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How to deal with sql-database structures on upgrade

Hi all,

I'm going to adopt cacti[1]. But I have a problems with a clean upgrade
path to the new upstream version.

Cacti use a mysql database to store the configuration values (including
users/password, graphic options, layouts, ...). The new upstream version
(0.8.x) use a completly new designed database structure then the old
version, which is currently already packed for Debian.

I have tried to write some postinst scripts to migrate the existing
database into the new one, but I think now this is impossible, because
maybe informations which are needed in the new version are missing in
the old one.

Some other packages like sysstat simply prints a message about a
incompatible dataformat, and move or delete the old datafile. Is this an
acceptable way for such a program also? And if so, should I do a
database export first, before deleting and recreating the database with
the new tables?

Any hints are welcome :-)

Thanks for your help

[1] Description: Frontend to rrdtool for monitoring systems and services
     Cacti is a complete frondend to rrdtool, it stores all of the necessary
     information to create graphs and populate them with  data  in  a
     MySQL database. The frontend is completely PHP driven. Along with being
     able to maintain Graphs,  Data  Sources,  and  Round  Robin  Archives  in
     a database, cacti handles the data gathering also.  There  is  also
     SNMP support for those used to creating traffic graphs with MRTG.

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