For bulk operations, most administrators will almost find the scripting interface useful as well. All actions in the UI (in addition to a few that are not exposed in the UI) are accessible from within scripts - please see the details page for more info. Click here for a list of business logic accesible thru scripting. There are also many scripting samples in the tomcat_mgmt/webapps/mgmt/ui/help/samples/ folder.


Here are some aspects of the EPICS archiver appliance that should be monitored
  1. Logs - Monitor the logs periodically for Exceptions, OutOfMemory and FATAL error messages. You can use a variation of these commands
    find /arch/tomcats -wholename '*/logs/*' -exec grep -l xception {} \;
    find /arch/tomcats -wholename '*/logs/*' -exec grep -l FATAL {} \;
    find /arch/tomcats -wholename '*/logs/*' -exec grep -l OutOfMemoryError {} \;
    While exceptions in the retrieval and mgmt components could potentially be from user errors, any exceptions/FATAL messages in the ETL/Engine components should immediately be investigated.
  2. Disk free space - Monitor the disk free space in each of your stores (raising alarms if disk usage increases about a certain limit).
  3. Connected PVs - You can use the getApplianceMetrics BPL (see samples/ to monitor the number of currently disconnected PVs. You can then send an email notification to the system administrators if this is greater than a certain percentage or absolute number.
  4. Type changes - You can use the /getPVsByDroppedEventsTypeChange BPL (see samples/ to watch for any PV's that have changed type. If a PV changes type, the EPICS archiver appliance will suspend archiving this PV until the situation is manually resolved.
    1. You can rename the PV to a new name.
      1. Pause the PV under the current name.
      2. Rename the PV to a new name using the /renamePV BPL or the UI
      3. Delete the PV under the current name.
      4. Re-archive under the current name.
      This should now archive the PV using the new type; however, requests for the older data (which is of the older type) will have to made using the older name.
    2. The EPICS archiver appliance has some support for converting data from one type to the other. This is not available in all cases but you should be able to convert most scalars.
      1. Pause the PV
      2. If needed, consolidate and make a backup of the data for this PV.
      3. Convert to the new type using the /changeTypeForPV BPL
      4. Resume the PV (if the conversion process succeeds)
      The /changeTypeForPV alters the data that has already been archived; so you may want to make a backup first.
  5. Maintaining a clean system - Monitoring connected PVs (see above) is made significantly easier if you maintain a clean system. One strategy that can be used is to pause PV's that have been disconnected for more than a certain time. The /getCurrentlyDisconnectedPVs returns a list of currently disconnected PVs and some notion of when the connection to this PV was lost.
    • You can (perhaps automatically) pause PVs that have been disconnected for more than a certain period of time.
    • You can (perhaps automatically) resume PVs that have been paused (obtained using the /getPausedPVsReport) but are now alive.
    • Optionally, you can potentially delete PVs that have been paused for some time and are still not alive.

Backing up your config databases

Each appliance has a config database; typically a MySQL database. This config database contains the archiving configuration; that is, how each PV is being archived and where the data is stored. So, it's good policy to back this database up periodically. For example, one can do a daily backup using mysqldump; this should be more than adequate.

mysqldump -u userid -p password  archappl > /path/to/backupfile 

It is also good practice to validate the backups every so often. Most labs have some scripts that perform some basic validation of these backups. Please ask if you need more info.
Note that because the config database contains only configuration, the database itself should see very little traffic. In fact, if you are not adding any PV's or altering the configuration in any way, you should not have any traffic on the database at all. Each appliance assumes that it has complete ownership of its config database; so it makes sense to have the database as part of the appliance itself. However, it is good practice to store the backup file elsewhere; perhaps in a location that is redundant and is itself backed to tape.

Recovering from a lost appliance

In case you lose an appliance, you can use the backup of the config database to restore the appliance configuration onto a new machine. Simply go thru the install procedure and create an appliance with the same identity as the machine that was lost. This should yield an appliance with an empty config database; you can import the configuration into this empty database using

mysql -u userid -p password  archappl < /path/to/backupfile 

Restarting the appliance after this should pick up the imported configuration. As the JVM can cache DNS lookups, giving your replacement appliance the same IP address as the one that was lost should also help if you have a cluster of machines.

Inspecting the Channel Access ( also PVAccess ) protocol

To troubleshoot certain issues in production, it is often more practical to inspect the wire protocol. For example, to see if the archivers are issuing search requests to the IOC when looking into connectivity issues, it's faster to get a packet capture from production and then inspect the same elsewhere. Michael Davidsaver maintains a Wireshark LUA plugin that can understand Channel Access ( and PVAccess ). Here's an example of this process
  • First, take a packet capture using Wireshark or tcpdump. For example, you can constrain tcpdump to capture packets on the network interface em1 between the archiver appliance and the IOC using something like so /usr/sbin/tcpdump -i em1 'host ioc_or_gateway_hostname and appliance_hostname' -w /localdisk/captured_packets
  • The file /localdisk/captured_packets contains the packet capture and can be copied over to a dev box and inspected at leisure.
  • Wireshark has a very comprehensive GUI and can be used to load the packet capture. Alternatively, one can also use the command line variant of Wireshark called tshark like so tshark -X lua_script:ca.lua -r captured_packets 2>&1 | less
  • Recent version of the EPICS archiver appliance display the Channel Access CID - Client ID, SID - Server ID and Subscription ID in the PV details page.
  • Pausing and resuming the PV during packet capture will also enable the cashark plugin to track the life cycle of the Channel Access channel.