5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 23, 2015 1:05 PM by TimOwen

    Advice Sought: Mirrored Image Backup?


      I am looking for advice on the best way to setup a mirrored image backup of a FileMaker Server computer. The client in question experienced hardware failure several years ago. Although they had daily offsite backups of their FileMaker solution (as well as local 2-hourly ones), their IT technician at the time failed to contact their FileMaker developer for over a week regarding the situation, so the client was without their database for that period of time. Once contacted, the most recent backup was installed on the new server and they were up and running in less than 30 minutes.


      This hardware failure causes the technician to be very concerned about backups. For a period of time, he did not work for them, but he is now back. They recently purchased new hardware and migrated to FileMaker Server 13. He wants to develop a failsafe method to prevent the situation that occurred before.


      I have multiple backup schedules in place for backing up their FileMaker files - both to local locations and offsite locations. He wants to create a backup that would be a mirror of the entire computer.


      It would seem to me that a mirror image of the computer (without FileMaker server running or files open) could be stored to be brought up and installed on a new computer if needed in the future. At that time, the most recent backup of the FileMaker files would be uploaded to this newly setup computer and all would be good.


      Is there some other scenario that gives a client more assurance than this? I'm not experienced with creating an image file of a computer, but I believe this is a task he can manage.


      I appreciate any thoughts or advice on this that you can offer,



        • 1. Re: Advice Sought: Mirrored Image Backup?

          Hi Michele,


          You are obviously wanting what may become FMI's next big thing for FMS!!


          What I've done is use the OWC SSD on a 240 GB PCIe card for our FMS HD in a 2008 8-core MacPro. It is very fast and easily transferred to another MacPro in the event of other components failing.


          If it failed I'd go back to a 1 TB standard HD for hosting FMS. It is the ease of exchanging any HD which makes the MacPro (pre 2013) my preferred FMS box.


          Years ago Tandem Computers made a mirrored box. Tandem was sold to Compaq which then became part of HP. That same technology is used extensively by the banking industry so there is no doubt some server configuration which would meet your client's need, but I'd doubt it is as cost effective as my approach.





          • 2. Re: Advice Sought: Mirrored Image Backup?

            Hi Michele,


            About 4 years ago I did a devcon preson on this kind of high-availability setup that I had done for a client (banking industry).  We were using syncdek to write all changes from one server to another and roll those changes forward into a copy of the files on the other server.

            Both severs were set up with special DNS & IP se so that the DNS names could be switched very quickly but so that the standby server was not visible on the network.


            These days you can also use the progressive backups effectively for this and automate pushing those to a standby server.


            Virtual servers also bring a lot of options.  A volume snapshot can be restored to another hypervisor host quickly, provided that the snapshot was taken with the FMS files in a clean state (takes a little bit of doing).


            So all in all there are a few options here in various levels of cost and "time-to-restore"

            • 3. Re: Advice Sought: Mirrored Image Backup?

              Thanks John and Wim for your replies. I find it interesting that both of you mentioned this type of backup in relation to the banking industry. That is the industry the IT person came from as he started his own business, so I can now understand his plan to replicate a similar backup or mirror for this client as something that he sees as failsafe - while to me - it appears 'overkill'.


              I've talked with the folks at 360Works and know that their MirrorSync product would be able to sync the database on one FM Server to the same db on another FileMaker server, thus giving the IT person - and the client - the redundancy they might want. I will pass on your advice.


              Thanks again,



              • 4. Re: Advice Sought: Mirrored Image Backup?

                Michele Olson wrote:

                replicate a similar backup or mirror for this client as something that he sees as failsafe - while to me - it appears 'overkill'.


                Not to mention, expensive.  The shorter you want to make the "time to restore" and the data loss window the exponentially more expensive things get.  Ultimately you can present the user with a number of choices and their associated cost.  They may not need (or want to pay for) something that has this kind of high-availablity.

                • 5. Re: Advice Sought: Mirrored Image Backup?



                  I know this thread goes back more than a year, but I am in a situation which has relevance to your comment: "Virtual servers also bring a lot of options.  A volume snapshot can be restored to another hypervisor host quickly, provided that the snapshot was taken with the FMS files in a clean state (takes a little bit of doing)." I am wondering exactly what you mean when you refer to the FMS files being "in a clean slate."


                  My situation is this: my client's media archive solution is being hosted by a third party provider (Rackspace.com) on a virtual server (WinServer 2008 R2 Datacenter edition), currently running FMS13. The database location has been specified using FileMaker's alternate database folder option - on a separate D drive, in this instance, and an alternate container data folder has been also been configured, using Open Storage, also on the D drive.


                  The problem results from the fact that the virtual server C drive was originally provisioned with only 40GB. That space is now almost completely taken up with essential OS and application files and there is now not enough remaining space for FileMaker Server's temp file needs on the C drive (even though there are no database files or backup files being stored on the C drive). The IT people advised that it would be necessary to create an image of the C drive and then write that image onto an expanded virtual storage volume C drive, because additional storage space could not be allocated to the C drive "on the fly". Although I requested to be advised before that imaging process took place, so that I could stop all the FMS processes, the IT person involved went ahead and created the C drive image while FMS was running and the databases were in an open state, possibly while there were active FMP clients.


                  I am now concerned that when the image is restored, there could be possible corruption or data integrity issues resulting from the FileMaker database files not being "in a clean state". Your comments and/or advise would be greatly appreciated.



                  Tim Owen

                  Tim Owen Consulting, LLC.