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Refresh live to development CMS

This article will take you through the process of safely refreshing your development (or test) CMS from your live CMS. We recommend that you refresh regularly to keep your content and versions of Contensis synchronised. How often you need to perform this maintenance task will depend on how much development work you do on your development CMS. 

Note: We strongly advise that your development (or test) CMS is upgraded to the same version of Contensis as your live CMS before a refresh.

  1. Take a backup/snapshot of the relevant servers. You will need a SQL backup generated from the LIVE CMS DB. If you opt to take a snapshot of the DEV SQL server you will need to make sure Quiesce guest file system is ticked before doing so.
  2. Take screenshot backups of the following on the DEV server: 
  • Global settings (all pages)
  • Live and Preview publishing server settings
  • Live and Preview publishing server CMS config
  • Live and Preview publishing server Web config
  • All databases in SiteElements directory
  • Crawl manager (if present on the server) for QA purposes
  • The current dev version and current live version numbers
  1. Transfer the LIVE CMS DB backup we took earlier to the the DEV SQL server (we use vcenter for this internally and disk swapping).
  2. Log into the SQL admin account and delete the existing CMS DEV DB (make sure Close existing connections is clicked or it will fail). You might want to take a copy of the DB name for later but you can also find this in ContensisSettings.xml file on the server in the ProgramData directory.
  3. Now that the existing DB has been deleted you can restore the LIVE CMS DB backup in it’s place using the same name we just copied.
  4. Once the restore is complete - we need to restore the settings we backed up in step 2. This is so Contensis isn’t pointing to your live servers as this can cause critical complications such as content disappearing.
  5. You will also need to update the global settings through the DB to list the correct CMS URL as it will be currently listing the live one. Use the following SQL:

To see which ID’s etc you need to update:

    • Select * from GL_GlobalSettings (this is the update query - the URL will need to be in single quotes as below)
    • Update gl_globalsettings
    • Set gl_charValue = '***URL OF DEV CMS***’'
    • Where gl_id = ***ID OF THE COLUMN FOR THE URL***
  1. After all settings have been changed and the refresh is complete, you should run individual publishing server tests to make sure they are functioning as intended. Once complete run a system diagnostic test too.

Common issues

Can’t log in

Database does not exist: Cannot connect to the database

Once you have restored the db you will need to map DB OWNER permissions for the user under Security in management studio so that Contensis can load in browser. You might need to recycle the app pool or clear your browser cache after changing these settings.

Database does not exist: Cannot connect to the database

If you are still getting this error, please retrace the obvious steps such as ContensisSettings.xml details being correct for the new database. Database name matching etc. You might need to recycle the app pool or clear your browser cache after changing these settings.

Typical functionality isn’t working

Services are failing

This could be down to a few possible reasons:

  • The services are not on the correct version, you will need to run the Contensis Install Manager for the version you restored to.
  • They simply need the registration resetting - select all services and click reset.
  • They require resetting on the server under services.msc

Content missing from site or failing to load causing object reference errors

Make sure the web config was switched over correctly and published out successfully. This may mean logging into the Web server and checking the last update time of the web config. The Web config on the server is located at the root of the site. If this isn’t updating then it can cause reference errors.

Content isn’t publishing

Make sure your services are on the correct version of Contensis after the refresh and are started on the application server.

Make sure your ftp settings are correct for both publishing servers for both webservers.