Backup Server and Testing Instances

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Overview

In addition to the instance that your organization uses for day to day work, SmartSimple clients have access to a second backup instance.

The backup instance is a copy of your live SmartSimple instance from the previous day. 

The backup instance of your SmartSimple is synced nightly with all the current information from your main instance as it existed when the backup is performed each night. For example, if you change your password on the live instance of SmartSimple, the backup will reflect your new password after its nightly updated. 

Backup The backup environment is a warm backup. This means that it is always running and available, just like the production (live) environment. However, the backup is not a real-time continuous sync. Rather, the backup only synchronizes from the production servers once a day over night. This means that modifications to the production environment of your SmartSimple instance will not be immediately reflected onto the backup - the delay could be up to 24 hours.
Archive The archive storage retains the daily backups of the database for up to 90 days. This environment is not an accessible web server; it is only used to store each daily database backup.

Using the Backup Instance

Locating Your Backup Instance

Depending on the location of your production instance, you can determine the location of your backup instance using the following table: 

Production Instance Backup Instance
alias.smartsimple.com alias.smartsimplebk.com
alias.smartsimple.biz alias.smartsimplebk.biz
alias.smartsimple2.biz alias.smartsimple2bk.biz
alias.smartsimple.ca alias.smartsimplebk.ca
alias.smartsimple.us alias.smartsimplebk.us
alias.smartsimple.ie alias.smartsimplebk.ie

In most cases, the backup instance is therefore accessed by inserting a "bk" into the URL of your production instance. The bk  is added after the smartsimple part of the URL, but before the domain ending (.com, .biz, .ca, etc). 

 You can log into the backup instance with the same username and password as the production instance. 

In the image below, the user is logged into the backup instance. Note the bk in the URL, as well as the header that states Environment: Backup.

Backup example.png

When to Use the Backup Instance

Configuration Mode - Testing Changes

If you are testing a new idea or process, using Configuration Mode or otherwise, it is best practice to make all changes in the backup environment first, run the process if necessary, and then copy the desired changes into the live instance. Because the backup instance has no impact on live users, it is best used for any changes or updates to the production instance that should be tested. Changes that are successfully tested on the backup can then be repeated on the production instance in order for them to actually reflect onto the live system.

You can be logged into the backup and live instances simultaneously, however it is recommended to dedicate one browser to live, and one to backup. That way there is less chance of making an unintended change in the live instance by selecting the wrong tab, and you can test your changes in multiple browsers. 

The backup instance does not send any emails triggered by workflows, but you can review the output results in the In Queue tab of the Message Queue, so it is an excellent environment to safely test workflows

Learning Environment

The backup is also a great resource to allow new internal users who are unfamiliar with the SmartSimple system to build confidence and manage or investigate processes. For a new System Administrator, for example, it can be helpful to provide this user with System Administrator/Global Administrator permissions on backup only, so as not to impact your live environment.

It is possible to restrict login access to the backup environment by role, which can be found under System Feature Permissions in the Global Settings

Note: Any changes to the data or the structure of the backup instance will be overwritten when the nightly backup executes.

System Upgrades

When system upgrades are scheduled the backup servers are updated two weeks prior to the production servers for testing purposes. This schedule does not include users who are working on a dedicated server.

System Upgrade Schedule

Upgrade Planned Production Date
November 2021 Thu, November 11 2021
March 2022 Thu, March 10 2022
July 2022 Thu, July 14 2022
November 2022 Thu, November 10 2022
March 2023 Thu, March 9 2023
July 2023 Thu, July 13 2023
November 2023 Thu, November 9 2023

The next upgrade is scheduled for November 11 2021.

System Upgrade Process

The objective of our system upgrade process is to ensure that customers have a chance to review how their applications and information will work following a system upgrade, without compromising the integrity of their current production system. In order to take advantage of this, the backup instance must be used. The backup update allows for instance-specific testing, as you can log into your respective backup instance and test the changes against your most current data and configuration.

If you have any questions about accessing your backup instance, contact the SmartSimple Support Desk

For more information about our specific upgrade process, see here.

See Also