Is your database really backed up?

If you need a backup of your ACT! database, how confident are you that the backup file would be usable?  Of course, if you are a TrilogyCRM Hosting customer, we’ve got you covered and then some.  But, if you aren’t one of our Hosting customers, and you are doing the self-hosted thing, do you have a good backup plan?  If you use ACT!, really use it use it, it’s likely the crux of your business.  It’s where you keep everything you need to keep on top of your business.  So, you better be sure.

Recently we received a call from a new Hosting prospect.  They would like to move their database to an outsourced hosting model.  Ok, we like that.  No problem, we say, all we need is your database backup and we can get you up and running.  It’s usually that simple.  They sent us their file, which we diligently set to move to one of our ACT! 2011 servers.  What we found was only a portion of what we needed.  Come to find out, they had a server failure.  Through a little more conversation and digging, we figure out that their database wasn’t actually being backed up, just a few select files.  We don’t give up easily.  With the intensity of those doctors on Grey’s Anatomy, we worked on that little database file with all we had.  Even with our bag of tricks, we weren’t able to get that little file up and running as a full-fledged database. 

Then the fun part; we went back to explain that the file isn’t usable.  Luckily in this case, we were able to get a full database folder structure from an older server snapshot, and we have the customer happily moving forward. 

This can easily be avoided.  ACT! has a great little tool built right in.  ACT! Database Admins, we’d like to introduce you to the ACT! Scheduler. 

It’s actually been there for several versions.  Frankly, until recent versions, we didn’t recommend relying on it.  Now, take full advantage of it.  You and your IT team will be all the happier for it.  Basically, it’s a little app that’s installed along with ACT!.   You can select how many iterations of the backup to keep.  Schedule the times for the backup to run. 

We typically recommend ACT! Scheduler be setup on the server, backup to a designated folder, then have your server backup utility backup that folder.  You might want to check the log every once in a while, just like you would check the server backup logs, to make sure all is copacetic.  The nice thing about the ACT! Scheduler created backups – they are in a format that ACT! can extract right in the program itself.  File, then Restore.  Ah, nice and easy.  Bases covered, automatically.