Backup your Act! database

A daily backup of your Act! database is absolutely necessary and should be checked regularly for errors. We will present multiple methods, a combination of which is perfect. 

Backup methods:

  • Backup of entire server
  • Backup with Windows tools
  • Backup with backup tools
  • Manual back up with Act! functions
  • Automatic backup with Act! scheduler
  • Automatic backup on FTP server with SERVICE|IT
  • Remote database
  • Virtual backup

Why is a daily backup necessary?

Especially in the past couple of months we have had multiple customers approach us because they noticed that they didn’t make a backup or it was faulty. We could find multiple reasons:

  • There was none set up
  • Backup only makes a standard copy without “Open Files” backup; Act! databases are always open and thus are not secured
  • Faulty backup, a reason for this could be securing the data on a network drive
  • Backup could not be performed because the password was changed
  • Backup device (LTO, Band, hard drive, network drive) not available

Backup of the Act! database

Since Act! contains all customer/ provider/ contact information that are not saved in your ERP, it is extremely important to regularly check the backup functionality. If they are run directly via Act! or SERVICE|IT you can the backups can be installed directly e.g. on a PC.

Backup monitoring

Every professional backup can send an e-mail informing you if the backup job was performed correctly. Act! v17 and higher as well as SERVICE|IT send an e-mail with the results. Of course you have to ensure that the e-mail configuration is set up and they are received correctly. When the backup is running, you need to ensure that the e-mail arrives. If it doesn’t then the service running the backup is most likely not running anymore.

Backup with the Act! Scheduler

In your Act! files select “Act! Scheduler”

Act! Scheduler aufrufen - database

Then go to “Create a Job” and then in additional jobs select “Set up e-mail notification”. Follow the instructions and then check in the “services” list, if the job is active and set to “Automatic”.

Backup with Windows Tools/Standard Backup

Here you have to stop the SQL server from the script and restart after successful backup. The Act! database is not reachable for end users during this time.

REM - Stop ACT SQL Service  
REM - Perform backup
REM - Restart ACT SQL Service  

Backup via Snapshot (VMWARE, Hypervisor)

In order for the SQL database to be in a consolidated condition, you must start from the script as well, which stops the database or you have to activate the Quiesce mode aktivieren.

The Quiesce mode prepares the operating system for a possible shutdown, which prompts all data to be written into the database. The shutdown never actually happens. Thanks to database consolidation data loss danger is reduced. For VMware we recommend the VMPRO from Quantum, which is free up to 1 TB source.

Multiple, simultaneous backups? – a case for softies?

No, we strongly recommend you to run at least two different backups just in case one is faulty – it does happen.

Since our Act! database is our most important source of information we have set up the following backups, in order to ensure optimal security for our own database:

  • Daily backup with e-mail notification via Act! (Saved to the Act! server)
  • Daily backup with SERVICE|IT to an FTP server from our external hoster, in this case in Cologne)
  • Daily backup via VMPRO to a Dedupe appliance from Quantum (DXi4600). Our advantage here is that we can go back up to 2 years, so we can access data within that time period on any specific data. The DXi4603 is standing in our server room.
  • Daily backup via VMWARE on a QNAP, which is located in the neighboring building (connected via 10 GBit fibre optic)

That means we have 4 backups, surely excessive, but losing this database would rob our sales department of much needed information for their daily work with our customers.

Leave a Comment