Altium NEXUS Documentation

Backing up Altium NEXUS Server with an Oracle Backend

Created: June 3, 2021 | Updated: June 3, 2021

Parent page: Altium NEXUS Server with Oracle Backend

This document is intended for an IT administrator who is backing up the Altium NEXUS Server when using an Oracle Database Backend. It contains details about the Altium NEXUS Server, its backup procedure within the context of using Oracle, important information on system requirements, as well as an example.

To follow this guide, you should have a general understanding of Oracle database concepts and the Windows operating system environment.

Backup Process Overview

Backing-up the Altium NEXUS Server when using an Oracle backend depends on how your company manages its Oracle Databases. Some companies run Oracle Databases on top of Windows Server Operating Systems, while others have entire Oracle datacenters. The backup process typically involves three steps, as illustrated in the following image.

It is important that the steps be followed in the order they are presented.

High level overview of the Altium NEXUS Server and Oracle database backup procedure.High level overview of the Altium NEXUS Server and Oracle database backup procedure.

Assumptions made throughout this Document

  1. An IT admin performs the installation. At a very minimum, the user performing NEXUS Server installation should have administrative rights to the host machine.
  2. The Oracle Schema and Oracle application credentials used on the source and destination Oracle servers must be the same.

High-level Overview of the Altium NEXUS Server Architecture

Similar to other software designed to run on Microsoft Windows, the Altium NEXUS Server is a multi-threaded, multi-service server application. Since this document solely focuses on parts of the Altium NEXUS Server that may interact with an Oracle Database, the following image is simplified to represent the overall Altium NEXUS Server Backend Architecture.

High level overview of the Altium NEXUS Server architecture. The Backend Storages of Altium NEXUS Server contains most of the customer binary data, while the Windows Services is a collection of supporting services.High level overview of the Altium NEXUS Server architecture. The Backend Storages of Altium NEXUS Server contains most of the customer binary data, while the Windows Services is a collection of supporting services.

This document focuses on the Backend Storages since the data within this block is what gets backed up, potentially migrated to another machine, then restored either on the same or different machine. Within the Backend Storages, the following items can be found:

  • Databases – contains metadata such as component footprint and schematic symbol association, parameters, file paths, links to component supply chain data sources and more. This information could reside inside a Firebird or Oracle database.
  • File Storage – this File Storage area holds binary data inside the NEXUS Server’s VCS repository. This binary data includes information such as PCB and Schematic Project documents, footprints, symbols, Draftsman and other native or non-native NEXUS Server documents.

High-level Overview of the Altium Backup Tool

The Altium backup tool is called avbackup.exe. This is a command line utility that IT administrators can execute to backup their Altium NEXUS Server data. avbackup.exe is the same utility used for backup purposes when the Altium NEXUS Server is configured with a default Firebird database backend, or when using the Oracle database as a backend.

When using avbackup.exe on a NEXUS Server implementation that uses an Oracle Database, administrators should be mindful of the following:

  1. avbackup.exe does NOT support backing up your Oracle Database. This feature only works on Altium NEXUS Server implementations using a Firebird database backend that was originally auto-configured by the Altium NEXUS Server Installer.
  2. avbackup.exe will generate a Zip file containing all NEXUS Server binary data.
  3. avbackup.exe will automatically shut down all Altium NEXUS Server services (including IIS services) during data backup, then restart all services it shut down, after a successful backup.

Example Backup of NEXUS Server with Oracle backend on the Windows Platform

In this example, the instructions also cater to smaller businesses who may not have a dedicated Oracle DBA, but still have the need to backup their NEXUS Server and associated Oracle data on their network. The following steps show how a basic backup of Altium NEXUS Server and Oracle 11G Express can be performed.

When using Altium NEXUS with Oracle as the backend database, the server that is integral to the deployed NEXUS solution supports the following versions of Oracle: 11G Express, 12.1c, and 19c. Note that version 18c is not currently supported.
Alternatively, more advanced IT administrators can write batch files that automatically perform the following procedure.

Required Items

  • Backup folders – folders where you plan to store Altium NEXUS Server and Oracle data need to already exist.
  • Admin access to the Altium NEXUS Server Host machine. This is required to properly run the Altium NEXUS Server backup Command utility (avbackup.exe).
  • Appropriate DBA access to the Oracle server (i.e. Add user’s Windows account to DBA role in Windows environment).

Backup Procedure

  1. On the Altium NEXUS Server Host machine:
    1. Create a backup folder (it helps to have common file paths, for example: C:\Backups).
    2. Backup your Altium NEXUS Server data by running the avbackup.exe tool as Admin. The tool is located in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\Tools\BackupTool folder.
For more information on how to use the backup tool, see Backing up Your Altium NEXUS Server with an Oracle Backend.

Example backup commands:

  • Command line to navigate to the backup tool directory: cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\Tools\BackupTool\.
  • Command line to backup the Altium NEXUS Server data into the file named 2017_Backup.zip, writing the file to the folder C:\Backups: avbackup backup -z "C:\Backups\2017_Backup.zip" -i "C:\Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\LocalVault.ini".
  1. On the Oracle Database Server Host machine:
    1. Create a backup folder (it helps to have common file paths, for example: C:\Backups).
    2. Backup your Oracle data (this section assumes that the user account and schemas are both named ANSUSER313 and have password Altium):
      1. Launch a command prompt with Admin privileges.
      2. Stop IIS Servers using command: net stop WAS.
      3. Temporarily elevate involved schema to DBA status before backup.
      4. Backup/Export the schema associated with the Altium NEXUS Server. An example of an export command is:

exp ANSUSER313/Altium@xe owner=ANSUSER313 file=c:\Backups\ANSUSER313.dmp log=c:\Backups\ANSUSER313_export.log statistics=none

where,

ANSUSER313 – user that has full privileges on scheme and rights to access the DB.

Altium – password for Oracle user account associated with the Altium NEXUS Server.

xe – network service name of target DB contained in tnsnames.ora.

owner = ANSUSER313 – name of the schema.

file = c:\Backups\ANSUSER313.dmp – backup location.

log = c:\Backups\ANSUSER313_export.log – backup log (optional).

Conclusion

Although the aforementioned example includes additional details pertaining to the handling of an Oracle Database, there are only three key steps to backing up your Altium NEXUS Server data:

  1. Step 1 is to stop the IIS services and NEXUS Server IIS Application Pools.
  2. Step 2 is to backup the Altium NEXUS Server data.
  3. Step 3 is to backup the Oracle data associated with the Altium NEXUS Server.

Performing this procedure in the order described greatly reduces the likelihood of data corruption due to Oracle database and NEXUS Server binary data mismatch.

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