Configuring OpenInsight 9.x for 64 bit Machines


In order to run OpenInsight version 9.x on 64-bit versions of Windows, some additional configuration of the default OpenInsight needs to be addressed.  These changes should be made only following a successful installation of OpenInsight.  The guidelines assume that you have a fresh installation of 64-bit Windows (not one of the Home editions) and also a fresh installation of OpenInsight version 9.0 or later. Depending on your chosen User Account Control settings in Windows, these may not all apply to you.

  • 32-Bit Java Runtime
    O4W and CTO both require a Java run time to run.  For compatibility reasons, you should download and install the latest 32-bit which is available from JRE (Java Runtime Environment).
  • Alternative Registry Location
    As well as the operating system’s usual 64-bit registry entries, 64-bit Windows also maintains a separate list of 32-bit registry keys for the purposes of maintaining compatibility with 32-bit applications.  As far as OpenInsight is concerned, these 32-bit registry settings are maintained under the ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\RevSoft’ registry branch and all registry changes for OpenInsight should be completed under this branch.The registry settings for SYSPROG are:
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\RevSoft\OECGI2]
    “UserName”=”SYSPROG”
    “UserPassword”=”SYSPROG”
    “ApplicationName”=”SYSPROG”
    “ServerURL”=”localhost”
    “ServerPort”=”8088”
    “ProcedureName”=”RUN_OECGI_REQUEST”
    “EngineName”=””


    The registry is not an area that should be played with lightly and for this reason Revelation have created an updated registry file to assist in the configuration of OECGI2.  The file can be downloaded from the main Revelation web site at http://www.revelation.com/knowledge.nsf/07dbcbabb6b3e379852566f50064cf25/88e6dbc0988dec9385257566007831c5/$FILE/oecgi2%20vista64.reg. This file should be used in place of the OECGI2.reg that ships with OpenInsight 9.0.

Please also be sure to review and follow the OpenInsight 9.0 Workstation Installation Notes that now apply to the installation of OpenInsight on all versions of Windows.

>396% reduction in disk utilisation!


>One of the hottest IT topics that I am continuously asked about, is that of performance and reducing the load on system resources. It was therefore nice to hear from one of our UK clients who has achieved some stunning results.

Following the upgrade of an application server to a new one with Solid State Drives and using the Universal Driver 4.5 to split the data over two physical volumes, a leading financial institution in the UK recently reported “… Disk utilisation down from averaging at 400% down to 4% .. SSD’s are awesome for LH.. the low latency really helps.” This is a large OpenInsight system that is vital to the business and which is in daily use by several hundred concurrent users.

Whilst I don’t have any Solid States Drives for sale, I do have the new Universal Driver 4.6 and I’ll be happy to talk to anyone running an older Revelation Network Product about the benefits of the Universal Driver. In addition, I’ll forward a white paper to you which takes a look at splitting your data onto a different location.

>Revelation Releases Universal Driver 4.6


>

Despite a couple of premature announcements on the release of the Universal Driver 4.6 recently, I am now pleased to formally announce that the latest version of the popular Universal Driver is now available and, yes, I do have both full installation and upgrade files available.

The new version features a brand new installer and support for large key sizes and large records has also been greatly enhanced. There are an increasing number of occasions where more intelligence is being built into record keys and parts of the system sometimes handle the keys correctly and in other parts it treats them as a bug and this results in false errors being reported. This issue is addressed in this release.

However, this new version will not support unlimited length record keys. Record keys can now be a maximum of 512 characters long. Any keys that exceed this limit will now be ‘illegal’ and applications will be unable to either read or write them. The server event log will report Linear Hash Error 1016 for this condition. Since this will make the records unreadable, they will be treated as though there is a ‘group format error’ (GFE) in any table that contains them. For this reason, the Database Manager tools in OpenInsight 9.1 have been updated to report the errors (LH Verify) and the ‘Fix’ option has been enhanced to copy them to a new table called DUMP_FIX_SAVE.

Furthermore, there is a more critical fix to address the issue where the Fix GFE option on the current ‘Verify LH’ menu silently considers any records with keys greater than 50 characters long to be GFE’s. Anyone running the ‘Fix GFE’ option will lose any records that have keys longer than 50 characters. As a result of this issue, an RDK containing a FIX_LH routine is being included with the UD 4.6 release. This updated routine will remove the ’50-character-throwaway’ functionality and replaces it with the new ‘512-character-save’ functionality.

In addition to all of the above, the Universal Driver 4.6 now provides backwards compatibility with all previous versions of Linear Hash files, something that was lost from the Universal Driver 3.0 onwards. Plus, the client driver’s (not the service) internal file handle management has been enhanced for improved handling of open tables and the Universal Driver can now manage over 300 open and active tables from a single client – although the reasonable design of such an application would not be recommended.

The Universal Driver 4.6 is fully supported on the following servers: Windows 2000 SP1 and later, both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 2003 SP1 and above and 32-bit Windows 2008. Please note that Novell and Linux servers are not supported at the present time. As with the earlier Universal Drivers, Windows 95/98 workstations are not supported, leaving Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista Business or Ultimate as deployment options. The Universal Driver 4.6 currently supports ARev 3.12 and OpenInsight version 4.1 or later – 16-bit OpenInsight is not supported.

