Nigel Salm · Jun 11, 2021

Backup Software


I have had customers who would rather use a backup application rather than using IRIS Backups. In my experience, I have tried a number of free backup tools and I have paid for at least two "very good Backup Tools" and all of them have failed to create usable backups especially if my Ensemble/IRIS Instances are still running and even if Ensemble/IRIS have been shut down I have found that the backups created by these tools have around an 80% chance of being able to restore a system (let's assume that I am not trying to backup core Windows elements like the Registry and Windows system files). 

So many customer applications that I have worked with rely on Ensemble/IRIS to run 24/7 as they use the nighttime to run their batch processes, Task Manager Systems Tasks, and Reporting so they really don't want to have to shut down their installations (even though in other Database Technologies it is taken for granted that systems are taken offline, either for backup purposes or system administration).

Do any DC members have experience with any 3rd party Backup Utilities that work reliably in an Ensemble/IRIS environment and are there preconditions such as having to shutdown or suspend the IRIS Instance while the backups run?


Product version: IRIS 2020.1
$ZV: IRIS for Windows (x86-64) 2021.1 (Build 205U) Thu Apr 8 2021 09:21:50 EDT
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Hey Nigel.

The key take away from any attempts to backup a running environment is to use freeze/thaw scripts.

The idea being that the backup solution will prompt the IRIS system to freeze the DBs for the backup to take place, and then thaw after the fact.

I recently embarked on this myself, and posted an article showing my journey based on using VMWare and a windows environment. However this should be easily adaptable to other backup solutions.

The only change I have made since that article is that I am not passing the login credentials via a separate file, and instead have OS Authentication enabled within my IRIS system so that the user account running the script is able to automatically authenticate at runtime.

Thank you Julian and Vic and especially John Murry whose article on the topic is excellent and your follow-up article, Julian, on your experience of using this solution and what you learned was equally well written. I have combined both articles into Word and added them to my knowledge base and I am going to try this myself as my laptop has crashed twice in the last year and a half and I not only lost several days worth of development work but entire directories of databases, documentation and code exports from 30 years of developing Cache applications. I have now connected to OneDrive, Google Drive, DropBox and iCloud and hold copies of My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, My Software, My Sent/Received Email Attachments in all of them and I use automation tools such as IFFT,  Zapier and Power Automate to create flows to synchronize these folders to the point that the only data I actually store on my hard drives are installed applications and my Ensemble and IRIS databases and as I have had to start using GIT in the company I work for I have integrated GIT into VS Code and Studio so that at least my current work is uploaded to my personal GitHub repositories and the company Git server.

Thank you


I forgot to mention the article from @Murray Oldfield and I really should have considering it was a big help when implementing this myself.

I will say that I was caught out when trying the example scripts kindly provided in the comments as they are shown as two distinct scripts, and I found that VMWare would run every script in the folder on the freeze, and then all again but in reverse order for the thaw. This would mean that VMWare was effectively freezing and thawing the environment in a single hit, and then trying to backup before thawing and then freezing the environment.