Migrating an Ares Database

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Your Ares server is installed by Atlas Systems as part of your initial installation and implementation. If you would like to move to a new server from your current server, you can contact Atlas to perform this migration for you or you can perform this migration yourself.

Atlas Systems can perform a migration for you for a fee. While the steps below seem simple, many sites prefer to have Atlas perform this migration for them to have peace of mind that all files are installed properly and migrated in a timely fashion. Please contact Atlas Systems support at service@atlas-sys.com or 800-567-7401 x1 for details and to schedule a time for the migration.

When Atlas Systems performs the Ares server migration for you (for a fee), Atlas will:

  • Work with you to ensure you have the needed hardware configurations to optimize Ares performance.
  • Verify the database transaction log is being truncated regularly to conserve hard drive space.
  • Verify all services are running with appropriate permissions.
  • Backup the existing database and migrate it to the new server.
  • If needed, verify that SQL backups are being done on a regular basis and suggest how to best copy those backups off of that hardware.
  • Ensure the PDF files are removed from the server according to the customization settings and are accessible to web users.
  • Disable all services and the database on the old server to be sure it does not conflict with the new server.
  • Clean out any retired versions of executables or data files to conserve hard drive space.
  • Upgrade Ares to the latest released version.
  • Assist with firewall troubleshooting for the new server and/or switching IP addresses for the two machines.

If you would like to perform the server migration or re-installation yourself, please see the instructions below.

Note that if you choose to perform an Ares migration on your own and you have problems, Atlas will need to charge the full migration fee to assist and perform this migration for you.

This documentation covers the basics on how to migrate a standard Ares installation. It expects that the person performing these tasks is familiar with Microsoft SQL Server, Windows Server, and Internet Information Services (IIS). If you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with running SQL scripts, backing up and restoring databases, modifying IIS, settings or editing Windows permissions, you will be unable to perform this migration without assistance or significant downtime.

Setting Up the New Ares Server

Before migrating your database, set up your new server and ensure that it meets the hardware and software requirements. You'll also want to have Ares and all of its components installed on the new server and try a test migration to ensure that the actual migration will go smoothly.

Server System Requirements

Your new Ares server must fulfill the system requirements for running Ares. See Ares Hardware and Software Requirements for all recommended and minimum requirements.

Install Ares on New Server

When installing the Ares software on your new server, be sure to install the SAME VERSION (4.1, 4.2, etc.) that you have installed on the old server. If you want to update to the latest version of Ares, you can do that after performing the migration.

Once you have installed IIS on your server, you will need to install the Ares server software to your new Ares server. To obtain these files, contact Atlas Systems at service@atlas-sys.com or 800-567-7401 x1. When you have the installer files, follow the instructions at Installing the Ares Server to install the Ares server and client software on your new server.

You MUST choose "Run as Administrator" when running the Ares server installation program to avoid problems.

Copy Server Files (Recommended)

If you have a large amount of Ares files (web pages, templates, PDF files, etc.) you may want to copy the majority of the files to the new server before migrating to save time later. The IUSR and IIS_IUSRS Windows accounts on the new server need Read permissions in order for the copying to work.

  • The Ares web pages. The default location for these files is c:\inetpub\wwwroot\Ares but they may live in another location on the web server.

  • The Ares PDF files. These files are the documents delivered to customers electronically and are generally stored for 30 days or so before the System Manager removes them. The default location for these files is c:\Ares\AresDocs PublicDocs and TempUpload but they may be in a separate location. You can verify their location by checking the AresPhysicalDocPath and TempUploadPath keys in the Ares Customization Manager under Web | Paths.

When copying these files, nothing special needs to be done to move them other than copying them over the network from the old server to the new server.  If you would like to take this opportunity to move any of your files to a new location, make a note of their new location so that you can update this information in the Ares Customization Manager.

Preparing for Migration

The following steps are time sensitive. Up until this point, the existing system can still be up and running and usable by patrons and staff. Once you begin the following steps and move forward with the migration, the old Ares system and server will not be accessible by staff or patrons.

  1. Close Ares Clients

    Inform all staff (and anyone else who might access the system) that they will need to close the Ares Client, Customization Manager, Staff Manager and anything else Ares-related until further notice. This should prevent any changes to the data during the migration process. It may be a good idea to check the queues in the client and note the number of requests in each queue. This is an easy way to verify that you have an identical database once you create the new server.

  2. Disable Ares Web Pages and Client

    The web pages and the client will need to be disabled on the old server to prevent any attempts to add or change data in the database while the migration takes place. The easiest way to disable both of these on the old server is simply to change the Server Name value in the SQL Alias Manager for the default login. Changing the Server Name value to something generic (123.123.123.123) will stop allowing the services, client or web DLL to connect to the database. You may also want to stop the Ares website completely. You can stop the Ares website by going to the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager on the server, navigating to the Ares web pages and stopping them. 

