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Your OutSystems backups are only as good as your restores

January 6, 2021

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– Meet Infosistema Data Migration Manager, a Low-Code, OutSystems solution –

 

A New Era of Data

All major businesses depend on data for their operations. We are in the “data is key” age (1), be it for core business needs, increased competitiveness, improved business performance, or even to help us imagine a post-pandemic world (2).

 

Key Assets Like Data Must Be Protected

If everybody says that data is the new oil (3), then intuitively data protection becomes ever more relevant for business operations.

Protect your data from:

a) Cyberattacks
Viruses, ransomware, and all kinds of cyberattacks are consistently on the rise (4), with a new attack taking place every 39 seconds (5)(6). So, it’s not a question of if you’ll be attacked, but when!

b) Physical disasters
Physical disasters have the power to completely wipe out all of your data and make the recovery process practically impossible. Tornados, floods, fires, and other natural disasters are increasing in frequency due to climate change and present huge potential economic impacts (7)(8).

c) Theft & sabotage
Data protection helps keep disgruntled employees deleting data on their way out, or just plain stealing it. Biscom (9) found that 85% of employees have admitted to taking information and company documents they created, with 30% admitting to doing the same with information that they did not develop.
When employees are fired or laid off, 20% said they would be more likely to take data due to the anger they are experiencing—so they are often trying to hurt the business. That means that if you do not have that data backed up, it could be deleted permanently from your system (10).

d) Recovery from simple mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes be it accidentally permanently deleting a folder or several records, running a script in the wrong database, or a simple cup of coffee frying a hard drive in seconds.
How fast you will be able to recover and avoid doing the work twice will mean a huge difference in time and money for the business!

Guarantee access to on-time data restoration provides significant competitive advantages that other businesses will likely lack.

More than 20% of businesses that experience data loss or suffer a cyberattack lose customers as well. 40% of those companies lose more than 20% of their customers (11).

A 2007 University of Texas study (12) showed that 43% of businesses that suffer major data loss never reopen. Many of these companies end up closing their doors for good within two years of a major data loss (13).

When disaster strikes, you want to be the first business to be available to your customers and to be open to cater to clients of those other businesses that did not overcome their data problems.

Also, there are often regulatory compliance issues your company may have to comply with—the regulators will probably care if you lose vital data, sometimes implying heavy fines (14)!
When it comes to backups, being overly cautious is in the job description (15)!

 

Low-Code OutSystems Platform

When we are looking into a low-code platform like OutSystems, a couple of key vectors are relevant:

i) You can have your OutSystems platform installed either under your full control (let us name these OnPrem, although you may already have your infrastructure fully in the Cloud) or using the OutSystems PaaS infrastructure.

ii) Being a low-code platform with a great DevOps Service Center, each OutSystems installation has a metadata layer that abstracts your database, to allow for the visual low-code programming and deployment/governance of the solutions developed on the platform.

Due to installation dependencies, the typical ways to backup information in OutSystems is to either:

  • do a full database backup, or
  • perform data extraction through information knowledge present in the metadata layer, a process that must also include the verification of data consistency when you restore the information.

The existence of the metadata layer coupled with the information needed for the correct functioning of the OutSystems Service Center (the DevOps platform) means that using a standard ETL tool to export and import data is not possible, or at least is several orders of magnitude harder to deploy and requires a deep knowledge of how OutSystems metadata is defined, used, and stored.

The option of a full database backup is probably already in your IT DRP scope, but:

  • How long does it take you to perform each backup and are you able to do it while the apps are online without performance issues?
  • How often can you perform backups?
  • Is it acceptable for you to lose all data since the last backup?
  • Do you need to store all the database data (e.g., old logs, large binaries) or just some critical business or compliance information?
  • Do you need to backup all applications and information data you have in OutSystems with the same frequency?
  • Does all application data have the same relevance and importance to the business so as to mandate a full 3-2-1 rule (16)?
  • How long will it take to restore the full database, and will the applications be available during that time?
  • Can you easily check the consistency of full database backups and confirm that they are not corrupted?

These questions and being able to solve the issues they pose may lead you to search for another backup solution for OutSystems or a complementary solution to the standard run-of-the-mill daily full database backups.

