Routine Backups Are Critical
Taking routine backups of the Mitel (ShoreTel) configuration, voicemail greetings and messages are critical in the ability to restore the system after server failure. When speaking about server hardware, it is not if the hardware will fail but when it will fail.
Keep Your Hardware Current And Ensure Complete Backup
Best practices dictate keeping the hardware current. We usually recommend replacing the server at least every three years. Even with new hardware there is still significant risk of failure and all systems should have a plan in place for quickly restoring service. The most critical piece is ensuring that you have a complete backup that can be used to restore the system exactly as it was before the failure. This includes all Auto Attendant greetings, user’s voicemail messages and configuration settings.
Without a proper backup, we may be scrambling to recreate the configuration from scratch and important messages may be lost. That could easily take a full day to reconfigure every setting and every user. That is way too long of an outage for any organization to bear. With the correct backup and a repaired or replacement server, we can restore in minutes instead of hours or days. Not including the repair of the server or operating system, the restore will usually take less than an hour even on large systems with hundreds of users.
Most Mitel (ShoreTel) systems, not installed by us, will either have no backup at all, have only a full server backup or will use ShoreTel’s example backup script.
Obviously having no backup is very dangerous. We sometimes see this in smaller systems without dedicated IT staff and it is usually just a case of misunderstanding who is responsible for it.
Full System Backup
Systems that rely only on a full server backup or snapshots in a virtualized environment can be dangerous as well. This is mainly due to ShoreTel's use of MySQL for configuration and call records databases. These databases need to be dumped to SQL files regularly in order to restore by importing them on a different server. If you only have a full system backup, you will have the bin files that contain the data, but there is no easy way to install those files on a different server. You would be in a difficult situation if there was also an issue with the operating system in your backup.
ShoreTel's Script For Backup
Finally, utilizing Mitel (ShoreTel)'s included sample backup script is undesirable as it will backup many items that are not needed to restore the system from scratch, it will sometimes take considerable time to backup those unnecessary items and will cause a temporary outage as it stops the Mitel (ShoreTel) services before copying the files. If you use Mitel (ShoreTel)'s included script for backup, you will only be able to run it after hours. This of course will not work for a 24 hour operation where the phone system must continuously work.
Making Complex Things Simple
The solution we’ve created in house is relatively simple:
We install a script that does not stop Mitel (ShoreTel) services. It often runs in just a few minutes and can be run while the system is in full operation.
Our script creates the “SQL Dump” of the MySQL databases needed for easy import into a replacement server or after an operating system reinstall.
We also copy all greetings and voice mail messages.
We typically schedule the script to run daily so that in the event of server failure, you will never miss more than a day in configuration settings and messages. The script can be run as often as needed since it runs quickly and does not impact operation.
You will have a folder on the server that will contain everything necessary to completely restore the system. This folder is overwritten each time the script runs with the latest backup.
You will need to use the backup software package of your choice to regularly copy only the contents of that folder to the backup medium in use for your other systems (such as tape storage).
You would usually configure a backup job to run several minutes after the backup script is scheduled.
With the contents of that folder and a repaired or replaced server with a fresh operating system install, we can very quickly restore the system by installing the Mitel (ShoreTel) software, importing the configuration and call records databases and copying the greeting and voice mail messages. Aside from any downtime, your users will not notice the difference as all of their messages and settings will be as they left them.
We would love to setup a session to review your Mitel (ShoreTel) system and ensure that proper backups are being taken and best practices followed.
Let’s come up with a backup and recovery plan together that fits your system and needs.
Give us a call at 1-866-510-8547 or click the button below to contact us!