It’s no secret that properly maintaining your internal technologies is vital to their longevity and your company’s success. The majority of businesses today could not function without them, and smart companies go to great lengths to properly maintain business critical systems. Hardware needs to be maintained and replaced to keep up with increasing demand. Operating systems and databases need constant updating to fix bugs, patch security holes and increase performance. There is no avoiding this requirement which must be done on a regular basis.
One question I am asked over and over, “What should be done with the applications, which rely on these systems to function properly, when routine maintenance is performed?” I advise customers to perform a “soft” shutdown of these applications prior to performing any maintenance. A soft shutdown is simply a deliberate and controlled shutdown or stoppage of the application. I recommend a soft shutdown because although our applications can handle having the rug pulled out from underneath them, say for example, when the database they are connected to is suddenly brought down, the difference is the fallout and what the end user or customer may experience.
With a soft shutdown, no users (internal or external) will be able to access the system. It will be very clear that the application is not accessible and the end user can retry as necessary. Additionally, no errors will be generated in the logs, no error notifications will be sent out, and there will be no chance of partially processed files or transactions which can further complicate processing when full functionality returns. There will be nothing to contend with regarding files which made it half way through the system and now require manual intervention; no questioning what made it through and what didn’t.
Typically, various types of system maintenance are performed during off-peak hours when traffic should be at a minimum. If file transfers are routinely processed during this window, you should have measures in place to handle regular outages such as multiple retries with greater time between attempts. For example, bTrade’s enterprise MFT solution, TDXchange, can be setup to process files in many different ways, one of which is to not process files during a specified maintenance window. Additionally, the number of retries, as well as the time between retries, is fully customizable.
Next time you need to perform any system maintenance, halt any business critical applications beforehand. They will thank you for it.