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Attix5 SIMS Backup Keyfacts

Article ID: 246
Last updated: 14 Mar, 2016

What is SIMS?
SIMS is Schools Information Management System and is developed by Capita. It is used for the management of information within schools in the UK.

Attix5 have a SIMS plug-in available to UK education customers that interfaces with SIMS to facilitate off-site backups.

Attix5 Pro backup service is accredited by Capita.

What is SIMS made up of?
It is split into several parts. These are:

  • SIMS (Main management system)
  • FMS (Financial Management System)
  • SIMS Discover (an optional component to SIMS)

Each of these parts has a database component that uses Microsoft SQL Server as the SQL engine.

How does the Attix5 SIMS plug-in work?
The Attix5 SIMS plug-in reads SIMS’ configuration file (C:\Windows\Sims.ini), and drives some components in SIMS to create a backup.

These are:

  • dbAttach.exe (for SIMS and FMS)
  • Discover.Backup.Console.exe (for Discover)

The two applications communicate with the SQL server instance(s) used by SIMS, and create backup files. The Attix5 SIMS plug-in drives these applications and backs up the files that these create to the Attix5 Storage Platform.

My SIMS / FMS / SIMS Discover is not working. Can you help?
SIMS is created by Capita. If you have any issues with the SIMS suite of products, please contact Capita for support.

I’ve seen the different SIMS components shown in the Attix5 menus. Why is SIMS / FMS / Discover not shown?
Screenshot - all menu items:

Screeshot - SIMS menu items only:

Attix5 detects the SIMS components based on the sims.ini configuration file. If the SIMS components are not configured, or there is an error in the configuration file, the menu option will not be shown.

If FMS is installed but not SIMS, the plug-in will still display both the SIMS and FMS options. Navigate to the SIMS configuration page and deselect the Backup SIMS SQL Server check box. Failure to do so will cause backups to display an error that the SIMS plug-in has not yet been configured.

Why am I able to back up SIMS and FMS but not Discover?
Log file example:
Message: 23:00:04 OS: Windows Server 2008, 6.1, amd64
Message: 23:00:04 [SIMS Plugin] Loading configuration
Message: 23:00:04 [SIMS Plugin] Starting SIMS Backup
Message: 23:00:04 [SIMS Plugin] Using DBAttach version 1.31.36.0
Message: 23:00:04 [SIMS Plugin] Backing up SIMS SQL Databases
Message: 23:01:15 [SIMS Plugin] SIMS Backup completed
Message: 23:01:15 [SIMS Plugin] Loading configuration
Message: 23:01:15 [SIMS Plugin] Starting FMS Backup
Message: 23:01:15 [SIMS Plugin] Using DBAttach version 1.31.36.0
Message: 23:01:15 [SIMS Plugin] Backing up FMS SQL Databases
Message: 23:01:33 [SIMS Plugin] FMS Backup completed
Message: 23:01:33 [SIMS Plugin] Loading configuration
Message: 23:01:33 [SIMS Plugin] Starting Discover Backup
Message: 23:01:33 [SIMS Plugin] Backing up DISCOVER SQL Databases
Error: 23:01:51 [SIMS Plugin] No backup was created by Discover.Backup.Console.exe.
Message: 23:01:51 [SIMS Plugin] DISCOVER Backup Failed

SIMS and Discover need to be on the same version. SIMS/FMS are installed separately from Discover.

When updating SIMS/FMS, Discover is sometimes left on an older version which is incompatible with the main SIMS database. Make sure that SIMS and Discover are running the same release version.

The SIMS automatic update system SOLUS3 can be used to upgrade SIMS and Discover, and where SIMS has been upgraded but not Discover, the same issue will be seen.

Note: See article 346 for information on how to back up and restore the SOLUS3 database.

I can run dbAttach.exe / Discover.Backup.Console.exe to create a backup, but backups are not working within Attix5. Why is this?
dbAttach.exe and Discover.Backup.Console.exe interface with Microsoft SQL Server to create the backup files.

SQL Server writes the backup data to a location specified by dbAttach / Discover.Backup.Console.

The SQL Server service has a Service User, as does the Attix5 Backup Service, both of which need write permission to the specified location. (The services do not have to run as the same user).

If the Service Users do not have write permission, the backup files cannot be written to disk and the backup will fail.

