People Inc. FAQ

People Inc. Database Backup and Restore

To ensure the data held in People Inc. is secure, it is essential that a regular database backup of the People Inc. databases are taken, and that the procedure for restoring these backups is understood.

It is not uncommon for users to assume that, because their data is on the server, it is backed-up every night. In practice, it is not uncommon for users to find that, when needed, restoring a back-up from the previous night is more difficult than the expected it to be. Users should therefore understand the following:

  • Exactly what the current arrangements for backups are.
  • How often database back-ups are taken and for how long they are kept
  • What step are taken to ensure the security of the back-up media
  • The procedure and time delay associated with restoring a backup

Users may have to ask for the Database Backup arrangements to be changed if they feel their data is not backed-up regularly enough, or that the back-ups are not kept for long enough.

Creating a database backup using People Inc.

The People Inc. system manages information within a number of SQL Server databases. The standard system uses 4 databases, but it is possible to use just 3, and some installations will have more (depending on the number of user databases). All of the databases have to be backed-up at the same time to generate a valid back-up copy of the system. A full People Inc. database back-up contains all user data, together with screen, table, letter and report definitions; in fact everything needed to recover the system.

It is not possible to create a Database Backup of your system by copying the live database files themselves. This is because these files are permanently in use (unless the server is first stopped). We recommend the following approach when backing up People Inc. databases

To create a full back-up of the People Inc. databases from the system itself, open the System Administrator module, right-click on the System Maintenance node in the Management Console and select System Maintenance and follow the steps of the back-up wizard.

Database Backup using People Inc.

Note: the backup option is not available in the Management Console in the main People Inc. system; back-ups can only be created from the System Administrator module.

Select shared data and all other databases.

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When the Database Backup are created in this way, the Database Backup files are created in the folder assigned for backups within People Inc.; by default the files are created in the folder:

C:\Program Files\PA Group\People Inc\Backup

This location can be modified using the Maintenance Manager utility. The following back-up files are generated when backing up a newly installed system.

backup3

The files produced by a backup are a back-up set and should be kept together, and restored as a set. Note that a backup set may have more than 4 files. To keep the back-up safe, copy the files produces to a suitable back-up device (tape or CD).

It is recommended that the back-up is labelled with the system/database version (for example ‘3.4.2.101’). The version number can be found by selecting help>about on the People Inc. menu. It is only possible to restore a back-up of a particular database version onto a system with the same version number.

Note that, when a back-up is restored, all existing data and screen/letter/report definitions are replaced with the copies held in the backup.

Restoring database backups using Maintenance Manager

Restoring People Inc. databases enables users to undo changes made in the system, for example if the user wishes to recover data that has been inadvertently overwritten or modified.

We recommend that users restore databases using the Maintenance Manager utility. When backups are restored in this way, data, screen definitions, letter and report templates, user accounts and preferences are all overwritten. In addition the Maintenance Manager utility creates any missing databases and configures the correct login details within SQL Server. A copy of this utility can be found in the tools folder on the installation CD. Note that the version of Maintenance Manager used should match the version of People Inc.

Any set of People Inc database back-up files can be restored onto SQL Server using the Maintenance Manager utility. A backup set will consist of a back-up of the redshared30 database, a backup of the master database, and individual back-ups of any user databases. A new installation of People Inc. has 2 user databases, but user may create more databases as they use the system. To avoid potential problems, People Inc. backups should always be restored as a complete set; individual database backups within a set should never be substituted for a database backup from another backup set. Before restoring databases, check the dates of the back-up files to make sure they were created at the same time.

If the backups were created using SQL Server, it may be necessary to change the backup names (to those in the image below) before restoring them using the Maintenance Manager (this utility will not work if the back-up files have been given different names). Back-up created using the People Inc. System Administrator are automatically given these names.

backup16

Users should also note that, if the back-up files were created using SQL Server (rather than the System Administrator), each physical file may contain more than on back-up. If these files are used, the Maintenance Manager utility will restore the first back-up in the back-up file (for each database). This is normally not what the user requires. In this situation, the restore must be done using SQL Server itself and the most recent back-up selected manually from each of the files.

The Maintenance Manager utility can be used with all versions of SQL Server. Note that it is not possible to restore SQL Server 2005/2008 backups onto an SQL Server 2000 installation.

To start the Maintenance Manager utility, run PSPMaintenanceManager.exe. There are 2 possible Authentication options. In the first instance, try to use Windows Authentication; this will use your Windows account details to log into SQL Server. If your Windows account does not have the necessary access rights, the SQL Server SA password will be needed to enable you to log in using SQL Server Authentication.

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Select ‘Settings>Backup Path’ from the system menu. This path is the location of the backup files. Put a full set of backup files in this folder.

To restore the database backup set, select ‘Perform > Perform Full Restore’ from the system menu

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Confirm that you wish to perform a full-restore by re-typing the 9-digit code generated.

Restoring backups using SQL Server tools

Note that, if you are using a full version of SQL Server (rather than MSDE or SQL Server Express) it is also possible to restore databases using the tools provided with SQL Server. If this approach is taken, care should be taken to ensure that all of the People Inc. databases on the server are restored to a backup taken at a particular point in time (this will comprise 4 or more SQL Server databases). Users are likely to experience problems if a single database backup from a set of backups is restored without the remainder of the set of backups. If backups are restored using SQL Server tools, it may be necessary to create/modify SQL logins manually before People Inc. will function correctly.

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People Inc. databases can be backed up each evening via SQL Server and can be done on an ad-hoc basis by users, via the System Administration Module

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Note: Features with a Difficulty rating of over 50% will need to be set up by one of our developers.