Disaster Recovery Manual

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Written by Justin Guerber

© Signature Systems 2009

Updated: March 3, 2010



The Comet Backup and Disaster Recovery plan uses Comet Anywhere technology to duplicate your existing comet data and programs on a remote server - providing a redundant system that can be initialized quickly in case of a disaster. By making automated periodic updates to the remote server, you are insured that if something happens to your local system, there is an up-to-date and physically distinct system capable of resuming normal business operation with minimal downtime.

How it works

You are provided with two accounts on the Comet Backup server (a backup account and a maintenance account). On a periodic (generally nightly) basis, any files that have been changed during the course of the day will be zipped up and transfered to the Comet Backup server using the backup account. These files are then unzipped into your account's remote directory. By logging into your maintenance account, you can check to make sure that the update was successful, and that the remote data matches your own.

In the event of a disaster, you provide Signature Systems with a list of user accounts and passwords you need to run your comet programs. We will initialize these accounts and you will have total access to your comet programs and data - enabling you to resume business operations.

Installation Guide

  1. Provide Signature Systems with the information specified in the Disaster Recovery Customer Information form; be sure that all directories are under a single parent directory/disk drive.

  2. Ensure that you have Winzip 12 with the command-line addon installed and registered on the backup computer (newer versions will most likely work, but have not been tested) Download links: winzip 12 and command-line addon

    Once you have received confirmation that your account has been activated and is ready for use:

  3. From the machine that will be performing the Comet Backup processing, log into the Comet Backup server using Comet Anywhere. Run comet with the following argument: "path\to\comet.exe /net:cc.signature.net" and log in with the backup account username and password.
    NOTE: It is important you do this from the correct physical server with the BACKUP account, as the preceding process will establish the CAID for this account. If you log in from another computer and mistakenly establish another CAID, please contact Signature Systems so that we can reset it for you)

  4. Download the Visual Basic script. Place it in your comet directory with the "comet.exe" executable. Optionally, run the script with the "/full_backup" argument (and any other options required, described in the Comet Backup Script section). This will create the initial zip file (which should contain all of your comet data and programs), it will take a while to zip and transfer. You can skip this step if you want to do it later or if you want to leave it up to yoru scheduled task to perform.

  5. Set up a "Scheduled Task" in Windows to run the Visual Basic Script periodically (we recommend nightly), and set the "Start in" directory to the parent folder containing the directories to be transferred. The Comet Backup script can be run with certain arguments, in order to provide some customization options - see the Comet Backup Script section for details.
    NOTE: Refer to the following pages for details on scheduling tasks in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Vista.

  6. Once the transfer is complete, log in with your maintenance account and ensure that the programs and data are present and intact.

Comet Backup Script Manual

The Comet Backup script is actually a combination of a Visual Basic script that lives in your local comet directory (with comet.exe), and an Internet Basic program that resides on the Comet Backup Server. The Visual Basic script is responsible for parsing any arguments provided and ensuring they are valid. The Comet Backup script can be run with the following options (remember that any relative paths will be based on the "Start in" directory specified in the Task Scheduler - it is generally advised to use absolute paths):

The backup script makes use of some temporary files upon execution. Most of the time the default temp folder is fine (specified by your version of windows - generally "userxxx\AppData\Local\Temp"). This option allows you to specify a specific folder to hold any generated temp files.

This is a simple flag that specifies whether to date/timestamp the zip file that was generated so as to keep a local copy on your server. Otherwise the script will always generate the zip file with the same filename (and hence overwrite it each time the script is run).

This option tells the script to skip the zip file generation and start the script by transferring the specified archive. This is useful in case your zip file was generated, but for some reason could not be transferred to the Comet Backup Server at the time.
NOTE: be careful, this option will not check whether the zip file is the correct one! Any zip file you transfer will be unpacked on the Comet Backup server, regardless of which files are contained.

This option tells the script to look for the comet executable (comet.exe) in a location other than the folder containing the Visual Basic script. We recommend that you group the script and the comet executable in the same folder.

If the winzip or the command-line add-on have been installed in a non-default location (somewhere other than "C:\program files\winzip\"), use this option to specify where the "wzzip.exe" file can be found.

The default script behavior creates an incremental backup, zipping all specified files only if they have been modified since the last backup. Specifying this option forces the script to zip ALL files regardless of the modified date/time, creating a snapshot of your comet data. It is generally a good idea to do a full backup occasionally to ensure you have a complete snapshot of your data, but it will both increase the script running time as well as exceed the bandwidth limit if done too often.

If these options do not provide enough customization options for your setup, please let us know what conflicts you have, and we will try to provide a solution.

Known Issues (We're working on these...)

As of now there are no known issues! Yay! Please let us know if you find any...

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