Automated Nightly Backups

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I have set up automated backups using sqlcmd and Task Scheduler running a stored proc as per the instructions from the Microsoft site for an SQL Express database. Works fine. File size is almost to the byte of the official Front Desk backup. I just want to confirm though that there is nothing special about the Front Desk backups - i.e. can I just restore an SQL Server .bak file which is a backup of the FRONT_DESK database?

Secondly, the database is now over 5GB and we have a 10GB limit on Express 2012 databases so what options are available if that limit is hit? I assume you would recommend purchasing a version of SQL Server with sufficient CALs/cores licensed etc - obviously that is not cheap. What about hosting the database in Azure? The cost of an Azure SQL Database (with limits in hundreds of GB) is a lot less. Obviously latency issues if client running from workstations in the office, but we could run a test and see if its acceptable with NBN. Perhaps could have another Azure instance for the purpose of remote desktop to and the client Front Desk itself also is run from Azure but then have issues with payment system getting access ... well it could actually access it fine if manage the firewall ... anyhow only thinking out loud - have you anything to suggest for if start getting close to the limit?
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Posted 2 years ago

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Timothy, Business Care Manager

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Hi Joel. You can create a valid Front Desk backup outside of the application, though you will require our assistance when restoring the database as Front Desk requires specific user rights to access the data, which we can't make public for security reasons.

If you wish to backup Front Desk externally, we recommend that you use the free Front Desk backup utility, which can also be run by Task Scheduler. If you use the /s command, this will run the utility silently in the background. Backups created with this utility can be restored using the in-built restore feature in Front Desk. This utility can be downloaded here.

In relation to the 10GB Microsoft SQL Express database size limit, exceeding this limit only affects a small percentage of the userbase (<1%). This issue can occur if you are storing large attachments such as unoptimised scanned documents, images or videos. We have many large practices and long-term users of the product that do not reach this limit due to proper management of attachments being added to Front Desk. Should you have this issue, Front Desk will display warning messages as you approach this limit. There are several solutions we can provide at that time, such as storing patient file attachment data external to the database. As you're at 5GB, I wouldn't be too concerned at this stage, but you may want to review the types of attachments you're adding to Front Desk.