 

Data Migration Manager (DMM) for OutSystems

DMM brings a set of useful tools into your OutSystems operations while maintaining a low-code, high usability fast deployment (17) interface:

DMM
Hard to Do in Low-Code OutSystems PlatformDMM Offers Out-of-the-Box
Know the database relations between physical table names and logical business entitiesAutomatic detection and behind the scenes automatic script building
Filter for specific data of some entities instead of backing up everythingAny field of an entity can be used has a filter
Guarantee data consistency even when data relations are defined in the metadata/business layer instead of the database levelAutomatic dependency detection, with the full support of static entities, user and groups synchronization, circular dependency resolution, and BLOB support
Adaptation of backup scripts to the low-code, fast development cycles of OutSystemsVisual configuration interface, where a backup/Data Export can be configured in under 60 seconds and is easy to maintain since previous configurations can be saved to be edited later on
Live, new instances or storageMigrate data to an OS instance, or export data into text files for later import as needed

See (18) for a full list of features

 

DMM Client Feedback

Data Migration Manager (DMM) for OutSystems (19) is a field-proven solution that has been used for years to help in all kinds of data management and data governance needs (20) by OutSystems clients and IT consulting companies.

Being continuously improved with new functionalities, and with an extensive global DMM Partner Distribution network (21), I will let our clients speak for themselves (22):

“It is almost mandatory to use DMM for the OutSystems projects you’re working on, since you will need to migrate data in all stages of the process, from testing to production!" – Marc Sibeijn, Project Manager, Eneco

“It would be very costly and time-consuming to solve the problem by ourselves and still we wouldn’t be able to get such a complete and maintainable solution as DMM." – John Suijker, Practice Lead, GarantiBank International NV

“We gained the ability to very easily synchronize our environments without spending our own time building the scripts.” – Mick Drevyanko, IT Director, Port of Hampton Roads

“I was amazed when DMM successfully migrated 5GB of data in 4:02 minutes!" – Menno Hoogsteen, Valuga (working at Eneco)

“DMM was the key to success of the stack Java to .Net migration project, in which we had to migrate data of several environments (Cloud & OnPrem; >100GB of data migrated)”
– Miguel Anselmo, Theros Digital

“What delighted me about the DMM tool was how easy it was to migrate data from the production environment to other environments with complete security and great speed.”
– Luiz Costa, Head of Services at TrueChange

—————
References:
(1) https://www.dataversity.net/data-the-key-to-powering-the-age-of-enlightenment/
(2) https://www.information-age.com/data-key-understanding-demand-post-lockdown-world-123489725/
(3) https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/11/15/data-is-the-new-oil-and-thats-a-good-thing/?sh=3363143f7304
(4) https://securityintelligence.com/posts/ransomware-2020-attack-trends-new-techniques-affecting-organizations-worldwide/
(5) https://learn.g2.com/what-is-backup
(6) https://phys.org/news/2017-07-global-ransomware-europol.html
(7) https://www.pnas.org/content/116/43/21450
(8) https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-can-climate-change-affect-natural-disasters-1?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products
(9) https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/272319
(10) https://www.hubstor.net/blog/6-reasons-must-data-backup-recovery-company/
(11) https://www.acronis.com/en-eu/articles/data-backup-for-business/
(12) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2007-09-02/data-lost-data-found
(13) https://blog.storagecraft.com/top-five-reasons-to-back-up-your-data/
(14) https://www.statista.com/statistics/1170520/worldwide-data-breach-fines-settlements/
(15) https://tldp.org/LDP/sag/html/backups.html
(16) https://www.backblaze.com/blog/the-3-2-1-backup-strategy/
(17) https://www.outsystems.com/forge/component-overview/2812/infosistema-dmm
(18) https://www.infosistema.com/dmm-data-migration-manager/dmm-features/
(19) https://www.infosistema.com/outsystems-data-migration/
(20) https://www.infosistema.com/dmm-data-migration-manager/use-cases/
(21) https://www.infosistema.com/dmm-data-migration-manager/dmm-partners/
(22) https://www.outsystems.com/forge/Component_Reviews.aspx?ProjectId=2812

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