FileCabinet CS data migration guide for Virtual Office CS and Software as a Service

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This guide outlines the best practices for migrating FileCabinet CS data to the Virtual Office CS or SaaS environment, which will help ensure a smooth transition by preparing your firm for the process.

Planning to migrate data

It is important to prepare and set a plan for moving data to avoid any downtime. After the local data is backed up by your firm and ready to migrate to the Virtual Office CS or SaaS environment, documents added to FileCabinet CS on the local environment would not be included in the migration process. These documents and/or drawers would need to be migrated again to include the new documents in the Virtual Office CS or SaaS environment. Planning a time to move the data while the firm is not saving documents to FileCabinet CS will save time with this process.

Tax and accounting deadlines also need to be considered while planning a time to migrate data. Make sure you will have enough time to migrate the data, avoid deadlines and give employees time to adjust to the new environment. The programs look and function the same as the local environment, but they open thorough Citrix. Allow time to work out any issues your firm may have with internet connectivity and Citrix.

Project Manager and Tech

Choosing the right Project Manager for the FileCabinet CS migration is an important part of ensuring a successful implementation process for your firm. The Project Manager’s approach to the initial deployment of FileCabinet CS directly impacts the speed of transition, the success of the project, and the benefits your firm will receive. The Product Manager should be familiar with the FileCabinet CS program and be available to communicate with your firm’s tech and available to answer any questions that the staff may have during the transition.

Your firm’s tech should be available to answer any questions about the local environment and location of your previous data.

FileCabinet CS on Virtual Office CS or Software as a Service (SaaS)

When migrating FileCabinet data to the Virtual Office CS or SaaS environment it is helpful to understand how the program and data structure may differ from your local environment. 

In Virtual Office CS or SaaS, FileCabinet CS (and all other applications) run on the Terminal Server you connect to (determined by load balancing) for optimal performance.  You will connect to these servers using Citrix which you must have installed locally on your workstation. When your Citrix session is established, your firm’s data is mapped as your Y:\ drive (located on a separate file server).   

Drives

The contents of Y:\ are similar to the WinCSI directory used in your local environment for CS Professional Suite applications. Additionally there is an OfficeDocs directory intended for storage of non-CS application data. User configurable data is also retained on Y:\ so that it can be temporarily imported into your session on any Terminal Server that you connect to.

Your firm will also have an archive (W:\) drive for storage of older data or data which is not often accessed. This is a lower performance drive relative to Y:\ and is not intended to be used as a live data location.  The W:\ drive is not backed up as often, and is billed at a lesser rate for space usage. For pricing details, log in to NetStaff CS and click the Help menu in the Home Dashboard and choose Pricing information.

The hard drive of your local workstation will be mapped as V:\.

Citrix does not map your local network drives, but in many cases they will still be accessible by manually entering in \\Client\M$\ (Where M represents your local network drive mapped as M:\).

File Locations

Y:\FCabData is your default data location. Additional data locations can nested within this directory upon request. Contact support with the desired data location name to have this directory created with appropriate permissions. You can then add the data location in FileCabinet CS under Setup > System Configuration > Data Locations.

Y:\Fcabsys consists of configuration files for global settings, lock files, user specific preference files, and temp folders for various print jobs and CS Connect transmissions.

There are two designated directories that can be used for FileCabinet CS archived volumes. For more information see Special steps for archiving FileCabinet CS data in Virtual Office CS or SaaS.

  • Y:\Fcabdata\$Archive
  • W:\CABINET_ARCHIVE

Archives should not be created on or accessed from local directories when running FileCabinet CS on Virtual Office CS or SaaS. Doing so may result in slow performance and lost or corrupted data.

Data Location Format

All FileCabinet CS data is stored in flat file format on Virtual Office CS or SaaS.  Individual client backups that are created from FileCabinet CS are format neutral.  If you are using a SQL database format locally with FileCabinet CS, your client data will still be compatible to restore into Virtual Office CS or SaaS as long as you back up each client drawer instead of a full data location backup.  For more information see Backing up drawer data.

Virtual Office CS or SaaS Data Backup Schedule

See Virtual Office CS or SaaS data backup schedule and data retention policies for the complete backup schedule for various drives and data types.

Planning

Data Assessment

It is highly recommended to compact all client drawers prior to backup and migration to Virtual Office CS or SaaS and also prior to any data assessment.  The compact process will result in more efficient use of flat file data by reclaiming unused space.

Note: Compacting is only applicable to flat file data.

Data Location Stats

To run data location stats go to Setup >System Configuration > Data Locations tab and click the Stats button. The data location stats report will help you identify several useful points of information for all data locations or specific data locations.

Note: FileCabinet CS will need to read information for all client drawers in order to produce the stats report. The process of running this report can be time consuming.

Knowing the number of client drawers you have can be important for several reasons.  This information can also be useful in assessing space and planning for growth.  There may be other insights that this can provide such as an indication of how many old or inactive client drawers may be present and if there is an opportunity to archive or purge some of this data.

