the technical pieces of Evive, Softdocs new offsite backup solution.

Next Issue: First report on Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 test results.

In this edition, we will be discussing the different options for backing up your Softdocs SQL databases through SQL Server Management Studio (MS) and how Evive can be configured to move those databases offsite to this hosted cloud solution.

The Softdocs Workflow Suite uses SQL to store information that is critical to the operation of its products. This is why we are addressing the topic in this article.

SQL Server can be configured in either Full, Bulk-logged, or Simple recovery model. This is chosen when SQL is first installed on a server. Choosing the Full or Bulk-Logged recovery model will create a separate transaction log database that can be used by database administrators to restore data back to a particular point in time. If the transaction logs are not backed up on a regular basis they will become very large. Although the transaction log can be used to do a restore, the process is complicated unless you are well versed in SQL. To learn more about transaction log recovery click here.

Using a Simple recovery model eliminates the transaction log but only allows a restore from the last backup (if your database becomes corrupt). You can change the database recovery model by right-clicking on the database in Management Studio (MS), choose properties, then options. There will be three choices to select from. Please note that older versions of Doc e Scan 2.x a database is created for every room. If the System Databases Model is set to Full recovery, every time a room is created in Doc e Scan it will have a corresponding SQL database and transaction log. Changing the Systems Databases Model to the Simple model will eliminate the transaction log on all future databases created by Doc e Scan 2.x as illustrated below. You will need to decide which database recovery model works best for your institution before you continue with the creation of a maintenance plan.


The maintenance plan included in this article is based on a Full Recovery Model with transaction logs.

Setting up a daily maintenance plan in SQL Server Management Studio (MS)

Login to MS with the SA account or another with full access privileges to the Softdocs databases.

Right click on Maintenance Plans and choose Maintenance Plan Wizard.

Type in a name for the maintenance plan “Softdocs Daily Backup” select single schedule for the entire plan and click on the change button under schedule.

When you click on the change schedule, the job scheduler window appears. Set the days, time and frequency of your backups based on your institutions Data Loss Policy. Clicking Okay takes you back to the Select Plan Properties screen. Click next.

The Select Maintenance Tasks screen will appear. Select Back up Database (Full), Back up Database (Transaction Log), and Maintenance Cleanup Task. Click next.

The Select Maintenance Task Order screen appears next.

It should list Back up Database (Full) on top, then Back up Database (Transaction Log), then Maintenance Cleanup Task on bottom. Click next.

The Define Back up Database (Full) Task screen will appear.

If only Softdocs products are installed on your SQL Server then from the Database(s): select the drop down box and click all databases. Otherwise include only the Softdocs databases. Set the location for the backups to either disk or tape. Place a check box in the Verify backup integrity. Click next.

The Define Back up Database (Transaction Log) Task screen will appear next.

Make the same selections as you did in the (Full) task screen. Make sure you put a check mark on Verify backup integrity then Click next.

The Define Maintenance Cleanup Task screen will appear.

Under Delete files of the following type select backup files. Select the path for the SQL backups as defined in steps 5 and 6 and list the extension of  BAK. Make sure you place a check on the include first-level subfolders, then set your retention rate of the backups. The default is to delete files older than 4 weeks. *Note: you will not want to select the OS partition for the location of your backups. I was running on a single HD VM when creating this* We will add the transaction log clean up after the Wizard finishes. Click next.

The Select Report Options screen will appear.

Set the location or email recipient that would receive the report and click next.

The Complete the Wizard screen will allow you to review the contents of your maintenance plan

After reviewing, click finish and the wizard will create the maintenance plan.

When you look at the left hand pane under Maintenance Plans you will see your newly created “Softdocs SQL Backup” plan listed. click add Sub Plan. Put in a name and description for the Transaction Log Clean up and set the schedule for the plan. Drag the Maintenance Clean up Task over to the workspace and double click and set the following for the transaction log cleanup.

Right click on the plan and choose execute to test.

If you receive an immediate error than you need to make sure that the SQL Server Agent is started. Go to SQL Server Configuration Manager, make sure that the SQL Server Agent is set for automatic and is started. Then click the plan and try again. You should see under status of your maintenance plan a Success.

You can create multiple maintenance plans that match your institutional policy for data loss prevention.  There are many third party backup tools that are also frequently deployed and are very effective for backing up SQL Server but come at an extra cost. SQL backups along with the server data need to be backed up frequently and tested.

Evive provides cloud-based, automated backup to Softdocs users. It is offered as a managed solution and has been successfully used to restore a client’s server that is running Doc e Serve, Doc e Scan, and Doc e Fill with just the backups stored in the cloud. Evive backs up everything needed to restore your server in case of hardware failure or disaster.

How it Works

Evive is an agent that is installed on your server(s) that is configured to backup all of your critical Softdocs data. When a quote is requested, one of our engineers will go through your configuration noting the size of your data as well as the retention rate of that data to give you an accurate quote. Once the quote is approved and a purchase order is received, a Softdocs engineer will install and configure Evive to remotely and securely move your data into our cloud solution. We can configure notifications to be sent via email on failure and/or success so that you have peace of mind knowing that your data is safe.

In addition to you being notified, Softdocs engineers also monitor your backups daily through a central web portal. If you were to upgrade your servers or move them into a VMware environment, we will move your Evive account for you.

Security

Evive utilizes AES-256 bit encryption during transport and in our cloud solution. This is protected by both a username and password along with a pass phrase encryption key. In addition, since most of our restores have been attributed to hardware failure, rather than natural disaster, a local copy (fully encrypted) can be stored on a SAN or another server to save us time getting you back up and running. However, sometimes a natural disaster does occur.

In either circumstances, it’s important to have a procedure in place.

Firewalls

Evive does not require any inbound ports to be opened. Everything is initiated from the agent and is pushed to our cloud solution. If outbound firewall rules are set we will need TCP ports 443 (SSL) or 5470 open. A specific IP range for that outgoing IP firewall rule will be provided.

Other Uses for Evive

Evive can be configured to backup laptops for your President, VP, Finance Director and other critical server data. We can configure your data retention policy to allow an unlimited number of versions to be kept in the cloud.

Taking it Further with Evive BDR or Dell AppAssure 

Evive works with Evive BDR and Dell AppAssure to remotely push those bare metal images of your physical server to our cloud based solution. In case of a disaster those images can be stood up in our cloud hosted VMware solution to give remote access to those critical servers.

While there are many ways to configure SQL Server for high availability and backup. In this article we reviewed how to setup a maintenance plan through MS and briefly discussed some of the benefits of using Evive to remotely store your data.

Please contact Softdocs through your sales representative for more information. If you would like to discuss SQL Maintenance Plan choices please contact me and I will be glad to speak with you.

Brought to you by Softdocs Business Analyst:

Dale Fowler

p. 888.457.8879 x171
f. 803.695.6911
dfowler@softdocs.com