Otter Documentation

Backing-up Otter

As the home for all of your server's configuration, and all of the other server configuration data - Otter should be backed-up frequently. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to do.

There are three things to back-up on the Otter server:

  • Otter Database - a SQL Server database that contains all of Otter's configuration data; this is absolutely vital to back-up
  • Encryption key - the value stored in both the web.config and Otter.Service.config that's used to encrypt/decrypt sensitive data, most notably resource credentials
  • Non-database Rafts - any rafts you created that aren't otherwise backed-up

Backing-up the Otter Database

If you've never worked with Microsoft SQL Server before, not to worry - you won't even know you're working with it. But if you're already familiar with Microsoft SQL Server and know how to back-up and restore databases, you can skip this section. We're not doing anything special, so you are free to use whichever strategy works in your organization.

If you installed Otter with the built-in database, then the installer also installed Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with an instance named OTTER. One of the tools installed with SQL Express is the command-line tool osql.exe; it's located in the SQL Server tools directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\Binn.

You can use a single command to back-up the database, which you may need to run as an administrator if you have UAC enabled in Windows.

osql -S .\OTTER -E -Q "BACKUP DATABASE [Otter] TO DISK=N'C:\Backups\Otter.bak' WITH FORMAT"
You can obviously customize the path on disk as needed. To run this command on a regular basis, just set-up a scheduled task using the Task Scheduler. Note that you can back-up Otter at anytime without having to stop any of the services.

Restoring an Otter Installation

There's generally three reasons why you might want to restore an Otter installation from back-up.

  • Rolling-back to an earlier version of Otter - if there were issues with or during the installation of a new version of Otter.
  • Moving Otter to a new server
  • Undoing a Serious Error

The Easy Way (Restore from same version)

The easiest way to restore an Otter installation is to first ensure that you have a working Otter installation that has the same version number of your back-up. That means you'd want to restore a 2.6.1 back-up to a working 2.6.1 installation, etc. If you're not sure what version your back-up is (perhaps your server blew up and you only have the .bak file), then you'll have to use the advanced way described after this section.

If you backed-up your database using the command above, then you can use the following command to restore:

osql -S .\OTTER -E -Q "RESTORE DATABASE [Otter] FROM  DISK = N'C:\Backups\Otter.bak' WITH  FILE = 1,  NOUNLOAD,  STATS = 10"

Just make sure the Otter Windows Service(s) are stopped, otherwise SQL Server will complain with a "database in use" error.

After you get the database up, just make sure your raft files are where they should be, and you'll be good to go. Easy, right?

The Advanced Way (Restore from any version)

This isn't really that much harder, but it does involve some knowledge of Microsoft SQL Server or the willingness to contact us for assistance. Firstly, you won't be able to restore a newer back-up to an older version (i.e. a 3.0.0 back-up to 2.6.1). But since you should never need to do that anyway, there's nothing to worry about.

If you're using your own SQL Server, then all you need to do is make sure the Otter Database has been restored before running the installer of the version you want. The installer will make sure the restored database is up-to-date as part of the installation.

If you want to use the built-in database, then start by running the installer. It will install the files and create a new Otter database for you. From here, restore your database back-up (you can use the command above) and then run the database change script updater (from the manual installatin package) for the version you are installing. That will ensure the database is up-to-date.