by Tim Nicholson
Informer, for the most part, requires very little maintenance. But, just like your trusty vehicle, you still need to pay it some attention occasionally to ensure everything is in working order. Here are a few things you may want to add to your regular system maintenance checklists.
Informer maintains one primary log file, openinformer.log. This file contains system messages generated by Informer and can be useful for solving support issues. You can also specify the level of detail contained in the log using the log settings (see our Help Center article on Useful Log Settings).
The log file continues to grow as long as Informer is running. Over time the file can get to be pretty big, which can cause poor Informer performance, or worse, fill up your server’s hard drive. The latter can then cause even more problems like a corrupt Derby database. Clearing this file on a regular basis is a good idea.
There are 2 ways to clear the openinformer.log file. The first way is by restarting Informer. Each time Informer is started, the contents of the log file are flushed and a new one started. The second way is by simply saving the log settings. Go to the Admin tab and click Log Settings. You do not need to change anything. Just click Save Settings.
Another option for managing the openinformer.log file is by configuring a rolling log. You can specify the maximum file size at which point you wish to start a new log and how many backups you will keep. See our Help Center article on Setting Up Rolling Logs for details.
If you are running Informer on a Windows server, you will also need to monitor the servicelog.txt file located in the Informer installation directory. This file is managed by Windows and not by Informer. The only way to clear this file is to stop the Informer service, delete the file, and restart Informer.
Unix-based systems may also have their own system-type logs, similar to Windows’ servicelog.txt. For example, if you run Informer inside nohup, you will want to monitor those logs and clear them occasionally as well.
Each time you perform an Informer upgrade, a new instance of Informer is installed on your server. Each instance can be several gigabytes in size, so you should consider removing the older versions, as they are no longer used or needed.
There are two directories involved in upgrades: webapp and work. Webapp is the directory where the upgrade (WAR) file goes, and work is where the actual application code resides. WAR stands for Web application Archive and is a special type of zip file. When you restart Informer, it detects the new WAR file and extracts the contents to the work directory into a folder named for the WAR file. It is recommended that you keep the most current and the prior release in the webapp and work folders. The older files can be deleted.
Since Informer isn’t really ‘data’, a lot of clients forget to back up their Informer. Then, something happens and they need to restore their database, but the last backup they took was 6 months ago. Or they don’t have one. It’s important to remember that things are changing on Informer all the time – report definitions, mappings, archives, schedules, etc. Having a regular backup plan for your Informer can save you a lot of pain and suffering later should a very rare occasion happen when you need to restore your Informer to a previous state. How often you perform backups will depend on how much activity you have in Informer. Unless you have a ton of reports, mappings and archives, the database itself is relatively moderate in size, so backing up daily is recommended.
What Should You Backup?
At the very minimum, you should backup the db folder in the Informer installation directory. This houses the Informer Derby database. The other folders are fairly static on a day-to-day basis. You may also choose to back up the entire Informer installation directory.