9 Replies Latest reply on May 25, 2017 3:50 PM by Robert Pickeral

    Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server

    Robert Pickeral

      I'm concerned about data backups for our PDM server. I'm less inclined to trust the networking team to backup our data nightly and be able to restore it in a timely manner. I'm asking what lessons learned and best practices have been developed and shared in the community? What software is needed? Or can I just use the SQL Server Management Studio? I know I'll need to discuss with IT / Networking to agree on a location to copy the data onto another server. Hopefully I can perform incremental backups after the initial backup. Thank you.

        • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
          Ryan Dark

          Hi Robert,

          If want to take a look at this 11 minutes video it describes exactly how you can create backups of your PDM system (database and archive) to later restore from if you need to (GoEngineer - PDM Backups are Important).  It does require that you have SQL Management Studio on the machine as well as appropriate credentials for using it.


          Also if you look in the SOLIDWORKS PDM Installation Guide on pages 140-146 you will find written instructions on doing backups and restoring from backups.

          • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
            Jim Sculley

            You want more than just backups.  You want to be using a Maintenance Plan


            Also, the database is only half of the system.  You need to back up the archive server settings and the archive server files (your actual documents) as well.

            • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
              Steve Ostrovsky

              Whatever you do to create backups, make sure you copy those backup files to another device (Database, vault config and physical archive backups). Had a customer who didn't and their server hard drives died... You can imagine their shame when I said it would be easy to restore from your backups and all I heard was silence on the other end of the phone

              • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
                Joy Garon

                Hi Robert -


                First, I have to applaud you for taking a pro-active approach to ensuring you have proper backups.

                Thank you!

                The folks here have made several recommendations for learning more about backups.

                Most of our materials focus on doing full backups.

                You mentioned incremental backups which require a bit more learning.

                Lynda.com offers an online course 'Microsoft SQL Server 2014: Backup and Recovery'.

                Oh, and to Jim's point, you need to plan for the backup of the Archive Server as well.


                Also, you need to make sure that whatever you implement is done with the blessing of your IT team.

                Ultimately, they are on the hook for getting you back up and running and you wouldn't want to interfere with their procedures.


                Lastly, people often overlook one of the most important steps in the backup and recovery plan - RECOVERY.

                Yes, it is very important that you periodically test restoring your backups.

                We have seen cases where backups had failed to execute properly and when a real failure occurred, they were worthless.


                Good luck,


                • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
                  Prasad Bhonsule

                  Hi Robert, there is a lot of good information on here. One thing I would add to is try synchronize the backups of the database and the archive files.


                  I have had a issue with a customer before where the backups of the database and the archive files were more than a day apart, so when restoring there were mismatches in version information.


                  For general system health, I would also recommend you have a maintenance plan set up to rebuild and/or reorganize the vault database indexes, this helps reduce database fragmentation, particularly if the vault has been in use for some time.


                  Kind regards



                  • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
                    Robert Pickeral

                    Thank you all so much for the value loaded feedback. I truly do appreciate it.


                    After talking to our networking rep., he informs me that nightly backups are performed at 1am. And weekly backups are performed on Saturdays. And they keep 30 days of backups. He's assuring me that's sufficient and nothing else is needed.


                    What should I do? Just say, okay and leave this issue alone? Or am I setting myself up for failure? I've learned from you fine folks (and at SWW) to not only backup but perform a mock restore, to assure they process is viable and complete. However, I don't want to keep going to our IT/network team with the same issue - becoming a nuisance.

                      • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
                        Tim Webb

                        Hi Robert,

                        I've been thinking about this for a while and watching the replies from my colleagues. I assure you, you will NOT worry about being a nuisance the first time you ever lose your vault data and discover your backups don't work. I look at it from a different perspective, business.


                        First: PDM - What does that acronym stand for? It stands for "Product Data Management". That phrase gets diluted into meaning "Engineering drawings" but your job is to ensure not only your IT department leads but also leadership understands PDM is the seed for your "Product Revenue" and educate them on the value PDM brings to your organization. They are the stakeholders who need to understand Product Data Management plays a valuable role in your company's Product Revenue. It's how business is done in the 21st century and will become more important in the next decade.



                        1. Does your organization place fire extinguishers throughout the building and periodically test them?
                        2. Does IT purchase backup equipment and software to perform network data backup and restoration tests?
                        3. Does your accounting system get backed up?


                        Why? Because each of these proactive protocols are designed to ensure business continuity in case of a disaster.


                        Is your company's Product Data any less important to your business continuity?


                        In the case of a disaster, your organization will rely on the quality of those backups and whoever is in charge of restoration needs to already be familiar with the procedure of recreating your vault.


                        Does your organization have any Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Quality Management System (QMS) or other regulatory requirements for offsite data backups or backups in general? Who is the business leader responsible for those? I recommend having a brief conversation with them about the role PDM plays in your organization's product revenue and make it less about what you want to do and more about the data being the seed for your business's product revenue...essentially help them understand their responsibility by asking "How do you envision the recovery plan going in the case of a disaster?...I'm here to help YOU with ensuring we identify all potential risks to your area of responsibility and have a solid mitigation plan in place." This is a quote from a book about effectively managing your manager


                        Come to your own conclusions on how to proceed.


                        Tim CEPA

                        Believe in The Q!

                        • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
                          Joy Garon

                          Hi Robert, Let them know that you want a 'restore' test to ensure that backups are good. We do these regularly. These should be done quarterly. When they say nightly, do they mean incremental? If yes, make sure they understand that there are two main components that require backup. (Database and Archives). I'd rather be a PITA than lose all my data :-) Good Luck, Joy

                        • Re: Best Practice for performing backups on PDM Pro server
                          Robert Pickeral


                          There's so much great content here - gives me a lot to study up on. Sorry for the delayed reply. Our company experienced some layoffs. But they missed me in the process, thank The Lord. A team of 3 is now a team of me! So needless to say, I'm up to my ears in alligators. I'll digest this and reply soon with comments/feedback. But I truly appreciate the valued input.