How Do I Backup Accpac?
A question that I wish more people asked me is, How do I Backup Accpac? That question can be broken into three sections;
- Accpac Shared Data
- SQL Data (MSSQL, Pervasive, Oracle, DB2)
Each item has its own challenges, but once a routine is established, disaster recovery can be a pleasant experience as it relates to Accpac.
The first item is Accpac's Shared Data directory. The location of the shared data directory can be located by starting Accpac, clicking on the Help menu item and selecting System Information. This can contain many things, but most critically are Accpac's licences files, as well as the SITE, COMPANY, and USER directories. These three directories contain things like database configuration and user settings. Simply copy or use a file system backup utility to transfer these items to your backup location. The licence files are all easily identified by their extensions, which are either LIC or SBE depending on the edition of Accpac you own. Ensure that you include all the licences files, as well as all the subdirectories of the SITE, COMPANY and USER directories.
One thing to watch out for while performing a backup of these items is locked files. Many utilities will be unable to copy files in this state, however some files can be ignored. One example of this is the semaphor.bin file. Don't panic if you don't get this particular file, you can live without it. One reason files may be locked is if Accpac is running. If you run into locked files, be sure to investigate why they were locked and try to get a full backup as soon as possible.
The next item is the databases. There are two approaches to this, the first and easiest is performing a database dump. This is an Accpac function that is independent of the database engine itself and can be performed by an end-user with appropriate Accpac security rights. The database dump tool is located in the Windows Start menu or under Administrative Tools in Accpac.
A database dump can be scheduled, but this requires an add-on product. The result of a database dump is a proprietary format backup of the Accpac data. One thing to keep in mind about a database dump is that it will only include the data Accpac knows about. If an add-on product adds data to the database without properly registering it with Accpac, then it will not be included.
The second approach to performing a back up of the database is to interact with the database engine itself. In the case of Pervasive SQL, the files that make up the database can be copied to your backup location at the file system level. Something to watch out for is again, locked files. Pervasive keeps each table in an individual file and only locks files where their respective tables are in use. If someone is logged into Accpac, there is a strong possibility they have locked files. Most backup utilities will skip over locked files, which will create an incomplete backup. If you restore this incomplete backup, you're most assuredly going to have data corruption, so keep an eye on your logs.
Where Pervasive SQL has many individual files that create the database, Microsoft SQL has one. This almost completely eliminates the possibility of doing a backup by copying the database files. You must shutdown the SQL engine, because while it's running, all the database files are locked. Shutting down the SQL engine, even at night isn't always practical, because some applications use the wee hours of the morning to perform maintenance.
The proper way to make a backup is to issue a command to the SQL server to produce one. This can be done a couple ways. For the sake of a daily backup, you can use the Agent. The agent can be used to execute maintenance plans that among other things include backup tasks. Unfortunately with SQL Express, however, there is no agent, as this is one of the limitations of this particular version. To get around this, I've developed a script that can be scheduled by the Windows Task Scheduler that will create a set of backups that can be accessed without conflict by a backup utility. This can also be done manually from the SQL Management Studio.
The last thing to consider when backing up Accpac is the customizations. There are many things that can be considered a customization, one very common example is custom Crystal reports. In Accpac there is a UI called Customization Directories and all custom Crystal Reports should be contained with the paths outlined there. If all the custom Crystal Reports are properly organized in these locations, then simply configure your backup software to backup those locations. Other customizations, such as macros or 3rd party data could be stored almost anywhere, so you would have to consult the manufacturer for a proper backup procedure.
Here's another blog you might find helpful: Accpac Error: You Do Not Have a License to Use This Product!
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