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Biotics 6 Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ provides information for Network programs about the upcoming  transition to Biotics 6. This article will be updated with new  information as we receive and respond to new questions. Please Follow  this page to be notified of updates and return often to catch up on new content, and please  provide us with your unanswered questions.

Where will Biotics 6 be hosted?
Biotics 6 will transition hosting from NatureServe’s secure data center  to Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS offers multiple Availability Zones in  the US and Canada. At this time, it has not been determined if we will  deploy all Biotics instances within a single region or if we can design a  solution that supports deployment across multiple regions, e.g. to  allow for Canadian instances to be hosted within an AWS Canada region  and for US instances to be hosted within an AWS US region.
Will the database architecture change?
Yes. Biotics 6 will migrate the database from Oracle to Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL.
Will the GIS architecture change?
Yes. Biotics 6 will upgrade to ArcGIS Enterprise 11.X with a federated  portal hosting shared GIS services. At this time, we are evaluating both  the traditional Windows deployment of ArcGIS Enterprise as well as the  Linux-based, cloud-native Kubernetes deployment to determine which  version is most performant and cost effective.
Is there anything else changing in Biotics 6?
The ArcGIS upgrade provides the opportunity to modernize the Biotics map  interface. Biotics 5 uses an older version of NatureServe’s map core,  built on the ArcGIS API for JavaScript 3.X. Our newer map core is built  on the ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.X, examples of which are found in  Explorer Pro and newer installations of the Environmental Review Tool.
When will Biotics 6 be ready?
We will provide more information on the release timeline after we have  made further progress with the initial database conversion steps. The  development work will likely take 6 to 12 months, putting a target date  in late 2024 to early 2025.
When can my program expect to upgrade?
Similar to the Biotics 5 release, we anticipate rolling out Biotics 6 to  programs one at a time vs. all at once. As a result, there will be some  flexibility in terms of the order in which programs are converted for  those that may require more time to prepare for the transition.
Will my program’s extensible tables be converted?
Will my custom Crystal Reports work after the database is migrated to Postgres?
We are researching alternatives for upgrading or replacing Crystal  Reports, and will post more information as we figure this out.
What time commitment would be required by a network program that agrees to be a pilot program?
We anticipate that pilot programs would have a temporary alpha/beta version of the Biotics 6 system containing a copy of their data and would commit to spending some time working within the pilot system and providing feedback. Changes made to the pilot system would be discarded at the end of the pilot period, and their production system would be converted a second time at a later date.  During the pilot period, their regular production system remains available until ready to completely switch to the newer version.  
Will PostGIS be used for spatial data types?
What tools are being used/evaluated to migrate from Oracle to Postgres?
We are currently planning to use the AWS Schema Conversion Tool and Data Migration Service.
Will bulk import, SQL scripts, or other tools used for Observations Surveys, be upgraded?
Generally, NatureServe authored scripts that still need to be used, will get updated. However, these types of external utilities would likely get addressed near the end of the conversion process once the primary database and application conversions are complete or nearly complete.
Is the Central database going to be updated instantly?
No, we will use the same process to convert all databases.
Will Kiteworks continue to be the platform for downloading backups?  
The Network survey will tell us if/how programs are using backups. AWS has a super fast but proprietary backup system that only works for restoring backups into another AWS database. But for programs that need to stand up local copies, then a more traditional pg_dump/pg_restore backup might be needed. Further details on backup strategies will be determined later.
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