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Unity 4.2 upgrade to 7.x

We have one Unity Server running 4.2(1) and plan to upgrade to the latest version of 7.  We also have a new Exhcnage 2007 server.  Our current Unity is not intgrated with Exchange but we plan on integrating it  during our upgrade.  We do not have a new server but we bought hard drives to place in the server to perform the upgrade so if we run into problems and need to roll back we can easily do so by swapping the hard drives.

I have done some reading and some people suggest using COBRA and other suggest using DIRT.  What is the difference between the two tools or what one should we use?  Any other suggestions for our upgrade would be greatl appreciated.


Re: Unity 4.2 upgrade to 7.x

DiRT and COBRAS are obviously very different tools.  DiRT gets more data but takes longer to complete and is a bit more involved in terms of process.  COBRAS is a selective backup/restore tool and takes less time, generally, than a DiRT backup/restore for upgrade.  I prefer COBRAS, personally and have had great luck with it.

Key Differences Between DiRT and COBRAS



Works only for backing up and restoring  Windows-based   Unity or Connection installations.

Can backup Windows-based Unity and Unity  Connection 1.2 and   restore onto Windows-based Unity or Linux-based Connection 7.0 and  later.

Backs up entire Unity directory including  holidays, name   lookup handlers, interviewers etc…

Backs up only information about subscribers, call   handlers, public distribution lists, schedules and routing rules.

Does a complete directory synchronization on  restore and   forces any existing users in AD that match a subscriber in the Unity  database   to “point” to the new restored box.

Will create new subscribers or bind to existing  users in   AD but will not “force” a user in AD to point to the server if that  user is   already assigned to another Unity server.  Does not force a full rebuild of the global subscriber and  global   location information.

Only allows restores onto the same version of  Unity or   Connection 1.x that was backed up.

Allows for restores onto different versions (the  same or   newer than the version backed up) of Unity and Connection regardless  of the   version or product that was backed up.  Be sure to review the differences in data provided in the  different   versions of Unity or Connection you back up in the help sections that  follow.

Must restore the entire backup.

Allows for individual objects to be selected for  restore.

Backup is very quick because it’s getting entire  SQL table   as a single binary blob using MS SQL’s backup capability.

Backup is somewhat slower given it pulls data for  each   object one at a time and constructs a set of MDB files that contain  the object   data and messages (if included).

Uses ExMerge from Microsoft for getting entire  inbox   contents for messages.  The account you   use to run backups needs to have full send as/receive as rights for  all   mailboxes touched.

Uses MAL interface to get just voice mails (no  emails,   receipts or faxes) for message backups.  This means you need to run the tool as the account associated  with   AvCsMgr service on the Unity server for message backups and restores.

Will not recreate membership information for  public   distribution lists in a new directory other than “top level” members.

Will create public distribution lists and include  all   members it can find in the new directory to that distribution list.

DiRT restores are very “heavy” in that they force  an   entire directory resync of all local and global object references.

Will ask for resyncs for only new subscribers or  public   distribution lists being created or when information about an existing   subscriber that is being updated requires a directory sync.

DiRT wipes out the entire local installation  during a   restore. 

COBRAS is designed to allow for “merging” objects  from   multiple backups into one Unity or Connection restore.  No information is ever removed during a   restore.

DiRT restores are very straight forward from an   administrative standpoint because there are very few options.

Depending on the type and extent of the  operation, the   administrator may have quite a bit of legwork to do during a COBRAS   restore.  All references and conflicts   must be addressed before the restore is allowed to continue.  A 23 page wizard is involved and many items   may need to be manually created to complete the operation such as COS instances and name lookup handlers.

Usage Scenarios

This is not a comprehensive list of uses but is  intended to demonstrate the targeted uses of COBRAS in the field.

Straight backup and restore

COBRAS can be used for simply backing up all  subscribers, call handlers, schedules, distribution lists, interviewers and routing  rules and restoring them to a clean install of Unity or Connection after a failure.  For just plain backup and restore scenarios where the version of Unity is not changing, however,  DiRT (for Unity or for Connection 1.x) or DRS (for Connection 2.x and later) is  the better tool since it’s faster and includes data COBRAS does not such as  COS objects, name lookup handlers and holiday information.  See  the Data Not  Backed Up section for more details on what’s not included with  COBRAS backups.

Restore only select objects

For scenarios where Administrators would like to  restore just a single object such as a subscriber, COBRAS is the ideal tool.  It can be used to restore a subscriber that has been accidentally deleted or update the user’s settings (including  greeting and voice name) if they’ve been changed or lost for some reason.  COBRAS can also restore just that subscriber’s messages or even a single message for a particular  subscriber as well.

This can be as many or as few objects of any type  that COBRAS backs up.  If an administrator accidentally deletes a schedule, you can restore just that schedule information.  If a call handler or several handlers are deleted or someone changes the user input keys or whatever, those handlers can be recreated/updated.

NOTE:  All settings for any object you choose to restore are updated based on the backed up version.  You  can select which objects you wish to restore but you can NOT select which data on those objects is restored.  For instance you cannot JUST restore the user input key rules for a call handler and not also update the transfer  rules.  Subscriber messages are optional items for restore, of course.

Restore onto a different version or product  (migration)

COBRAS is unique in that it can take backed up data  from a Unity 4.0(5) and restore it to a Unity 4.0(5) or later system.  COBRAS can also move from Unity to Unity Connection 7.0.  There are, of course, some items that cannot go between versions and products given the  differences in features and data structures across them.  Be sure to review the details in the Data  Backed Up and Restored section below to understand what’s potentially lost when going across versions  or products.

NOTE:  When restoring a Unity backup to another Unity installation, the version can be different but must be later than  the version backed up.  You can restore to the same version or later only, you cannot restore to an older  installation of Unity.  See the Version  Support table below.

Merge multiple backups onto a single server

Again, COBRAS is unique in that it does not require  a clean installation of Unity to do a restore of some or all objects in the backup database.  You can, for instance, take all subscriber data, including messages, from one Unity server and restore them onto  another without damaging the existing subscribers.  If you are collapsing multiple Unity servers into one, this is an  ideal use of COBRAS.

NOTE:  You may have to change aliases and/or extensions of subscribers to avoid conflicts.  COBRAS does not allow subscribers with the same alias or  extension number to be created on a restore.  It does, however, allow you to change them to make those values unique  during the restore process if you wish.  When restoring into a Connection 7.0 or later system COBRAS does allow you to  assign users, handlers, interviewers and distribution lists into separate  partitions to keep extensions unique when merging multiple backups into one server.  However aliases (for users and distribution lists) and display names (for handlers) need to be unique system wide in  all cases.  You can use the Data Viewer utility on the COBRAS home page to edit the alias and/or extension  numbers of users prior to import if necessary to make this a little easier.

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