Home Applications isc-live-global-mover


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Tool for moving large globals from a database to another database without application downtime.

What's new in this version

  • Add to zpm registry

What’s new in this version

  • Add unit test.
  • ^GBLOCKCOPY Usage instead Merge command (increase performance).

Global mover tool

The goal is moving a large global from a database to another while your application is running.
When you use a GBLOKCOPY, you should stop your application (or a part of your application) to avoid writing into the copied global.
Depending your global size and fragmentation, the copy can take while (a few seconds, minutes, hours …).

The easiest way is simply stop application, perform a GBLOCKCOPY and then apply a global mapping.
Whatever the reason sometimes, you can’t do that. Stopping the application a few hours is just impossible (contractual up time reason, …).
When a GBLOKCOPY is not enough this tool could help you or just open your mind to other possibilities.

Typical use case

You have a large application with large databases\globals and you need to change the storage architecture.

How it work?

This is very simple, but there is a few steps :

  1. Before starting the copy, we perform a journal switch.
  2. Copy the global from source database to target database.
  3. When the copy is done, we check if there is any new global entries during the copy.
    • We through journal files (3 pass) to look for any entries and perform the corresponding command (Set, Kill, ZKill) to the target database.
    • After each pass a journal switch is performed in order to have the smallest possible journal file for the last pass.
    • At the last pass, the system is temporary switch to mode 10. We need to ensure there is no new global entries for a short time.
    • Setting up the global mapping.
    • Disable mode 10.
  4. Everything is done, we perform a journal switch.

Limitations & Cautions

Don’t use with an active mirror!
After the copy, if a switch occurs to a node without the correct global mapping configuration, it would be disastrous.

Don’t use with ECP!
Currently not tested with application server.

This is experimental, don’t use without testing!
Under MIT License, use this tool at your own risk.
Feel free to improve or modify as needed.

BACKUP your data before running
Prepare a recovery plan related to this operation.

Run this operation during off-peak hours.


This needs to have git and docker installed.


  1. Clone/git pull the repo into any local directory
$ git clone https://github.com/lscalese/isc-live-global-mover
  1. Open the terminal in this directory and run:
$ docker-compose build
  1. Run the IRIS container with your project:
$ docker-compose up -d

Installation from ZPM client

install live-global-mover

Test installation

Unit test

The unit test perform two operations :

  1. Write data into a global and move to another database.
  2. Write initial data into a global and then start a job which write continuously in this global during the copy.

See class Iris.Tools.Test.TestGlobalMover

Starting unit test :

Set ^UnitTestRoot = "/irisdev/app/tests/"
Do ##class(%UnitTest.Manager).RunTest(,"/nodelete")


Set mover = ##class(Iris.Tools.LiveGlobalMover).%New()
Set mover.global = $lb("^YourGlobalToMoveD")
Set mover.dbSource = "irisapp"
Set mover.dbTarget = "targetdb"
Set tSc = mover.move()

Explore your data, check global mapping.

Data aren’t deleted by default from the source database.
You should delete it manually or set mover.deleteSourceDataAfterMoving=1 for automatic deletion.


Logs trace are stored in ^LiveGlobalMover.log. Show log:

Do ##class(Iris.Tools.LiveGlobalMover).outputLogToDevice()

Purge logs

Do ##class(Iris.Tools.LiveGlobalMover).purgeLog()


  • Expand the size of the target database in order to avoid expand during the copy.


  • Job error with journal restore or GBLOCKCOPY is due to a limite license with community edition.
    Use an image base like intersystems/irishealth:2019.4.0.383.0 with a license to fix it.

How to start coding

This repository is ready to code in VSCode with ObjectScript plugin.
Install VSCode and ObjectScript plugin and open the folder in VSCode.
Open /src/cls/PackageSample/ObjectScript.cls class and try to make changes - it will be compiled in running IRIS docker container.

Feel free to delete PackageSample folder and place your ObjectScript classes in a form

The script in Installer.cls will import everything you place under /src/cls into IRIS.

What’s inside the repo


The simplest dockerfile which starts IRIS and imports Installer.cls and then runs the Installer.setup method, which creates IRISAPP Namespace and imports ObjectScript code from /src folder into it.
Use the related docker-compose.yml to easily setup additional parametes like port number and where you map keys and host folders.
Use .env/ file to adjust the dockerfile being used in docker-compose.


Settings file to let you immedietly code in VSCode with VSCode ObjectScript plugin)


Config file if you want to debug with VSCode ObjectScript

Made with
zpm install live-global-mover download archive
0.9.417 Apr, 2020
Developer Environment
Works with
CachéEnsembleHealthShareInterSystems IRIS
First published
14 Mar, 2020
Last checked by moderator
27 Jun, 2023Works