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Database Upgrades


Note: This article covers the ‘hidden’ database upgrade process that happens when you upgrade your Application Server from e.g. version 19.x to version 20.x.

If you’re looking for more information on upgrading the PaperCut Application Server, Secondary Servers, User Clients, Release stations or more, check out the Upgrading PaperCut NG/MF article - or alternatively check out the Migrating or Moving your Database Server article if that’s more your cup of tea!

What is a Database ‘upgrade’?

Database upgrades may occur during a PaperCut install-over-the-top application server upgrade. This does not happen with every version of PaperCut but only when a schema change occurs. If you are curious to know exactly what changes with each database version, we publish PDF diagrams of each schema version in our article Database Schema Diagrams.

During this process the PaperCut server will be taken off line for a few minutes and this article helps you understand this and mitigate the effect of expected downtime.

Note that this is different from upgrading your SQL Server / PostgreSQL / Oracle version - that’s covered in the Moving or Migrating your Database Server (or version) article.

New features in PaperCut sometimes require new fields or tables in the application’s database. The install process will automatically upgrade the existing database without any interaction from the administrator. The automatic upgrade occurs whether you are running the internal database or an external database like SQL Server or PostgreSQL.

When an upgrade is performed:

  1. The database is backed up. This ensures that the system is recoverable on an unforeseen problem.

  2. New fields or tables are added.

  3. Any new fields or tables are populated with data (if required by the given database changes).

  4. On the internal database, the tables are optimized to ensure the system performs well with large data.

During this procedure you can monitor the progress by visiting the standard PaperCut URL in your web browser. e.g. http://papercutservername:9191/

IMPORTANT: While the upgrade is in progress, it is important to not reboot the server or stop the PaperCut Application Server service.

How do I know if an Application Server upgrade contains a Database Upgrade?

Take a look at the Release History pages for PaperCut MF or NG. You’ll see a note for each release mentioning e.g. “This release includes a database upgrade” or “This release does NOT contain a database upgrade”.

How to estimate upgrade times (upgrade planning)

When a PaperCut update contains a database upgrade (as referenced in the release notes), the upgrade process may take longer to complete. It is important to take this into account when planning the upgrade on large networks.

The time taken to perform a database upgrade is dependent on:

  1. The specs of the system running PaperCut.
  2. The size of the database (e.g. the number of print and transaction logs).
  3. The type of database (e.g. the internal database or an external database like SQL Server or PostgreSQL).

Based on a typical system we estimate that the upgrade will take approximately 2 minutes for every 100,000 database rows in the database. PaperCut versions 7.4 (or later) include database statistics information on the application About page. These statistics include the total number of print logs and transaction logs, and can be used to calculate an estimate of the database upgrade time.

So for example, if the About page says you have a total of 500,000 rows (i.e. the print log count plus the transaction log count), then you should allow 10 minutes for the upgrade to complete.


Every 500,000 database rows = 10 minutes

Categories: How-to Articles , Databases , Upgrading or Downgrading

Keywords: database down time , upgrade plan , offline during upgrade


Last updated July 5, 2023