Developing a Backup Strategy

A Final Cut Server system is comprised of a lot of files stored on a variety of computers and devices. Backing up an entire Final Cut Server system can be challenging, especially when you consider the potentially large file sizes you may have to deal with. Things to consider include backing up devices, backing up the Final Cut Server catalog, and restoring the Final Cut Server catalog.

About Backing Up Devices

Backing up assets on your devices is straightforward. You can use any current backup system to make copies of the assets. If you back up your devices, as well as your Final Cut Server catalog, it is a good idea to back them up at the same time. This ensures that the data in the catalog’s backup matches the assets in the device backups.

It is especially important to back up your Proxies and Version devices when you back up your Final Cut Server catalog. Both of these devices contain special assets used by Final Cut Server and both use the Contentbase file system. A suggested backup strategy is to back up the Final Cut Server catalog and place its backup file on the same volume as the Proxies and Version devices. As soon as the catalog is backed up, you can then back up it and the two devices at the same time using your normal backup procedures.

About Backing Up the Final Cut Server Catalog

Backing up your Final Cut Server catalog actually entails much more than just a file or two. For that reason, Final Cut Server includes a backup feature that automates the backup process.

The result of backing up your Final Cut Server catalog is a .zip file that contains a snapshot of all aspects of your Final Cut Server catalog. This snapshot includes:

  • All groups and their permissions

  • All metadata for all assets and projects

  • All automations, regardless of whether they were created with Automation Setup Assistant or the client’s Administration window

  • A list of all devices and their settings, regardless of whether they were created with Device Setup Assistant or the client’s Administration window

  • All log and job history entries

  • All preference settings

The goal of backing up your Final Cut Server catalog is to be able to return to a known state should there be a catastrophic failure, such as a hard disk failure. Following is an example of the steps you could take to recover from a hard disk failure on your server computer.

  1. Stage 1: Reinstalling Mac OS X on the Computer

    The first step toward recovering from a hard disk failure is to reinstall the Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server operating system.

  2. Stage 2: Configuring Your Groups as They Were Previously

    Once restored, Final Cut Server will expect the same groups to be available that were in use previously.

  3. Stage 3: Restoring Your Proxy and Version Files

    If you backed up the proxy and version files at the same time that you last backed up the Final Cut Server catalog (as suggested previously), you need to restore these files. These must appear exactly as they did when you last backed up Final Cut Server, in exactly the same folder location relative to the hard disk’s root folder. Final Cut Server automatically reconnects to these files when its catalog is restored.

  4. Stage 4: Installing Final Cut Server

    You need to reinstall Final Cut Server from the original installation disc. Any settings you configure during the installation process, such as the location for the proxy server, are changed back to the previously backed up settings when you restore the Final Cut Server catalog.

    Important: The backup files are specific to the version of Final Cut Server being used when the files are saved. Before you can restore a backup file, you must make sure that the Final Cut Server version is exactly the same as when the backup file was created. This may mean using Software Update after installing Final Cut Server from your original installation disc.

    Be sure to deselect the “Catalog Media device automatically” item in the Final Cut Server Installer’s “Settings for Profile” pane to ensure that no automations begin running while you are in the process of restoring your catalog. See the Final Cut Server Setup Guide for more information.

  5. Stage 5: Restoring the Previous Final Cut Server Catalog

    When the Final Cut Server installation is finished, you can click the Restore button in the Backup pane of Final Cut Server System Preferences. This configures Final Cut Server to the same state it was in during that backup process.

    Note: You may need to reset network passwords for devices that require them.