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MIS Systems Thread, Mirroring SIMS database & DOCSTORAGE in Technical; Hi Everyone Just a quick question does anybody have any idea if it is possiable to mirror the SIMS.net database ...
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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    Mirroring SIMS database & DOCSTORAGE

    Hi Everyone

    Just a quick question does anybody have any idea if it is possiable to mirror the SIMS.net database between two SQL 2005 servers?

    Also does anybody know if it is possiable to replicated the DOCSTORAGE folder between two servers and make it appear as one for SIMS.net to connect to?
    We have gotten the SIMS data folder replicated using DFS and that works great as SIMS.net sees it as one folder even though it is replicated on the two servers

    Thanks

    Matt

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    Gatt's Avatar
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    Ooh - now would be interested in doing this also

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Don't think mirroring is supported. You might want to look at Capita KB72633.

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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Don't think mirroring is supported. You might want to look at Capita KB72633.
    to use clustering on server 2008 you have to have a SAN etc... We have a SAN for users work but we are looking to keep the SIMS database on the SIMS server

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Problem with mirroring is it will add additional flags, which sims don't like. At least that's what I'm told.

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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    I have been working on this all day and the SIMS database will not let me enable mirroring. So I have now decided that I am going to create a passive failover system, meaning that instead of having two servers replicating them selves 24/7 I want to create a way that the system will copy/backup the active SIMS & FMS databases and restore them e.g make them live on the second server at say midnight ready for the next day. Then if anything happens to the active server I could just change the connect.ini file to point to the other server and everyone could carry on working.

    I have created a DFS replication to copy the contents of the SIMS share and the DOCSTORAGE to the second server, the SIMS share is set to replicate 24/7 and the DOCSTORAGE share replicates at midnight. All I need now is a way to copy/restore the active SIMS & FMS databases to the second server and make the live automatically. I was thinking of creating a scheduled task that would stop the SQL server on both servers, then copy the MDF and LDF files (both SIMS & FMS) over to the second server then start SQL on both servers again.

    Can anyone see any problems with this setup?

    The only thing that I would have to do manually then is to change the Connect.ini file to point to the second server.

    Can anyone see possiable problems with this idea?

    Thanks

    Matt

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    If you get this working I would be very interested to see how - at the moment we do this manually but not every day. I've would like automate it but haven't time to try at the moment. By the way if your connect ini is set to redirect to the server all you need to change to change the server is your S drive mapping. We get our users to log into SIMS using a desktop shortcut which points to a batch file on a server (not the SIMS server). The batch file maps the S drive and launches SIMS so if and when we need to change servers we only have to change 1 setting in 1 file

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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    Hi everyone, just to update you all on this idea. I have put this idea in to practice and it works great!


    BEFORE YOU READ THIS, I PROVIDE THIS AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW I HAVE IT SETUP AND WORKING BUT IF YOU COPY THIS SETUP IT IS NOT MY FAULT IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS FROM COPYING THIS DESIGN. THIS IS A QUICK RUN THROUGH AND IF YOU WANT ANY MORE INFO PLEASE CONTACT ME

    ONE QUICK NOTE, THIS DESIGN RELIES ON HAVING TWO IDENTICAL SIMS SERVERS BUT YOU MUST 100% MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS ONLY 1 ACTIVE SIMS DATABASE AT ANY ONE TIME AND THAT BOTH SERVERS ARE KEPT IN SYNC WITH EACH OTHER. IT IS NOT MY FAULT IF COPYING THIS DESIGN BREAKS YOUR SIMS INSTALLATION AS CAPITA DOES NOT SUPPORT THIS SETUP AND I AM ONLY DOING IT TO PROVIDE A RESILIENT DESIGN TO OUR SIMS INSTALLATION.

    SERVER SIDE CONFIG (QUICK RUN THROUGH)

    Now to the fun part, the way I have gotten it to work is to have 2 identical servers running window server 2008 64bit with the full version of sql 2005 64bit. Both servers have SIMS.net installed with a copy of the simsroot and DOCSTORAGE folders on both (basically running two identical sims servers) I have then setup Microsoft DFS and created a namespace called simsdata, this includes folder targets for the simsroot share from both servers and have created a replication group to keep both simsroot folders synced with each other. Although the first sims server is set as the reference server(basically set as the primary server)

    To keep the DOCSTORAGE folder synced is a bit different instead of creating a namespace and replication group, you just need to create the replication group but point the folder targets at the SIMS2005 folder inside your DOCSTORAGE folder under the server name DO NOT POINT IT TO THE SERVER NAME otherwise it will create a separate DOCSTORE for the active sims server under its own server name on both servers (trust me!).

