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This information is intended for Enterprise Edition customers.

Standard Edition and Premium Edition include Third Light managed backups for disaster recovery.


Protecting your data is central to Digital Asset Management, so reliable backups are a must-have. This article discusses some of the ways in which a Third Light IMS system can be backed up, and their respective strengths and requirements.

For many organisations, DAM represents a significant proportion of total storage usage, so even when there is a central backup system in place, it can be worth considering alternative approaches.

IMS Synchronisation module

The IMS Synchronisation module is Third Light's recommended backup system. It is available for both self-hosted and Third Light hosted Enterprise Edition systems.


  • Disaster Recovery - There is always a full backup ready to restore if necessary
  • Business Continuity - The backup system can take over and run IMS, with a single command
  • Data Protection - Daily rollback points make it possible to recover deleted files.
  • Supports geographic redundancy - Backup can be performed over the internet


  • An IMS Synchronisation licence
  • A second server/VM, with:
    • At least as much disk capacity as the primary (10% extra recommended)
    • Intel Xeon 5500 series processor or better

How it works

Unlike traditional backup software (often designed around tape), there are no full plus incremental schedules to manage - so (apart from the initial setup) you never need to copy all the data again.

Each day, the new and changed files are transferred from the primary to the backup server. The backup server uses these to update the full backup, and create a reverse-delta - a rollback file that can be applied to go back to older versions. Since there is always a recent full backup, you can be confident of being able to restore it - by contrast a traditional system depends on a contiguous set of valid incremental backups (hence the need for fairly frequent bandwidth-hogging full backups). The rollbacks behave much like incremental backups - you need to have all the rollbacks between now and the time you want to go back to - but since it is much more unusual to want to go back more than a few days (or even at all), you are much less exposed to the risk. Furthermore, the backup server will create the rollback file first (before updating the current backup) - so in the event of a full disk, you don't lose the last good backup.

The rollback files are not designed to restore single files; they are intended to take the whole system back to an earlier state. It is possible to use this to recover a set of deleted files, to then re-import them, but this is a manual process.

When the backup process runs, it takes a snapshot of the database on the primary server - this freezes that database for a few seconds, so users accessing it may notice a brief pause - but does not cause downtime, and is independent of the time to transfer data over the network.

Provided there is enough bandwidth to copy the average daily changes within 24 hours (after compression), this system can be used - it doesn't matter if occasionally a single backup takes longer than this. It also supports bandwidth throttling, so you can prevent it from impacting on other network use.

When both systems are hosted by Third Light, the management, maintenance and failover will be undertaken and supported by us. For other systems, this method is covered by support.

Third Light Hosted backups

This service is only available for systems hosted by Third Light i.e. Standard and Premium Editions.


  • Disaster recovery - There is always a full backup ready to restore if necessary
  • Geographically redundant - A copy of the backup will be stored in two separate physical locations
  • Managed and supported by Third Light
  • No additional hardware needed


  • The IMS server must be hosted by Third Light

How it works

A Third Light backup server in the same location as your IMS server will perform a daily differential backup, to keep a current full copy of your data. This will be replicated to a second Third Light backup server in a different location.

In the event of a failure, once new hardware can be provisioned, the backup will be restored to it, and IMS service resumed.

These backups are for Disaster Recovery only. It is not possible to restore single files, or to take the site back to a state older than the current backup.

This is a managed service, so you do not need to do anything.

Hypervisor backups

This is only available for self-hosted Enterprise systems.


  • Platform dependent
  • Full-system restore
  • Same process as other VMs


  • A virtualisation platform with configured backups
  • IMS installed in a VM on the platform
  • All IMS data on the platform
  • Enough backup capacity to include IMS

How it works

If you have a virtualisation platform, you probably have an existing mechanism to back up the virtual machines that run on it. As this backup takes place outside the VM itself, there is usually no need to install additional software in the VM, or to make any configuration changes.

This requires that all the data stored in IMS is in virtual disks managed by the VM platform - if a separate NAS/SAN mount is in use, the hypervisor will not be able to back up or restore it. The key advantage is that the whole platform can be backed up and restored in the same way, with all state, so once restored a VM can simply be started again.

Manual backups

This is only available for self-hosted Enterprise systems.


  • Disaster recovery
  • No additional cost from Third Light


  • Not available for Third Light hosted systems
  • Linux administrator skills
  • A POSIX filesystem, accessible from the IMS server, with enough free space.

How it works

As this is a self-managed system, there are a number of possibilities. Typically, though, it will involve either a second server or NAS device, and a scheduled task to copy data from IMS. Some possible implementations are discussed in the technical pages below this article.

In the event of a failure, once you have new hardware in place, you restore data from the backup. Included in that is a script that can be used to reconfigure IMS on the new system.

Backing up and restoring the data itself is not supported by Third Light. Once data has been restored, the process of getting IMS working again is supported.

Third Party backup solutions

This is only available for self-hosted Enterprise systems.


  • Vendor dependent, but typically Disaster Recovery and data protection.
  • No additional cost from Third Light (there may be additional costs from the backup vendor)


  • A backup system with support for Debian 7
  • Sufficient backup system capacity
  • Adequate network bandwidth (typically enough for a weekly full backup)

How it works

The details depend on the backup system in use. Typically, an agent would be installed on the IMS server, and it would interact with the local files and backup server.

In the event of a failure, use the backup vendor tools to restore data. This includes a script that can be used to reconfigure IMS for the new system.

Installing the agent, backing up and restoring the data are not supported by Third Light. Once data has been restored, the process of getting IMS working again is supported.


For implementation and usage guides, please see the following pages:

Recovery of individual files

Recycle bins provide an opportunity to recover accidentally deleted files before they are permanently removed. Items will  remain in the recycle bin for the period you define on the Configuration > Site Options > Recycle Bins page.

An administrator can inspect files stored in the recycle bins of individual users from the Tools > Recycle Bins page.

The Reporting > Logs > Audit Log page can be used to track down which users have been deleting files.


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