6 Replies Latest reply on Jun 11, 2014 3:24 PM by AjEGfmTech

    Clone Server with FMServer running?

    AjEGfmTech

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      Clone Server with FMServer running?

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           I very recently got our first FileMaker Server (13) setup on our MacMini server. My typical procedure is to clone the OS drive of the MacMini using CarbonCopyCloner. I'm a bit concerned about how to best go about that with FileMaker Server running. Common sense would tell me that all of the databases on FMServer should at least be paused before starting the clone job. Maybe they need to even be closed? Maybe the FMServer services need to be turned off?

           Whichever is the case, since I have the clone job scheduled for the middle of the night, it would be nice if I could schedule FMServer to pause/close/turn off what it needs to in the middle of the night as well. is there any way to do this?

           I've been reading the FMServer 13 documentation and searching the web, but have not found any definitive answers. Any help/guidance would be appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Clone Server with FMServer running?
          philmodjunk

               You would want to close all files before making any kind of back up copy of them. The exception to that being that you don't need to close the files for FileMaker Server to back them up. Thus one back up option is to save a back up copy to a folder and then set your back up software to back up the contents of the back up folder instead of the open ones currently hosted by server.

               If the file is not closed, two things happen: a) the file might be damaged by making the copy. Pausing the file will probably avoid this but: b) Since the file wasn't closed, a "safe close" flag wasn't set on the file and this causes FileMaker or Server to run a consistency check on the file the first time that the copy is opened--and this can slow down getting the files up an running especially when it's a very large database file.

          • 2. Re: Clone Server with FMServer running?
            AjEGfmTech

                 Thanks for the info Phil. So if I am going to setup a clone job on the OS drive of the server that FM Server is installed on, I want to make sure I close all databases, not just pause them. That makes sense. It sounds like I do not need to shutdown the FM Server services though. Good deal.

                 The question remains then - is there a way to automate FM Server closing the database files and then opening them again after a period of time? Even with two separate scripts?

                 You mentioned the FM Server built-in backup method, which is good. I already use that method and do actually backup the FM Server database backup folder (using CrashPlan), as you suggested. I feel confident that the databases are getting sufficiently backed up.

                 I'm not making a clone of the server OS drive because I need to backup the databases, but rather to make sure I have quick availability of the server with FM Server already installed and configured, in case something bad should happen to the server OS drive. By using CarbonCopyCloner I can have a bootable clone of the server ready to start running within minutes if I need to.

                 So, is there a way to setup a scheduled/automated way for FM Server to close and then open the database files? I'm getting the awful feeling that there might not be? :-0

            • 3. Re: Clone Server with FMServer running?
              AjEGfmTech

                   Hmm… It seems by the lack of responses that this indeed might not be possible? That seems strange to me, with as much scripting capability that FileMaker seems to possess. Could it be that nobody images/clones a server, or at least a server running FileMaker Server? I guess that's possible, but it seems unusual to me. This problem would presumably also come up with a server that was set to replicate or mirror to another server.

                   Well, if the method I requested is not possible, are there any workarounds that anyone has come up with or used? I'm not particular about how to get to the end results, a 'backup' clone of the server OS drive that is running FileMaker Server.

                   Any thoughts anyone?

              • 4. Re: Clone Server with FMServer running?
                RickWhitelaw

                     I'm not sure why you want to do this, but it seems to me that you could simply disconnect all users before cloning. This would ascertain no files are being changed during the cloning process. That said, I don't get it. With FMS backup routines enabled coupled with keeping an up to date installer disk image on hand should make you disaster proof.

                • 5. Re: Clone Server with FMServer running?
                  AjEGfmTech

                       Thanks for the response Rick. Yes, by having the FMS backup routines scheduled and set of installers to rebuild the server OS and applications, I would be disaster proof. I am trying to save the time of installing and configuring the OS and applications and then restoring the FMS backups in the event that the drive fails.

                       I typically create a clone of the OS so that if something happens at the least opportune time, I can either startup from the clone drive and be back in business in a couple of minutes, or I can restore the clone to a new drive and be back up in less than an hour.

                       This is not an all the time requirement, just trying to be prepared for worst case scenarios. It's also something I've done for quite awhile with good success. But… This is the first time I've had FMS (or any database server, for that matter) in the mix.

                       It seemed like it would be a pretty straightforward issue to solve, but I'm guessing that must not be the case?

                  • 6. Re: Clone Server with FMServer running?
                    AjEGfmTech

                         Okay, the relative lack of responses hear make me think that scripting FMServer to close and open databases just isn't possible or is at least unfamiliar (or uninteresting) to people.

                         How about a different approach - what about just excluding the 'live' database files in the clone job? Can anyone comment on whether the following would be true?

                         If I setup the clone job for the MacMini server OS drive (the drive that has the FM Server app installed on it) so that it excludes the following folder, would that be a 'safe' way of cloning the OS drive?

                         Excluded Folder
                         Server: OS drive/Library/FileMaker Server/Data/Databases

                         Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks.