Universal Driver NUL v5.0.0.5 for OpenInsight 9.4 released


Version 5.0.0.5 for OI 9.4 contains bug fixes, an improved UD manager, and a client installer which exposes more UD5 features.

A bug which caused a client to hang upon repeated toggling of the resize service is fixed.

Version 5.0.0.5 supports passing REVPARAM information via a volume pointer or call to ATTACH_TABLE.

Some core system routines including RTP57, RTP49, FIX_LH and RTI_LH_INFO are updated.

The UD client installer replaces the REVBOOT file and installs the UD_MANAGER and supporting components into your OpenInsight. With these changes, the UD manager displays lock and session details in a format of MACHINE*USER*PROCESSID.  This format lets you determine lock holders in a terminal server or O4W environment.

The UD manager window ( MANAGE_REVLH_SERVER ) provides access to sub windows displaying statistics, statistics history, size lock and remake table information.

This version also resolves a long-standing issue with corrupted table header counts and sizes, and includes new options to disable or re-enable automatic resizing of tables.  It also resolves a potential memory leak/overrun issue when running in ‘debug output’ or logging mode, and eliminates “hanging” when shutting down the service.  This should allow sites to terminate and restart the UD without requiring a server reboot.

This is a free upgrade to anyone who purchased a license for the UD NUL 5.X.

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Nice way to start the week


Network ErrorWhen starting a brand new week, with new challenges and goals, there is nothing better than opening your email, clearing out the spam (and I get ‘a lot’) and finding a really nice positive message from a client.

This morning was one of those days.

The Universal Driver (UD) 5.x was originally only planned for release with OpenInsight 10, but because of customer needs Revelation decided to roll it back to support OpenInsight 9.4 and we now have customers upgrading their sites for the brand new reconnect (failover) and Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) capabilities.

Last week, I supplied a key for Aaron to upgrade one of Sprezzatura’s clients who are upgrading their UD 4.x licenses and their UDH 4.x to the UD 5.0.0.4 for VSS and failover.  On checking my email this morning I found the following email, the client’s name has been removed for confidentiality reasons.

“Just to let you guys know, Company is installing the UD5 on their main servers and we’re just in the middle of basic testing now.  Initial impressions from Company are:

  1. With encryption, it seems faster than the UD Heavy.
  2. They dropped server connection for 10 seconds and it stayed connected.
  3. They like the look of the new UD manager over the old one.

All in all, everyone there seems really impressed with it so far.   Good job guys.”

Like I said, it is always nice to come into the office and receive nice positive statements from clients (end users) who are feeling the benefits of what Revelation do.

Things just got a little quicker.


benchtestresultsThis will be my last posting of the day with regards to the new Universal Driver (UD) releases, I promise, no more interruptions to your day from me 😉

Everyone keeps talking to me about performance these days and I wanted to share with you that I have heard a whisper that a test using the UD 4.7.2 (and I believe the UD 5.0.0.4 because that has the same enhancements) is performing better than previous versions during a mammoth testing project.

Testing is on going and loads are increasing, but I’m hearing about 17,000 reads being completed in around 3 seconds.  Obviously different systems will perform differently, but if performance is important to you, then maybe now is the time to take a look at what OpenInsight 9.4 and the Universal Driver 4.7.2 or the 5.0.0.4 can do for you.

UD 5.0.0.4


benchtestresultsFor me, the release of the Universal Driver 5.0 for use with OpenInsight 9.4 was one of the best enhancements in recent times for people running OpenInsight.  It had new features that were sought after by many VARs and end users, and now it just got better with the release of 5.0.0.4.

Now available from www.revelation.com, this new version replaces all previous versions of the Universal Driver 5 and it is available at no cost to anyone who has purchased the Universal Driver 5.  Don’t feel left behind if you have an older version of the UD because we have an upgrade path for anyone running the UD and a new purchase option if this is your first time using the UD to enhance your deployed system.

So what’s all the excitement about?

The Universal Driver 5.0.0.4 resolves a potential memory leak /overrun issue when running in ‘debug output’ or logging mode.