    Now we have gotten the simsroot and DOCSTORAGE folders replicated, that just leaves the database to replicated, but because the SIMS database doesn't seam to like native sql mirroring i have created a script that can be run as a scheduled task that will stop the sql service on the first(main) sims server and do a sideways copy of the sims.ldf and sims.mdf files (can also be used for FMS as we do) and copy them to a holding folder on the second sims server the script then starts the sql service on the main sims server allowing people to carry on working. The script then detaches the old database from the second sql server and copies it to another holding folder just in case you want to restore it again later, then the script attaches the copied database from the first server and you can start to use sims on the second server.

    (CLIENT SIDE)

    Map the S:\ drive to the DFS namespace e.g. yourdomainname\simsdata\simsroot mapping the sims share this way allows one server to be taken offline and your sims drive will continue to be accessible.

    configure your sims connect.ini on the s:\ drive to point to the first database server as normal e.g simsserver1\sims2005 then if your first server fails then because your are using a DFS namespace to map the s:\ drive the connect.ini is still available to your clients and you can quickly change the server to simserver2\sims2005 and everyone can carry on working as normal but being connected to the second server.

    Once your first server is back online allow and make sure that the DFS shares have replicated back properly then perform the backup/database transfer script in reverse to transfer the active sims database from the second server back to the first server and change the connect.ini back to normal.

    I hope this is helpful as a few people asked me to tell them if i got it working, so here you go. If you want any more info please contact me, if you want a copy of the script then please PM me as i don't want to publish it on here just in case someone uses it and breaks their sims installation but it is freely available for people who want a copy and understand the risks in using it! If you manage sims on a day to day basis and you understand how the backend of sims works you should be fine with it

    Thanks

    Matt

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Not 100% sure this would be the best way to do it. Personally, if I was an really worried about my SIMS server dieing, I would schedule a regular dbattach backup, this has an option to backup DMS. For those who don't mind waiting, I believe Capita are looking at mirroring support for SQL 2008.

    This would allow you to continue using the system whilst you perform backups. Generally I would say use a CNAME for SIMS with a low cache time, that way, you just point it at the new\backup server should the primary fail. Run a script to restore the db (which you may already have scheduled) and people are working. Still I can't really see the point. Running SIMS on a virtual server would be alot better.

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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Generally I would say use a CNAME for SIMS with a low cache time, that way, you just point it at the new\backup server should the primary fail. Running SIMS on a virtual server would be alot better.
    I like the idea of using the CNAME for sims might use this in my set, then you would not need to change the connect.ini o point to the second server just the dns record. With regards to the virtual server idea, i believe capita do not support virtualizing sims? I know capita do not support my setup either but it does keep them happy with regards to it being run on a physical box the only difference is that i replicate the shares and backup the database to a second server.

    With regards to backing up the DMS, i have got it replicating between the two servers so it is always backed 24/7. I have created this design to match all of my other servers as we have two full replicated server rooms containing almost 100% identical hardware in each location e.g. 1 DC, 1 FILE header, 1 fully replicated SAN (using fujitsu duplex data manager) 1 sims server, exchange, isa etc... we have around 24 servers in total in the two locations with 10Gb links between them. With the SAN we have a full storage SAN network, which is completely separate from the data network there are two SX80 SANs, with 2 SAN file headers each connected to two brocade SAN fabric switches (basically everything has a link to everything else so if anything failed the entire storage network can carry on working) all the SAN hardware is connected by 4Gb fibre links with a fujitsu TX24 fibre connected robotic tape library to back it all up

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Can't see why Capita would, so long as they didn't support the hardware. SIMS is at the end of the day, a Windows application, so long as your running a (unmodified) supported Windows OS, you should be fine. I've seen SIMS running on Xen, VMware, MS Hyper-VM without any problems.

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