Hamsters (and servers): A big responsibility | IAT SmartDial® Solutions

Hamsters (and servers): A big responsibility

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There’s a great scene in the movie “The Cannonball Run” where Victor (played by Dom DeLouise) arrives late to work because one of his hamsters had an anxiety attack. He explains why he’s late to J. J. McClure (played by Burt Reynolds), who is not impressed. So then Victor claims, “Hamsters are a big responsibility.” J. J. asks Victor to imagine his hamsters running along a little treadmill, just as fast as they can, “making that engine just purr right along.” Victor exclaims, “Oh, J.J. What a wonderful way to put it!”

Your CT Center server is a lot like the engine J. J. described to Victor. You want to keep it “purring along.” And, unlike hamsters on a treadmill, it can be fairly easy to do (Have you ever tried coaxing a hamster onto a treadmill?). Here are a few tips to help.

Treat it like a server. The first thing to remember is that the dialer is a server—a very important one. As such, you should maintain it like any other server in your company’s infrastructure.

Run regular backups. Let’s face it: Computers have hardware failures. If you’re unlucky enough to have a hardware failure such as a disk drive dying—and we’ve seen this happen!—a good, current backup will minimize your down time while our Support team gets you up and running again. In fact, some of the biggest delays in these situations occur when Support has to configure a new system from scratch instead of restoring it from a backup.

Run Defrag on a regular basis. As your system runs, files are written wherever the operating system can find space. This means that over time parts of files get scattered across the disk. This slows access to the file. You can keep your system’s performance up by defragging the disks on a weekly basis.

Keep up with Windows Updates. Since Windows® Update resolves problems—many of which address security issues—you should install them regularly (Microsoft® releases updates monthly). Keep in mind though, that you don’t want Windows Update to install updates and reboot the server automatically. When Windows Update restarts the system, it doesn’t always wait long enough for the CT Center services to shut down properly, which usually results in the dialer not starting properly. Then you have to call Support to fix it. Shut down the CT Center services first, and then manually install the updates.

Check for error notifications. There are two places to check for error notifications from CT Center. One is the Error Viewer on the server. The other is Control Center. Both places contain the same error information, but typically, Control Center is the easiest to check. If (and when) an error is reported, review it and take the appropriate corrective action. If you have questions, contact Support.

Describe problems clearly. When you do need to contact Support about an issue, you’ll want to be as descriptive as possible. It helps Support identify and resolve the issue quickly. The following example illustrates why this is so important:  Years ago, I managed a number of network servers at a local university. One day I received a report that one of the applications used in the labs “didn’t work.” I walked into one of the lab rooms and started that application, but wasn’t able to find the problem. I followed up with the person who logged the report and learned that in one of the lab rooms (a different lab from the one I’d used), an error occurred when attempting to insert some “text art.” I’d wasted a fair amount of time troubleshooting the wrong thing! For a long time afterwards, my mantra was “‘It doesn’t work’ isn’t a trouble report.”

Hopefully, these ideas will help keep your CT Center server purring right along, and keep you—and your hamsters—from suffering an anxiety attack.

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This article was written by Dave S