Qantel Product Resources

Implement Good Practices for Smooth QICWARE Administration

Taking a few minutes every now and then for some quick checks can prevent major headaches down the road. This is something that has benefits for every customer. You may never realize the benefit because you have prevented something from going amiss. That’s the whole point! Don’t let "no clear results" be a reason not to make these practices part of your system administration procedures.

1. Review qqlog file
Reviewing the qqlog file periodically can reveal system problems and configuration issues. For example, if you constantly see messages about gethostbyname failures, you most likely have some sort of networking issue – probably DNS related. The problem itself could be on the QICWARE server, on the DNS server, or on client PCs. These types of messages can clutter up qqlog, making it harder to locate “real” issues when they happen.

2. Clear qqlog file periodically
Clearing qqlog periodically makes it easier to look for and find issues when they happen. It also helps keep disc space under control. To clear the qqlog:

A new qqlog file is created when QICWARE is restarted, and you have a compressed copy of your old qqlog should support personnel need it for review.

3. Keep m01.cfig current
Be sure that your configuration file (i.e., m01.cfig) is up to date with current comments for TERMINALs and PRINTERs to aid configuration and troubleshooting. Also, periodically check m01.cfig to make sure you don’t have people configured that are no longer using the system. When adding new users, instead of having to expand your user license, you may be able to re-use no-longer-used licenses.

4. Periodically reboot server
An occasional complete reboot of the server will clean up any left over processes. This is not a requirement of QICWARE, and many customers only reboot after a loss of power.  However, booting every 90-120 days or so isn’t a bad idea.

5. Verify backup
The importance of verifying your tape/DVD/offsite backup has been discussed previously. Backups should be verified on a routine basis, and backup logs checked daily. Please note that with today’s technology and costs, having multiple backup locations is a good idea – for example, have to a physical media on site (DVD/tape) AND an off site service.  You can’t have too many backups.

6. Monitor disk space usage
Running out of disk space can be a very bad thing. Even running low on available disk space can limit our options in assisting you in case of system issues. In general, you should try to keep 20% or two times the size of your biggest file free, whichever allows more free space.  Once you get to only 10% or only the size of your biggest file free, disk space is getting critical and you need to take immediate action. Places to look for space:

7.  Confirm/validate hardware maintenance agreement time/service requirements
Your maintenance agreement/plan with your hardware vendor should guarantee parts and a restore to service within a defined period of time. When does it expire?  Does it meet your current needs? For example, you may have signed up for next business day response. However, your business needs may have changed to the point that a 4-hour response 24/7 is more appropriate. Balance the costs of renewing/upgrading your service agreement with the purchase of a new server that includes a 3-year service plan (and is faster, offers more disk space, etc.)

8.  Clean up spoolers
Jobs in *SPOOL can easily get out of control. Users often print jobs to spoolers and don’t delete them when no longer needed. For example, a user may print something at month-end that they genuinely need until the next month end. When they close the next month, they don’t go back and delete the first job. What’s wrong with leaving unnecessary spool jobs around?

This is not to suggest that you get rid of things you may possibly need. However, our experience is that often many spool jobs that take up disk & spool queue entry space are no longer needed.

9. Keep “non-standard” files off standard directories
Confirm that there are no non-Qantel provided files on your standard Qantel-supplied directories (e.g., SYS, QIC, QCL, RPG, QTX). When a QICWARE upgrade is done, the first step is to remove the logical disks that contain directories. While you or your support representative can take precautions (such as making *XTAPE copies of the directories), this can significantly add to the upgrade time, especially if something like *SPOOL files have been saved to a directory on one of the Qantel-supplied logical disks.

10. Keep software current
Be sure to keep your operating system current and obtain the most recent updates for Qantel products (including QICWARE, PowerShift, and client products such as QIC-PC II, Print Connector, and ODBC). OS updates may be required for certain Qantel updates (this will be noted in Software Announcements), and is critical in this age of potential security breaches. Keeping your Qantel software current has many benefits, including additional features and capabilities (including the ability to take advantage of emerging technologies), and it helps your support representative provide the most efficient support possible.

11. Know your QICWARE version
The current QICWARE version is displayed by *CONSOLE – you’ll need to provide this information to your Support Representative when calling for QICWARE support.

12. Keep password sheet handy
Always keep your password sheet handy. This shows many things: passwords for the products you are licensed for, how many client licenses you have, and the password expiration date. An updated password sheet will be sent to you 30-45 days prior to password expiration. If you do not receive an updated password sheet within 30 days of password expiration, be sure to contact your Support Representative.

These points are intended as a generic "applies to all" list. If you need assistance determining what is appropriate for your installation, contact the Qantel Helpdesk or call us at 630.300.6997.