Backing Up Response Manager

Because of the important and time-sensitive role Response Manager plays in day-to-day communications to and from your organization, it is very important that you have a well-thought out backup and recovery plan in place for the system.

Response Manager stores data in two main locations: a SQL Server database and a file-system mailstore. It is very important that any backup of a Response Manager system include both of these and that they match one another. That is, the database backup must reflect the exact state of the corresponding mailstore backup and vice versa. For this reason, the Response Manager service must be stopped when you perform a backup. If Response Manager is running when either the database or mailstore are backed up, it is very likely that the database and mailstore backups will be out of sync. A restore of these mismatched backups will, at best, result in missing messages; at worst, Response Manager will generate errors and fail to start.

Performing a Backup

The general process for backing up a Response Manager server consists of these steps:

  1. Stop the emailtopia Response Manager service.

    The reports service may be left active as it does not write to the database or change the contents of the mailstore.

  2. Back up the Response Manager database.

    Use one of the many options SQL Server provides to do database backups - from the Transact-SQL BACKUP DATABASE statement to the Create Database Backup Wizard in SQL Enterprise Manager. Consult your SQL Server documentation for details or contact your SQL Server database administrator.

  3. Back up the file-based Response Manager data, including the mailstore.

    The simplest and safest thing to do is back up the entire contents of the Response Manager Server folder; for example:

     C:\Program Files\emailtopia\Response Manager\Server
    

    At minimum, the following subdirectories of the Response Manager Server folder must be backed up:

     \attachments
     \certificate
     \dataspace
     \logic
     \mailstore
    
  4. Start the emailtopia Response Manager service.

    Make sure the database and file backups are identified in such a way that they can be matched up should a restore become necessary.

Using the Provided Script to Perform a Backup

A batch file that automates the process of performing a Response Manager backup is provided in the Backup folder of the Response Manager installation folder (e.g., C:\Program Files\emailtopia\Response Manager\Backup). The batch file does the following when it is run:

To use the batch file:

  1. Open the rmbackup.bat file with a text editor such as Notepad.

  2. Edit the parameters between the BEGIN VARIABLES and END VARIABLES lines. See the comments in the file for instructions on editing these values.

  3. Save the rmbackup.bat file.

  4. Create a scheduled task to run rmbackup.bat. See StartControl PanelAdministrative ToolsScheduled Tasks. Ensure that the account used to run the batch file has administrative privileges.

    It’s best to schedule the backup for a time when no users are on the system. Any that are on will be disconnected. Also, ensure that the back up does not run during these times:

The duration of the backup operation will depend on how much data you have in Response Manager. It may take over an hour for larger systems.

This script overwrites any previous backup each time it is executed. You should make sure that some other process (such as your normal network backup) is configured to make copies of the backup for longer-term storage.

Restoring a Backup

Please read this entire section before performing the restore operation.

Following are the steps to restore a Response Manager backup:

  1. Stop the emailtopia Response Manager and emailtopia Response Manager Reports services.

  2. Make copies of the Response Manager data folders.

    If possible—i.e., if the system failure necessitating the restore does not preclude it—make a backup of the current mailstore and other data folders:

     \attachments
     \certificate
     \dataspace
     \logic
     \mailstore
    

    The default location of the folders is C:\Program Files\emailtopia\Response Manager\Server.

    The purpose of saving off these folders is to facilitate the recovery of critical messages and other information saved after the latest backup. Response Manager cannot do this automatically, but it may be possible to extract data manually. Contact emailtopia support for further information should this be necessary in your case.

  3. Locate the database and file-based Response Manager data you wish to restore.

    As described in this chapter’s introduction, a backup must consist of both these items and they must have been created up at the same time (and while the server was stopped). Restoring a backup with mismatched database and file system data will cause errors in Response Manager.

  4. Restore the Response Manager database.

    There are many backup and restore options for SQL Server and the details differ depending on the version of SQL Server you’re using. Consult the SQL Server documentation for instructions on how to perform the database restore.

  5. If the Response Manager Server machine experienced a disk failure or other problem requiring reinstallation of the Response Manager software, do so now.

    Make sure you are installing the same version of Response Manager that was running when your backup was performed.

    During the installation choose the Use existing database option.

  6. Delete the following folders from the Response Manager Server directory:

     \attachments
     \certificate
     \dataspace
     \logic
     \mailstore
    

    The default location of these folders is C:\Program Files\emailtopia\Response Manager\Server.

  7. Copy the backed up Response Manager folders to the Response Manager Server directory. These replace the ones you deleted in the previous step.

  8. If you reinstalled Response Manager, configure the server. Do this by running Response Manager Config from the Response Manager folder in the Start menu and entering the requested information, including selecting the restored database from the list presented.

  9. If they are not already running, start the emailtopia Response Manager and emailtopia Response Manager Reports services.

Your server should now be in the same state it was when the backup occurred.

Backup Alerts

The provided backup script records successful backups in the Response Manager database. If Response Manager detects that no backup has been done in the last two days, an alert is sent to the postmaster group mailbox and to the errors email addresses.

If you are performing properly synchronized mailstore and database backups but are not using the backup script, you may record successful backups from your own backup task by doing the following:

  1. At the start of the backup, connect to the Response Manager database and execute the following query:

     insert into rm_log (activity_type_id, description) values ('43', 'Synchronized mailstore and database backup started.')
    
  2. At the end of a successful backup, execute this query:

     insert into rm_log (activity_type_id, description) values ('44', 'Synchronized mailstore and database backup completed.')
    

If you prefer to turn off the alerts, you may do so by changing the value of backup_alert_hours from 48 to 0 in Response Manager’s Server\Logic\mailserver.xml file.

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