Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions: M-Files Server Administrator
Migrating a Firebird vault into MS SQL vault - how long does it take? Are there risks?
Posted by Sakari Heinonen (M-Files) on 15 March 2019 09:25 AM

1     Overview / Work Notes

As informed in other support articles and M-Files documentation, the M-Filed default Firebird database engine is only intended for small vaults (metadata size of about 1 GB) and for larger vaults the database engine that M-Files supports is MS SQL and its various editions. The procedure of transferring data from Firebird database to MS SQL database is called "migration".

This often raises questions on how long does it take and what kind of risks might be involved.

2     Solution / Workaround

The migration usually takes about half an hour to an hour, but for larger databases, it could take several. On some occasions, the migration has also failed due to underlying issues in the vault database itself. The migration can be tested rather easily though: While the production database is running (a short service break is needed) to ensure the migration, when done for real, should go smoothly.

  1. Create a directory to a local drive of the server, for example c:\testvault and under there create directories metadata and filedata
  2. Take the production vault offline
  3. Copy, from the production vault directory structure, metadata.fdb and filedata.id, to corresponding locations into the directory hierarchy you created in step 1
  4. Bring the production vault online
  5. Attach the copied vault using a new GUID to M-Files, defining the filedata location (which must point to c:\testvault)
  6. Migrate this vault, ensuring you set the filedata to be stored on disk

You can measure the time it took for the migration to finish as well as to ensure that it succeeded. Note that the test vault does not have any filedata so you cannot access any of the files via it.

  1. Destroy the test vault - you CANNOT use it for the actual migration.

Note that as the production vault can change after this migration test, the test does not absolutely guarantee a successful migration. As always, prior to the actual migration, make sure you have a backup and you have tested that the backup works by restoring it, again using a different GUID.

Finally, after the migration, be sure to adjust your backups. M-Files internal backup works for Firebird vaults only. Please see M-Files backup policy in our KB M-Files Backup Policy and the related chapter in the User guide and a support article here here.

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