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MIS Systems Thread, Running an addional sims.net database for testing. in Technical; Hi, ive been asked to setup an addition sims.net database for testing, has anyone else done this. and if so ...
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    Running an addional sims.net database for testing.

    Hi,

    ive been asked to setup an addition sims.net database for testing, has anyone else done this. and if so whats required. is it a matter of just making a new sql database and changing the connect.ini?

    Regards

    Simon

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    is it a matter of just making a new sql database and changing the connect.ini?
    Pretty much. We have 3 databases. 2 schools merged into our new school. We keep the 2 older databases for archiving.

    We have a modified connect.ini that has a drop down box to select the database you want to use.

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    russdev's Avatar
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    How ever to run a second database don't you need to purchase what was known as heads system..

    Russ

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    NorthernSands's Avatar
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    I've also run numerous SIMS DBs on one machine. If you're running SQL Express, put the 2nd DB in a different instance. Full SQL doesn't matter. When I'm in work in the morning I'll document the modifications to the Connect.ini you'll need (unless someone beats me to it).

    Regarding the DB itself, you can use a blank DB (but there's a specific routine you have to run to set it up). You could also use the training DBs that Capita provide, if you access to them. Or just take a copy of your existing DB and use that (though you'll run into problems if you use trusted logins). If you use the last option, you may want to alter the school name and / or logo to help prevent you from getting confused! Been there, done that...

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    Be careful though, your SIMS license only covers you for a single SIMS database.

    If you want the training database to match your "real" database, detach the database using the database tools, this preserves all of your staff passwords, make a copy of the database. Rename it to something simple, like training. Reattach the real database, test it still works, then attach the training database. Change the connect.ini as required.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Something to watch out for. When you do a sims upgrade update both databases. They will need to be the same version as the client.

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    NorthernSands's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riffleman View Post
    Be careful though, your SIMS license only covers you for a single SIMS database.
    I don't actually know what the letter of the licence says, but in my experience Capita don't seem to mind. It's not a live DB, they don't provide support, nor do they have to allocate a new DfEE number for SOLUS (you could use the DfEE number changer patch and use your LA one, or just run DBUpgrade after you've updated the live DB).

    However, YMMV with Capita.

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    CAM
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    I run one on my laptop. Install SQL Server 2008 Express, grab a copy of the Green Abbey training dataset (LA gave me a copy) and select "This will be a server" when running the SIMS Installer on your PC. Picks up patches from the live Patches folder but that's it, everything else is self contained on the laptop. Copies of DBAttatch, DBUpgrade, the test data, DocServer, everything.

    It's pretty good practice for things you wouldn't dare to do on the live server. Just remember to start your SIMS2008 service manually when you need it or the computer will take ages to start up each morning! I also use a heavily customised connect.ini that lets me choose at login if I want to connect to the live server or Green Abbey from one client.

    You can use it for training, dev work, slap it in a VM or even a disaster recovery laptop taking a snapshot of the most recent dataset and loading it on to a system disconnected from everything. We did that in a conficker outbreak, single user only though. But if you do this, it must be on a heavily encrypted and physically secured device!

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    One other LA -sorry Bob, can't remember your LA - by default, has two copies the SIMS database, so the upgrade is performed on the test one before being applied onto the live database. Clever idea. Personally if it's for testing, setup a standalone laptop\desktop and dump a copy of the database onto it. At least that way you can't accidently point all the users at the test database.

    Licensing - pretty sure it's a site license, doesn't matter how many times your database is running so long as it's the same.

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    NorthernSands's Avatar
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    Mornin' all.

    Please see below the kind of Connect.ini you'll need to provide a drop down box in the SIMS login window to select multiple DBs.

    [SIMS_Server] and [Workstation_01] are the server names, [SIMS2008] is the instance name. You can reference multiple server / instance combinations. Just plonk this in your SIMS.Net folder on your workstation, overwriting the 'redirect' connect.ini, and you're good to go (after you've actually set up the DBs). My workstation also acts as a server for Green Abbey and Waters Edge when I'm out and about training in school with my laptop (which has the same connect.ini).