    You can also change your GLogon.html and GLogon2.html pages to notify customers that the web pages will be down temporarily. To change your GLogon.html and GLogon2.html pages, locate them on the server and make the needed changes. The default location of these pages is c:\inetpub\wwwroot\Ares.

  3. Stop and Disable Ares System Manager

    In the Services console of the old server, you will see the Ares System Manager installed and running. Stop this and set it to disabled so that a reboot of the server will not restart it. This is key to keep the old server from attempting to run automated tasks on the SQL database once the new server is in place.

  4. Backup and Copy the Ares Database

    Once you are sure that everyone is out of the system, back up the AresData database on the old database server using SQL Server Management Studio. You can do this by right-clicking on the database name and choosing Tasks - Backup Database. Be sure to do a standard full backup and backup the entire database. This will be the snapshot of the database you will restore on the new server. After successfully backing up the database, right click on it and take it offline. This will prevent anyone from accidentally connecting to it.

  5. Copy Additional Server Files (Recommended)

    If you haven't already copied your Ares files (web pages, templates, PDF files, etc.) to the new server, do so now. Again, the IUSR and IIS_IUSRS Windows accounts on the new server need Read permissions in order for the copying to work. When copying these files, nothing special needs to be done to move them other than copying them over the network from the old server to the new server. If you would like to take this opportunity to move any of your files to a new location, make a note of their new location so that you can update this information in the Ares Customization Manager. If you have already copied the majority of your files, you'll now need to copy to the new server any PDF files that have been added to the old PDF directory since that time.

Migrating the Ares Database

Migrating Ares Databases via DTS Transfer is not recommended. Only the database data is transferred, omitting any triggers, permissions, keys, indexes, etc. and can possibly leave your new database unusable.

  1. Restore the Database on the New Server

    Copy the backup file from the old database server to the new database server. It doesn't need to be in the same folder where your fresh AresData database is, just somewhere you can find it. Restore the backup file by right-clicking and choosing Tasks - Restore - Database. In the options be sure to choose to have it Overwrite the existing database using the file location of the database files created using the installer on the new server.

    • The Ares SQL database and transaction log. This is by far the most irreplaceable part of your Ares installation and should be backed up at least once a day to another location and several backups kept in rotation. The default location for the database files is C:\AresData but this location may be different based off of your SQL Server setup. You cannot back up the files directly while the database is running, so you would need to back up the database using the SQL management tools and then copy the file created.

  2. Reassign the Ares SQL Login

    Because the link to the Ares user has now been broken, you need to reassign the Ares SQL user back to the migrated database after the migration is complete. You can do this by running the following query against the database:

    USE AresData
    GO
    ALTER USER Ares WITH login = Ares
    GO
  3. Swap the IP Addresses of the Old and New Servers

    In order for Ares to connect to the new database, you will need to swap the IP addresses of the old and new servers. This will allow the client machines to connect to the database without any additional installation/changes on the client side. If you do not swap the IP addresses but instead want to connect to Ares with the new IP address, make sure that any references to the IP address are updated in the dbo.Customization table and in the SQL Alias Manager.

Completing the Installation and Setup

Backups

Be sure that you have a backup plan for your Word and email templates (usually in c:\Ares\Print), web pages (usually in c:\inetpub\wwwroot\Ares), PDF files (usually in c:\Ares\AresDocs), and the SQL database. The most imperative of these to save is the SQL database.

Verify that your SQL Server Agent service is running and set to start automatically. The SQL Server Agent is what runs the default backup jobs to backup the AresData database to a file (typically in c:\Ares\Backup). That file can then be backed up to a remote location each night. Be sure that the modified date on that backup file is recent so that your backups are running.

Match Customizations

Verify that any customizations made on the old server have been transferred over to the new server. This can be done in the Ares Customization Manager or in the SQL Server Management Studio by looking at the dbo.Customization table.

Go through the customization keys and make sure that the server IP address is correct and that any file paths are pointing to correct locations. If you changed any file paths when you copied files from the old server to the new server, update those file paths.

Update Ares

If you want to update Ares to a newer version than you now have running on your new server, follow the instructions at Updating the Ares Client. You must install each major version until you have updated to the most recent version. For example, if you want to update to Ares 4.2 but you are currently running Ares 4.1, you must first update to Ares 4.1 and then install Ares 4.2. Contact Atlas Systems at service@atlas-sys.com or 800-567-7401 x1 to obtain these server installation files.

Start System Manager

As soon as you're reasonably convinced that things should be in working condition, start the Ares System Manager again and set it to Automatic.

Testing

Once the process is complete, test the system on the new server to make sure you are able to open the client and access the web pages. Have the staff test their clients and make sure they can send emails, print pull slips, etc.

Restart Server (Recommended)

It is recommended to restart the new server before using.

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