If you run the applications manually or to different locations, different users and permissions may apply, and a different outcome may result.

How do I install the SIMS plug-in?
The SIMS plug-in is not included in the Attix5 plug-in installer.

Please see FAQ Article 48  or the SIMS / FMS / Discover plug-in manual for installation instructions.

If you do not have SIMS licenses on your Storage Platform your backup client will inform you of this when you try to back up, and you will not be able to use the SIMS plug-in. This behaviour is the same as other plug-ins within Attix5.

Can I install the plug-in automatically?
The SIMS plug-in can be included in a Deployed MSI of the Attix5 Pro client.

Create a folder called “plugins” containing the SIMS and other plug-ins to be included, and use the “Add Folder…” button in the deployment wizard to include these.

See FAQ Article 221 for more details.

How do I configure the SIMS plugin after it is installed?
Please see the SIMS / FMS / Discover plugin manual which can be found here

Can I see SIMS working?
Version 6 demonstration video showing account creation and configuring SIMS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHIWPN7b2oc

Version 7 demonstration video showing SIMS, FMS and Discover:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjiWQncAZNA

The “SIMS” / “Discover” folder is not showing as selected in the Attix5 Pro graphical user interface (GUI) but is backing up successfully. Why is this?
There is a case mismatch between one of the SIMS folders in the file system and how it is configured in the GUI. Backups are not affected but it can be an annoyance.
See the example below of the SIMS shared documents folder:

Windows File System view: Attix5 Pro client GUI view:

SIMS Backup Settings dialog box:

To resolve the issue:

  • Change the case of the Shared Directory Location to match that shown in the Windows file system in the SIMS Backup Settings dialog and click OK.

    ​For example, change “C:\Sims” to “C:\SIMS” and the directory will be highlighted correctly.

If this does not resolve the problem:

  • Close down the GUI and stop the Attix5 Pro service.
  • Navigate to the installation directory and open the backupset.xml in notepad
  • Find the folder name in the file (highlighted red in example 1 below) and change the case of this as shown in the second example.

Backupset.xml Example 1:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<selection guid="00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000" lastbackup="2014-01-23 09:48:54 GMT" origin="user" version="6.0">
  <schedule>
     <daily enabled="false">19h00</daily>
     <advanced enabled="false"/>
  </schedule>
  <volume name="C:\">
     
<folder name="Program Files">
          
<folder name="Redstor Online Backup">
              
 <folder name="Backup Client SE">
                    <folder name="SIMSBackups" select="include"/>
                    <folder name="FMSBackups" select="include"/>
                    <folder name="DiscoverBackups" select="include"/>
                </folder>
          </folder>
     </folder>
     <folder name="Sims" select="include"/>
     <folder name="DOCSTORAGE" select="include"/>
     
<folder name="scan" select="include"/>
  </volume>
</selection>

Backupset.xml Example 2:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<selection guid="00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000" lastbackup="2014-01-23 09:48:54 GMT" origin="user" version="6.0">
  <schedule>
     <daily enabled="false">19h00</daily>
     <advanced enabled="false"/>
  </schedule>
  <volume name="C:\">
     
<folder name="Program Files">
          
<folder name="Redstor Online Backup">
              
 <folder name="Backup Client SE">
                    <folder name="SIMSBackups" select="include"/>
                    <folder name="FMSBackups" select="include"/>
                    <folder name="DiscoverBackups" select="include"/>
                </folder>
          </folder>
     </folder>
     <folder name="SIMS" select="include"/>
     <folder name="DOCSTORAGE" select="include"/>
     
<folder name="scan" select="include"/>
  </volume>
</selection>

  • Save and close the backupset.xml file.
  • Restart the Attix5 Pro service and reopen the GUI.
  • The selection should now be displayed correctly.

Note: The same issue may apply to other folders used by the SIMS plugin, but can be resolved in the same way.

Article ID: 246
Last updated: 14 Mar, 2016
Revision: 7
Views: 24914
Comments: 0
Posted: 23 Jan, 2014 by Van Rensburg J.
Updated: 14 Mar, 2016 by Du Plessis S.
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Article 243 - ReFS support for System State Backups on Win Server 2012     Article 249 - Server Edition on Unix and SAMBA - skipped files