This document is an introduction into the environment that PowerForce Software works through..
The PowerForce Application runs atop a non-SQL database known as OpenInsight from Revelation Software (http://www.revelation.com).
The database technology runs diverse industry verticals.
The database environment is in use within adiverse range of clients around the world, clients including:
The OpenInsight environment is an integrated development environment between thedatabase and the development tools. The environment is deployed as a runtimeenvironment with data tables that the particular application requires foroperation.
In the case ofPowerForce, the application is deployed in a directory structure commencing atthe directory named “OINSIGHT”.
- the Bank of America
- US Government departments,
- a number of UK banks,
- Australian government departments,
- large number of museums all around the globe,
- ADP – the largest payroll company both in Australia and the USA,
- Sage UK –one of the largest UK payroll providers
How OpenInsightTables are laid out on disk
OpenInsighttables are represented by a data portion as well as a Dictionary portion(representing the record layout of the data). Each table in turn is then brokeninto two dynamic components, one the *.LK portion and the other *.OV. As thetables grown / shrink the database manager acquires disk space / release diskspace back to the Operating system.Thisis what makes the data storage extremely effectiveOpenInsighton the other hand is dependant upon the host operating system to manage dataaccess, and as such is restricted by the access controls that operate in thehost operating system. The data files themselves are files suffixed with *.LK& *.OV.
TheOpenInsight file system manager dynamically allocates additional disk space tothe table as well as shrinking the physical size of the table as the number ofdata records in the table decreases. Ensure that the data files mentioned areexcluded from your system virus checking software as it’s unnecessary andlikely to cause data corruptions (under certain circumstances).
AnSQL database is represented on the file system as 1 large reserved piece ofdisk, with a separate section allocated for overflow. The disk itself is oftentimes not under the control of the operating system, but rather under themanagement of a sophisticated disk manager to improve disk throughput. Once thedatabase’s primary extend is exceeded the database ceases to function until anew extent is allocated and the database re-created.
What goes into a PowerForce system
ThePowerForce Application is represented by two components, the server databasemanager and the client executable.
On the server, the OpenInsight Database manageris started up as an NT Service. It manages database locking and access control.Whilst the NT Service runs under the guise of a “Local System” user logon, thedatabase is accessed based upon the access rights that the connecting user hasto the file system where the PowerForce data tables reside. Therefore all usersmust be given “ALL” access rights to the file system / share where the filesare located. The client comprises the “oinsight.exe”executable and the various Windows ".dll" files located in thetop-level “OINSIGHT” directory.
Printing is managed through two “.dll” files,“vspdf.ocx” & “vsprint7.ocx”. It is a requirement that these two files areregistered for each user (via regsvr32.exe). This requirement will be removedin a future release of the application.
The client software is generally loaded onto anetwork drive for centralised access. The network drive mapping may be viafixed drive-mapping or through UNCmapping. The client software isapproximately 42MB in size. In its simplest terms the environment is similar tojava and it’s JVM, any Microsoft application and the .Net framework – theprogram executables and the required “.dll” library files. The PowerForce application is started throughthe execution of the oinsight.exefile, passing in command line parameters which detail the application to start.This is generally accomplished through a desktop shortcut.
Backing up aPowerForce System
ThePowerForce application is generally delivered in a configuration where thetop-level directory is called “OINSIGHT”, and underneath it are a number ofother sub-directories all with data files. We recommend the creation of a SHARE(at the OINSIGHT or higher level) to allow network access to the data on theserver. The following sub-directories have a specific purpose, as detailed:MMSCSTM – This sub-directory contains the client(your) PowerForce application configuration files. This sub-directory mustreside as a sub-directory of OINSIGHT.PRODDB – This sub-directory is generally wherethe PowerForce application data tables are stored.TRANSACT – This sub-directory is the temporarywork directory for all users. It is the equivalent of the Windows “TEMP”directories. All PowerForce users must have “ALL” rights to this sub-directory,as the system creates, updates and deletes files within this sub-directory.
Allother sub-directories exist for other aspects of the application, and werecommend users have ALL access rights to them.
To backup a PowerForce Application, you need to backup all data andsub-directories commencing at “OINSIGHT” (as explained above). Because the databasemanager has the application tables open at all times, it is necessary to have abackup manager which can handle the backing up of Open files. OpenInsight has adatabase replication / journaling (UDH) utility which allows for theduplication of all data tables dynamically and in real-time to other systemsacross the network to enable the backup of the remote system rather than havingto manage the issue of Open files.
Debugging PowerForce can be accomplished though the following means.
Start the client software on the physical server where the database tables reside.Please note that you must map a network drive to the PowerForce Share at theserver to ensure that your client access is directed via the database manager,which listens at a network port (via the network share). Accessing the databasevia the local file system may cause errors. If you are able to start the clientat the server, then you can direct your attention to the network.
Debugging from a client workstation, should concentrate on two factors. Database accessvia the network share and the user access rights to the mapped network drive.The recommendation is to check the access via DOS, which lends itself toclearer error reporting. In the case of access to the TRANSACT sub-directory:
· CD TRANSACT (change into the directory).
· ECHO >filename.txt (you must be able to create)
· DEL filename.txt (you must be able to delete).
We have witnessed examples of where the system administrators give users access tothe directory on the server (eg C:\OINSIGHT), yet restrict user access to theSHARE which maps to the same directory location. To effectively check database access restrictions you must login with the login name and details of the user,not those of an administrator.
Printing is managed through the Windows print manager, through the previously mentioned“.ocx” files to integrate into the windows print manager. Therefore printingissues can only be of two forms:
· The user does not have the “ocx” registered.The user does not have sufficient access rightsto the windows printing subsystem.
There is nogeneralisation such as “PowerForce can’t print” – it is always a case of one ofthe above Windows related issues.
Databasecorruptions though rare are possible. They are always caused by system environmenterrors, either caused at the server or by network outages. The OpenInsightdatabase manager uses the Windows Event Manager to report errors with thedatabase. Please check the event manager daily for any such errors, as theywill always be early warning of approaching issues.
Ingeneral the most corruptions have always tended to occur in the databaseindices, requiring index rebuilds.
If database errors occur, we recommend the restore of the previous night’s backupand re-process the days work. Journaling and database replication is supportedby the UDH database backup utility which allows you to switch between thefaulted and mirrored systems. This is a separately priced technology availablefrom the database vendor.
TheOpenInsight environment very powerful development environment
very low on maintenance requirements
very low on support requirements.
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