Maintaining TaskCentre

Introduction

An important part of the TaskCentre administrator’s function is to maintain the product.

This involves a number of routine set-up and monitoring activities.

The purpose of these tasks is to keep the product running smoothly and with a minimum of interruption and error. Some maintenance activities are essential for this purpose; others are for preventative maintenance.

To carry out maintenance properly, the administrator should draw up a maintenance plan. The plan lists the activities and specifies their frequency.

There are seven major maintenance activities that you need to perform to keep your server running smoothly.

The seven maintenance activities

The main maintenance activities are:

  • Backing up the TaskCentre store
  • Checking disk space quota
  • Monitoring resource requirements
  • Monitoring and moderating TaskCentre log file space requirements
  • Checking Windows system logs
  • Run-time notification error correction
  • Scheduled maintenance

These seven activities are explained in more depth below.

(1) Backing up the TaskCentre store

The TaskCentre Store is a proprietary internal database, which, like any other application database, needs to be backed up. The backup procedure you follow depends on the database selected during the installation of the product. There are two possibilities:

Proprietary internal database

The contents of a folder called ‘Backup’ need to be backed up. It is found in the IWDB folder, which by default is in the root of the C drive. It is not necessary to back up the entire IWDB directory – only the ‘Backup’ folder. The TaskCentre administrator should inform the network administrators about this backup requirement.

SQL Server database

If you use SQL Server to host the TaskCentre database, its backup should be included by the DBA as part of the organisational backup regime. The name for this database can be found in the TaskCentre Configurator.

(2) Checking disk space quota

TaskCentre does not provide any warning when the server disk space becomes low. As with any operational server it is advisable to monitor disk space usage either manually or by using a system monitor.

(3) Monitoring resource requirements

TaskCentre has a service for the server and one for each installed agent.
The process name for each of these services is shown below.

  1. iwtsksvr.exe – Server
  2. iwschdea.exe – Scheduler Agent
  3. iwmailea.exe – Mail Agent
  4. iwsqlea.exe – SQL Server Trigger Agent
  5. iwwfea.exe – Workflow Agent

A process is also spawned for each task run-time, called a task runner.

It appears as iwtskrun.exe in the Windows Task Manager list of processes; iwtskcntr.exe appears in the list when the TaskCentre client is being run.

(4) Monitoring and moderating log file space requirements

For this activity, there are two areas of logging: one is user-based and found with the product and the other is for system diagnostics and usually referred for user support.

User-based logging

You access this from Manage – Event log. These errors are sent through the notification tool, according to how you have configured it. Vigilant users may decide to examine the log for warnings, to gain extra insight to server behaviour.

Monitoring a System diagnostics

You access systems diagnostics using the registry key called ‘Enable Traces’ in HKLM/Software/Orbis Software/TaskCentre, as a DWORD value, with 1=ON and 0=OFF.

(The path is HKLM/Software/Wow6432Node/Orbis Software/TaskCentre on 64-bit machines).

A service restart is necessary to activate the change. The files are written to the TaskCentre temp folder, by default c:\

(5) Checking Windows system logs

Some errors are reported in the Windows system and application logs. These are usually errors where communication to the TaskCentre server has been prohibited in some way and hence it cannot write to the product event log.

It is worth referring to these logs when seeking further information to aid support diagnostics. It is also worth a look during any observation activity, as with any general server housekeeping.

Remember that any distributed agents belonging to TaskCentre will have their Windows log located on the remote server.

(6) Run-time notification error correction

Because TaskCentre is an automation product, it is vital that the notification option is set so that task administrators or owners are made aware of run-time errors.

Run-time errors refer to an error where a task has failed to run correctly, and hence a business process has failed to complete. It is likely that manual intervention by an administrator or the task owner will be required to correct the problem.

Note: Notifications are received by email and should be given top priority in the list of maintenance activities.

(7) Scheduled maintenance

The TaskCentre maintenance process runs automatically. You define the period in the general options for the product. The default is daily. It reports to the TaskCentre event log. As an administrator you will automatically receive notifications if any anomalies occur during this process.

It may prove beneficial from time to time to check the error log for warnings related to scheduled maintenance. Warnings by their very nature are not detrimental to the running of the product; but they may assist in defining action that can be taken, which may later prove beneficial.

Maintenance frequency

You’ve seen what maintenance activities you need to perform to keep the system running smoothly.

Lets look at out how frequently you need to carry them out.

Maintenance to suit usage

You should perform the maintenance activities according to how much TaskCentre is used. Below are two TaskCentre scenarios that may be used as guidance, to help you to draw up a maintenance plan that suits your needs.

Scenario 1: high server usage

  • High-load business critical server with 500+ transactions per day
  • Server running a high volume and fast turnover workflow
  • Any level of integration server

Scenario 2: low to medium server usage

  • Business alerts not time critical
  • Reporting server not time critical

Let’s now look at plans for each of the above scenarios.

Maintenance plans

Here we can see the seven activities required to keep TaskCentre running smoothly along with High and Low/Medium Server usage plans

MaintenanceHigh Server UsageLow/Medium Server Usage
Run-time error correctionProcess ImmediatelyProcess Daily
Backing up the TaskCentre StoreAutomate DailyAutomate Weekly
Checking Disk QuotaCheck WeeklyCheck Weekly
Scheduled MaintenanceCheck DailyCheck Weekly
Monitoring and Moderating Log File Space RequirementCheck Weekly or When Errors OccurCheck Weekly
Check System LogsCheck Weekly or When Errors OccurCheck Weekly
Monitoring Resource RequirementsCheck WeeklyCheck Weekly

 

As you might expect, high usage requires maintenance to be more intensive, much of it daily

Reporting a fault

For the odd fault that cannot be remedied through normal working procedures, TaskCentre users may be entitled to help desk support. Orbis Software’s partners should contact Orbis Software (see below), whereas end users should contact their TaskCentre supplier. There is a standard set of questions when creating a support ticket. You should be able to provide the following information:

  • The version of TaskCentre – found in the TaskCentre client under Help – About
  • The server operating system and its service pack level
  • Any remote agent’s operating system and its service pack level
  • The TaskCentre database being used – SQL Server or proprietary
  • A description of the problem

Faults can be reported by email or phone, using the following:

Email address: support@codelessplatforms.com

Phone number: +44 (0) 330 9988 700 and press option 2

Maintaining TaskCentre: In summary

The TaskCentre administrator needs to undertake the following activities in order to keep the product running smoothly:

  • Backing up the TaskCentre store
  • Checking the disk space quota
  • Monitoring resource requirements
  • Monitoring and moderating log file space requirements
  • Checking Windows system logs
  • Run-time notification error correction
  • Scheduled maintenance

It is important to draw up a maintenance plan, indicating the frequency and timing of activities. Its details will depend on the usage of the server. Tasks are generally carried out weekly for light to medium usage and daily for heavy usage.

Uninterrupted service can be further ensured by reporting faults and getting support from Orbis Software or other appropriate support desk.

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