Understanding average drawer size can be useful in conjunction with your total number of drawers when it comes to planning the number of drawers you will choose to upload/restore in a batch at one time. This information is also helpful when running the Drawer list report which can be sorted by size. Knowing your average drawer size will help you identify larger client drawers that may require additional maintenance or monitoring.

Understanding the total client drawer data size is important for estimating upload/restore times, planning to upload/restore in batches, and also planning for space usage and growth, and data management/maintenance providing for data integrity, performance, and avoidance of space overage fees. The Total size of all data locations (excluding $Archive) will provide a baseline for the amount of data that will be migrated to FileCabinet CS on Virtual Office CS or SaaS using the backup/restore clients process.

Reported size can vary due to the state/integrity of the data in question, the varying amount of overhead and index data, and the potential of nested or shared data that resides in the directories or data objects in question.

It’s important to know that archived data is not backed up with FileCabient CS client drawers and therefore is not committed to the Y:\ drive during the restore process.  Archive data must be moved to Virtual Office CS or SaaS via a copy/paste procedure which will land the data in either Y:\fcabdata\$archive or W:\cabinet_archive.  This will be the users preference or decision based off of space usage assessment. The Total size of all data locations (including $Archive) minus the Total size of all data locations (excluding $Archive) will provide the size of archive data.  Since archive data is never in SQL format, this could also be achieved by browsing to the location of archive volumes in Windows Explorer and checking folder properties.

Space Usage Assessment

Now that you have an understanding of the amount of data which will be migrated to Virtual Office CS or SaaS, it will be important to understand how this applies to space usage and potential space overage fees.  Other data aside from FileCabinet CS must be considered as well, including other CS Professional Suite application data, MS Office data, and data intended for NetClinet CS modules such as File Exchange, and Document Presentation.

Your Firm’s Space Usage Report runs weekly and is available from NetFirm CS Utilities.  Space usage is billed monthly at the “high water mark” meaning the most amount of total space used at any point during the month.  If total space used exceeds your Firm’s allocated space, this will result in space overage fees.  It may be in your firm’s best interest to utilize the W:\ drive where applicable when space used exceeds space allocated. The use of the W:\ drive will still generate fees even if there is unused allocated space on the Y:\ drive. For pricing details, log in to NetStaff CS, click the Help menu in the Home Dashboard, and choose Pricing information.

Calculating Allocated Space

The total of all of these items will be your Firm’s allocated space available.

Estimating upload/restore time

One of the biggest barriers to migrating data to Virtual Office CS or SaaS is simply the time required to upload all of this data over the internet to your Y:\ drive. This is going to be a more time consuming restore process than it would be on a local computer or local network given the relatively limited upload speeds over the internet compared to LAN network speeds. Therefore the speed and stability of uploads through your ISP will be a key factor here.

There are many different sites on the internet that you can use to test your connection speed.  Here is one that we often recommend: http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest. It is the upload speed that should be measured here, since download speed is not relevant to the task of restoring data from your local drive to the data center. Since connection speed fluctuates throughout the day, it is recommended to tests periodically through the day and then average them.

Knowing your upload speed will give you a good baseline to estimate the time it will take to upload a certain amount of data. However, this isn’t just simple math. Your upload speed is constantly fluctuating and there is always a significant amount of bandwidth overhead for header information and other network communications. This means that if you have an upload speed of 6Mbps, your effective upload/restore speed could be only 4Mbps or less.  This is especially true the higher the number of files that need to be uploaded/written to Y:\. (Meaning that it is more efficient to upload a small number of large files, than it would be to upload a significant number of small files totaling that same file size.  More files = more overhead for header information and indexing.)

Note: It’s important to know that upload speed in measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) and not Megabytes per second. There are 8 bits in a single byte. Therefore if your upload speed is 6Mbps, this means that less than 1MB of data can be uploaded per second (about 0.7MB in 1 second). For more information you can use this calculator from DLS Reports: http://www.dslreports.com/calculator.

Many firms will have more FileCabinet CS data than can be uploaded/restored in a single day. The goal here will be to upload drawers in batches such that a significant portion of data can be uploaded during the range of hours that one is willing to monitor the process without carrying on overnight. If the restore process carries on into the small hours it risks being interrupted by the reboot procedures (4am Eastern time) for routine maintenance and updates which is not ideal.

This is where the number of drawers and average drawer size comes into play. Backup a number of drawers that represents a certain amount of data i.e. 5GB or 10GB.  Restore this batch with the assumption that this could take several hours.  Note the amount of time it took to restore, and run the data location stats report in FileCabinet CS on Virtual Office CS or SaaS to see exactly how much data restored in that time.  Use this as a benchmark to determine how long it will take to restore more or less data. The decision to restore more or less data than the test batch will be based on the amount of time it took to restore a test batch of that particular size.

Migration instructions

If you are looking for a simple list of steps to migrate FileCabinet CS data to Virtual Office CS or SaaS, see Migrating FileCabinet CS data to Virtual Office CS or SaaS.

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