If you are a client in the EMEA region and you have previously purchased a license for the Universal Driver 4.0 or 4.5, then you are entitled to a free of charge upgrade – drop me a email with your UD serial number and I’ll gladly forward the upgrade files to you by return of email. The files are pretty large though, so a boxed version is available – shipping charges will apply in such cases.

This is an especially good release that addresses several long standing issues that have only just come to Revelation’s attention as deployed systems become larger and larger. I would therefore urge anyone running an ARev or 32-bit OpenInsight system on a Windows server and using an older Revelation Network product, to seriously consider this a necessary upgrade.

>OpenInsight 9.1 is now officially in beta


>Revelation were pleased to release the OpenInsight version 9.1 beta software overnight and those of you who subscribe to the WORKS beta program should have now received an email from Mike.

This is yet another major release from Revelation and one that comes hot on the heals of version 9.0 just five months ago. This release sees over 4,000 new and enhanced items, many of which are user request driven. Just some of the highlights include better .Net functionality, EditTable enhancements, the inclusion of graphics in menus, Macros for ARev32 and CTO and there is much more that will be listed in the accompanying readme file.

The installation of 9.1 is considerably different from previous installations, so please be sure to review and follow the new 9.1 Installation Guide when you come to install your copy of 9.1, beta or commercial release.

OpenInsight and Virtualisation


Just recently, I have received an increased number of telephone calls with regards to running OpenInsight on Virtual Servers (or virtual machines), for example VMware (being the most popular at the moment), Microsoft Virtual PC, etc.

In the main, there are no real technical issues that I am aware of in running OI 8.x and 9.x in these environments and there shouldn’t really be any issues as the virtualisation software ‘should’ take care of sandboxing the server instance and any communications between virtual servers, for disaster recovery etc. That said, Revelation’s testing of these environments is yet to be concluded and, for that reason alone, they remain in the ‘unsupported’ category for the moment.

However, there are OpenInsight licensing questions to be addressed, the answers to which depend greatly on the reasons for the virtualisation, and this is the primary point of this posting.

There are probably more scenarios applicable to this question than those in this article and I will post more details here as they come to light. The three usual reasons that I am asked about though, are covered below:

  1. Sandboxing
    The days of buying a new server for a new application are over and this appears to be extending to a move away from buying a dedicated application server and a separate data server. Instead, organisations are buying one large and very well resourced server that they then break up into multiple virtual servers. This enables IT staff to sandbox applications, removing the worry about one application or set of data files bumping with another and it also eases the daily backup process. However, one of the main reasons for this move is to tick the green environmental box by reducing the cost of building the server in the first place and, more importantly, in reducing the increasing and ongoing energy costs associated with running several machines compared to one machine.

Sandboxing OpenInsight in this way is perfectly fine. You only have one instance of OpenInsight installed in one place and you are therefore operating within the license.

  • Disaster Recovery
    Talk to anyone involved with selling virtualisation services, software or hardware and you will quickly find yourself steered into talking about disaster recovery. This appears to be one of the main reasons why IT Managers in larger organisations turn to virtualisation. Again, OpenInsight will usually behave perfectly well in such an environment as (if supported by the virtualisation solution) it is normally the virtualisation software that will handle the communications between the virtual servers to maintain a mirror or whatever the organisation requires to facilitate an automated failover solution. OpenInsight just resides in both places as per any normal installation.However, this scenario usually involves OpenInsight being installed in two or more locations, or a full copy of the software being copied into more than one location. Even though the system is often designed and configured to run only one copy at a time (as a cold spare) and only one is available to end users at any one time, it IS technically a violation of the OpenInsight and Universal Driver licenses. In many situations, duplicate licenses will need to be purchased from Revelation Software, regardless of what the virtualisation salesperson tells you, so I strongly recommend that you contact your usual Revelation representative for clarification on your configuration.That said, Revelation always recommend the Universal Driver Heavy (UDH) as the optimal resource for maintaining a disaster recovery solution for any OpenInsight system. Not least because the UDH provides real time mirroring of Linear Hash files. Whereas, technologies like Microsoft File Replication Services and Volume Shadow copy were designed for periodic replication of static documents. These technologies aren’t capable of, nor optimised to efficiently mirror frequently changing Linear Hash data. A full white paper expanding on the reasons why the UDH 4.6 should be used as the premium solution and the various configuration options will be following over the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can find out more about the UDH on our web site.
  • Load Balancing
    The use of virtualisation for load balancing is one that I am not over familiar with, but it has come up a couple of times during discussions about OpenInsight and virtualised servers. Furthermore, the issue becomes more complicated as there seem to be many different ways of going about this. For instance, some people have spoken about setting up a system with a shared central engine with processes being spawned on other machines, whilst on other occasions people have talked about load balancing the front end servers each with their own copy of OpenInsight.As I understand it, in most cases the virtualisation solution maintains the virtual servers/machines on one or more physical servers and some other solution (or code) manages the inbound user request and the levels of available resources across the virtualised system. This solution then passes the request to the virtual machine with the most available resources at that time.This scenario, especially where front end application servers are load balanced, often requires multiple copies of OpenInsight to be running in multiple locations. In this instance, there is a clear business benefit where users are accessing (or have access to) each instance of OpenInsight. For this reason, the appropriate number of OpenInsight and Universal Driver licenses must be purchased to cover each instance on each virtual server/machine. Again, I would recommend talking to your usual Revelation representative for clarification on your configuration.

Please remember, if there is any doubt about your proposed installation – call your usual Revelation representative with specific configuration details for clarification of what licenses you will need.