It has also been enhanced to eliminate ‘hanging’ when shutting down the service.  This should allow sites to terminate and restart the Universal Driver without requiring a server reboot.

The new version addresses an issue that recently came to light where the record count and alpha values in the file header can get corrupted when several incomplete latent select / readnext are followed by a complete latent_Select/readnext.  This corruption has the side effect to cause the LK to expand rapidly.  A later complete select/readnext can repair the header and cause the UD to resize the table to normal size.  From the outside it looks like the service is bogging down for no reason.  In extreme cases the resize can crash the service and leave a huge file on the server.  It appears that this is a long-standing issue which may explain some of the issues witnessed by large sites.

The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) feature now pauses the resizing thread and flushes all buffers.  Before 5.0.0.4 there was the possibility of a file being resized during the snapshot and of some new header record counts / alpha values not being written to disk.

Revelation have implemented the ability to pause the resizing thread.  The idea is to let the UD continue to queue files for resizing, pause the resize thread during the day so it does not slow the server, then release the thread in the evening to let the files catch up.

Revelation has also implemented a set-sizelock call inside the UD.  Prior to 5.0.0.4 the fix_lh program must OSBWrite the new sizelock into the header, which is not compatible with using a sharename to isolate the rev files.  The next UD Manager will support this feature.  The goal is to provide fine-grained control of resizing.  In theory you could pause the resizing thread, then view which files are going to resize, and control the order of the resizing by locking or releasing individual tables.

A “feature” where the UD will clear a sizelock of 1 has also been identified and removed in the new version.  Revelation has always stated that you presize a file, set sizelock to 1 and load it with data.  But, the UD clears the 1 on any select / readnext, making the feature less useful.  They have therefore removed this feature from the UD so that it is easier to pre-size tables and to leave them set to expand only.

The Universal Driver 5.0.0.4 software can be downloaded HERE.

Important News about the UD


benchtestresultsIf you are running, or have clients running, multi-user systems based on OpenInsight, there are a couple of postings in the WORKS discussion forum that you will have seen this morning relating to some big changes to the Universal Driver line up.

Because some of my readers are not on WORKS and because these new versions of the Universal Driver have some important fixes and new features that I know most end users will want to take advantage of I plan to write a few separate postings on each piece of news.

In the meantime, I would like to personally thank Bob Carten and Bryan Shumsky and one of my key UK clients who have worked extremely hard in identifying the cause of and correcting an issue in the Universal Driver.  Also, thank you to the team at Revelation who have added some much sought after new features in the UD5 and who have rolled those back for those of you running on OpenInsight version 9.4.

Watch for more coming from me over the next hour or so……

What is Volume Shadow Copy Service-based backup?


Margaret Rouse of WhatIs.com has published an article titled “What is Volume shadow Copy Service-based backup?” that we at Revelation Software would like to share so that you can take advantage of the full potential of the Universal Driver NUL 5.0.

A Volume Shadow Copy Service-based backup (VSS-based backup) is a Windows service that captures and creates snapshots called shadow copies. VSS, also known as Volume Snapshot Service, operates at the block level of the file system and enables virtual server backup in Microsoft environments.

In addition to the service itself, Windows VSS has three major components:

VSS writer: Each VSS-aware application installs its own VSS writer to a computer during the initial installation. The VSS writer tells the backup tool how to back up the application and its data. VSS writers are commonly included within database-driven applications such as Active Directory or Exchange Server. Database servers such as Microsoft SQL Server also contain VSS writers.

VSS requestor: The VSS requestor initiates the backup process. Any application that needs to quiesce data for capture can play the role of VSS requestor. In a majority of cases the backup application acts as the VSS requestor.

VSS provider: VSS providers allow the VSS backup process to work with the system’s hardware and operating system (OS). Providers are modular, and a single system often contains multiple providers. OS providers allow VSS to be operating system-aware. Similarly, hardware providers act as a proxy between the VSS service and hardware components such as storage arrays. For example, a storage-level hardware provider may create the snapshot used during the backup process.

Read On…