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Support: Data Management

Backing Up Your Sermons

The Sermon Publisher automatically makes backup copies of all files it creates. These are stored in the Publisher's "sent" folder (by default, "C:\Program Files\Sermon Publisher\sent").

Files with the extension .xml contain sermon index data. Streaming multimedia files are stored in the "multimedia" subdirectory, and file attachments are stored in the "attachments" subdirectory.

It is recommended that you keep these files for backup purposes. Although the Publisher makes no direct use of them in the current release, an automatic Restore feature is planned for the future. If you uninstall the Publisher, you must manually remove the files in this folder.

How to Control Server Disk Space Usage

Since your cost to use Sermons Online is tied to the amount of server disk space that is being used, you may want to periodically winnow your sermon archive. When you login to the Sermon Site Manager, your current disk usage is listed on the home page:

The amount of space used is shown in Gigabytes (GB). (For those who want the details: we use a "true" gigabyte equal to 1,073,741,824 bytes.) Disk usage is calculated by adding up the file sizes of all the multimedia streaming files and file attachments of your sermons. See these tips for a list of the factors which affect the size of your sermon archive.

There are two ways to limit the size of your archive. First, you can manually delete sermons from the Current Sermon view. Deleting a sermon marks it as inactive, and moves it to the Inactive Sermons view for 30 days. While inactive, the sermon can be undeleted. At the end of the period, the sermon will be automatically removed.

This is the safest way to manage your sermons. It gives you control over each sermon, and provides a way to undelete.

The other method is to enable the Multimedia Auto-Delete service on your Site Settings page. This service limits the disk space used by automatically removing multimedia files whenever a pre-set space limit is exceeded. Files are removed starting with the oldest. Once removed, the files cannot be undeleted.

Limits are specified in whole units of 1GB. The special value of zero (0) can be used to indicate no limit (never auto-delete). Separate space limits can be specified for audio and video file types.

While auto-delete is enabled, an additional setting on the sermon form becomes available to disable automatic deletion on a case-by-case basis for each sermon. To use this feature, edit the sermon to be protected from auto-delete, and check the box labeled, "Disable multimedia auto-delete".

Multimedia Auto-Delete is an advanced feature, and does not provide the safety of an undelete. It is disabled by default.

Factors Affecting Archive Size

There are three factors which govern the size of your archive: the number of streaming formats, the bitrate of the streams, and the length of your sermon.

If you use the Publisher to encode your sermons, the number of streaming formats that are used is controlled on the Site Settings page:

Each encoding profile you select here will generate a streaming file for your sermon. It's best to choose at least one MP3 audio stream. MP3 is the most compatible format, and can be played back on most computer-based media players and on many audio hardware devices. Since the vast majority of people use Windows-based computers, Microsoft's Windows Media format is a good second choice.

The bitrate of a stream is the amount of bandwidth that the stream will use when it is played back, and is expressed in Kilobytes (K). The higher the bitrate, the better the quality, and the larger the file. It's best to choose at least one stream at 20K or slower. This is the maximum bandwidth of a 28K modem. About 40% of homes in the North America still use a 28K modem connection.

If you would prefer other encoding choices, you can encode the multimedia yourself and then pass the files to the Publisher for uploading. Up to four streaming files can be associated with each sermon. The Publisher's uploader can recognize Windows Media, Real Media, MP3, and Quicktime files. To enable this feature, change the Publisher's Multimedia Source setting to "... encoded streaming media files, ready for uploading".