    Code:
    [SIMSConnection]
    ServerName=SIMS_Server\SIMS2008
    DatabaseName=SIMS
    DatabaseMode=OnLine
    
    [SIMSDatabases]
    FriendlyName0=Green Abbey
    Server0=Workstation_01\SIMS2008
    DatabaseName0=EngGA
    DatabaseMode0=OnLine
    
    FriendlyName1=Water's Edge
    Server1=Workstation_01\SIMS2008
    DatabaseName1=EngWE
    DatabaseMode1=OnLine
    
    FriendlyName2=School-Copy
    Server2=Workstation_01\SIMS_School
    DatabaseName2=SIMS
    DatabaseMode2=OnLine
    
    FriendlyName3=School
    Server3=SIMS_Server\SIMS2008
    DatabaseName3=SIMS
    DatabaseMode3=OnLine
    
    [SIMSOffline]
    PreviousRedirect=
    PreviousServerName=SIMS_Server\SIMS2008
    PreviousDatabaseName=SIMS
    PreviousDatabaseMode=OnLine
    HTH

  11. Thanks to NorthernSands from:

    vikpaw (6th April 2011)

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    I prefer to make the test db on a separate VM, and keep it isolated. Access was restricted to me, but i'm going to add a vm client too, that people can access via RDP if i ask them to do testing, or i want to train.

    I'm always worried about crossover etc. so prefer to keep the test system off the domain, map a different drive, e.g. X instead of S, and put files called "_TEST SERVER" everywhere just to make sure i don't confuse them.

    I still have to be careful nonetheless when i'm running multiple rdp sessions from my PC to both live server and test client as it's easy to mistake them, so changing the desktop colour and other things like resolution is useful too.

    I tend to use my own data as it's more realistic, and i know specific, reports / templates that i want to test with new upgrades.

    There are a couple of threads around that describe the process of setting up a new installation be it for live or test purposes, also VM if you want though that's not a factor really.

    Basically, you can download a copy of the latest installable media from capita and get a completely clean setup, the latest one i just got was Spring 2010. I just had to copy some of the dbupgrade files that occur between spring 10 to now, to make sure it worked with my data.

    As for detaching your live db, don't do it. I've found you don't need to. You can do a regular backup, and just restore it and the logins are transferred, so you don't need to touch your live system or bring it down at all. It's also a good way to test your backups are working. Sims Backup

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    For information, we're quite happy for you to have a test version of SIMS in addition to your main licenced product.

  14. 3 Thanks to PhilNeal:

    CAM (6th April 2011), NorthernSands (6th April 2011), vikpaw (6th April 2011)

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    dblight's Avatar
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    Sorry to open an "old"ish thread but this is causing my a big headache!

    Currently we have only one SIMS database. I wish to create an additonal "Testing/Training" Database. I want to be able to flick between live and testing either with two different SIMS shortcuts or one with a drop down.

    I have tried what has been suggested above but having a snag. My local connect.ini re-directs to the servers connect.ini and that logs in using trusted authentication.

    Have changed the my local connect.ini to the following

    [SIMSConnection]
    ServerName=LIVESERVER\SIMS2008
    DatabaseName=sims
    ConnectionType=TrustedAuto
    CommandTimeout=100000
    [SIMSDatabases]
    FriendlyName0=Test Server
    Server0=TestServer\SIMS2008
    DatabaseName0=TESTSIMS
    ConnectionType=TrustedAuto
    CommandTimeout=100000

    [SIMSOffline]
    PreviousRedirect=
    PreviousServerName=SIMS_Server\SIMS2008
    PreviousDatabaseName=SIMS
    PreviousDatabaseMode=OnLine
    Unless ive totally missed something (I'm new to looking after SIMS!!) When i run SIMS with the local connect.ini of above it obviously tries to use trusted authentication before i can select a database. We only use trusted authentication but i can work out how to connect to another database other than the live one!

    Any help would be fantastic

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    You can't used trusted logins with the multi-select connect.ini.

    You could try having two connect.ini then use the /CONNECT: switch (I think that's right anyway).

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    dblight's Avatar
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    Brilliant, i suspected as much...

    Just created a new connect-test.ini and changed the shortcut to

    "C:\Program Files (x86)\SIMS\SIMS .net\SIMSLoad.exe" "C:\Program Files (x86)\SIMS\SIMS .net\Pulsar.exe" /CONNECT:"C:\Program Files (x86)\SIMS\SIMS .net\connect-test.ini but SIMS is still loading correctly.

    The servername in the new connect-test.ini doesnt exit!

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