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Pivotal HTTP Synchronisation Questions

Posted on 2004-09-30
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I am in the process of implementing a Pivotal system for a small number of users (25), and my team are currently experiencing problems with the synchronisation part of the system (as are other people looking at the posts here on EE).

Basically we appear to have sync problems both ways.  Even when we kick-start the synchronisation, it works for a while, sometimes for a few weeks, then fails again.  We see a variety of errors, which we find impossible to replicate in a lab environment.  They also do not appear to be consistent between different mobile clients.

First, what is the best way to check whether synchronisation is working?  I have my techie getting people to create test data regularly, and then going round to see whether it has arrived elsewhere.  She is also checking record counts in SQL.  This all seems rather manual!  Has anyone managed to streamline this process?

We started back in February, with Pivotal 5, Syncstream 3.1 with HF10 (HTTP synchronisation).  This was on a Win 2000 sp4 member server, with SQL 2000 sp3a (NT4 domain with Novell though!).  (Server specs HP DL380 G3 - 2.4GHz Xeon, 1Gb Ram.)  Am I correct in thinking that with this hardware/software combination, this should work?  I recall seeing comments that people should apply at least HF9, and the HTTP synchronisation reliability would improve dramatically.

Unfortunately this did not work, and the finger was pointed at our laptop configuration.  We run Dell laptops with our own configuration of Win XP sp1a, locked down so the user has "User" rights, not Administrator or Power User.  We had to unlock a few strange places, but we got it working (or so we thought).  Does anyone else use Pivotal with locked down PCs? What is your experience in doing so?

We also did an upgrade in August to Pivotal 5.1 and Syncstream 5.1.  Again, I have seen a comment that people would rather build a new server than do an upgrade - should we have done the same here?

Unfortunately we are still having issues despite the upgrade.  We even took a virgin laptop, with the manufacturer's standard build, and with full admin rights.  This did not sync either way, so we now think that it is either the server, or an inherent defect in the software (which is the polite way of putting it!).  Are there any other things which we should check first?

And finally… are there people out there running Pivotal with HTTP sync and getting it to work reliably?  If there are - did it work from the start, or did you go through a period of pain like we are currently experiencing ?

Any comments, or assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated!
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Question by:matthood754
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>>>it works for a while, sometimes for a few weeks, then fails again
This is Pivotal...what has been for the 2 years I supported it.  Until Hotfix 9, this was expected.  You are using HF 10 so that doesn't make sense that sync isn't working at least better for you than evey 2 weeks.  But....you are using Pivotal 5.1 which is not a version I have upgraded to yet, however, this should not cause great problems with sync.

As you have probably seen in my posts, the DSM is the main problem.  You will notice that on your mobile PCs, that the syncstream database is probably backed up...you may see a ton of messages just sitting there.  The syncstream database will never be completely clean all the time as traffic is going to and from your mobile, but you should never see a build up whereas the same messages have been sitting there for a week...assuming your mobiles have made an effort to connect to the network to allow traffic through.

>>>We see a variety of errors, which we find impossible to replicate in a lab environment
Can you send me print screens of each error.  send it to my email address..which you already have.

I have gone through every error possible with Pivotal sync and can pretty much give you documentation of mine that explained the problem I had with each error more than likely.  I have spent hours with Pivotal on the phone for 2 years troubleshooting their errors....conclusion:  it is either that your mobile has a messed up PC (they installed crap on it), spyware....or in most cases just Pivotal software and that's the way it is.  There are of course some errors that can be resolved due to setup problems but most errors are just Pivotal software.

Check with your mobiles.  The first thing I complained about is that our mobiles were running 300mhz laptops when I arrived at this company!!!!  Pivotal cannot run on that type of a laptop.  You need 1ghz processor and --at least-- 1 gb of RAM or else Pivotal will run like a turtle.  You are running SQL Server, Pivotal sync, and more which hogs memory so your mobiles do need a pretty fast laptop.

Check your mobile's hard drive.  If Pivotal sync runs out of disk space, it will crash.  Make sure you give  your mobiles plenty of disk space (40GB or more considering sales guys like to hold MP3s and what not on their PCs even though you tell them not to).   Syncstream needs sufficient disk space or the DSM will halt and you'll find it will completely hose the DSM sometimes to the point where you have to send a new system again because the Pivotal DSM isn't a nice service, it doesn't always just kick right in again and work.....it is trippy.

>>>Does anyone else use Pivotal with locked down PCs? What is your experience in doing so?
Do not lock them down.  They need Admin rights to run Pivotal software.  If you lock them down, sync for sure won't work good....that is my experience and a big one at that.  I think there is software you can get that will allow you to lock them down without hosing the syncstream...get online in their community forum...which is a piece of crap because they lost 2000 messages from the past and any new messages are deleted each week...it is a broken forum and has been for the 2 years I supported Pivotal

>>>We started back in February, with Pivotal 5, Syncstream 3.1 with HF10 (HTTP synchronisation).  This was on a Win 2000 sp4 member server, with SQL 2000 sp3a (NT4 domain with Novell though!).  (Server specs HP DL380 G3 - 2.4GHz Xeon, 1Gb Ram.)  

Your specs are great.  I had a comparable white-box server that I created.  My server consisted of:

ASUS dual AMD processor motherboard
2 AMD processors for a total of around 2.8 Ghz
1.5 MB DDR RAM (Mushkin or Corsair Micro...I forget, not that it matters)
80 GB hard drive space


>>>We also did an upgrade in August to Pivotal 5.1 and Syncstream 5.1.  Again, I have seen a comment that people would rather build a new server than do an upgrade - should we have done the same here?

When I upgraded from Pivotal 3.0 to 5.0, their upgrade path was lousy.  Tons of people were clueless on how to do it because Pivotal never gave you a clear understanding of how to do it.  Their manuals are useless and incomplete....out of order, you name it.  So they had this tool that you could use but no real good instructions on how to use it.  Plus in the past, the  naming conventions they used for their software was throwing everyone a loop.  You can't tell whether you have this BM version, that BM Version, what this software is, etc.  They recently changed their naming Schema because their customers were all so confused.  If your database is not to large and you haven't done a ton of customization (you determine what a ton means), then I highly recommend just dong the agony of installing Pivotal 5.1 on a new server (test server), export all your data from your existing systems (using basic export agents), and then import them all back into the new system.  That was the easiest way for me....very hard work but...at least you can be positive you have a fresh reliable Pivotal system.  Unless they have created a much improved tool for doing this, it will take you at least a month to upgrade properly......it took me a month to do it this way and I'm happy I didn't attempt to use their tool.  You can always also pay them to do it...but they charge a ridiculous amount

>>an inherent defect in the software (which is the polite way of putting it!).  
welcome to Pivotal, you are not incorrect by saying this...there are many issues.  They are a code and run operation.  They do not bug test their software as far as I"m concerned...their customers do it for them and pay the price


>>>And finally… are there people out there running Pivotal with HTTP sync and getting it to work reliably?
The period of pain started with Exchange sync all the way up to Hotfix 9 - 2 years of headaches...literally...I'd hate to come to work knowing I'd have at least 3 mobiles to fix each week and also had to troubleshoot the server, figure out stuff for customization that wasn't documented, you name it

Before I left, I applied HF 9.  It was a miracle....the system is pretty reliable with about maybe 1 mobile per month going down, that is it compared to about 7 mobiles down per month after ever 2 weeks.  2 weeks was the standard time our mobiles would work before they went down also.  If they left for vacation...I'd know that they wouldn't connect to the network and that I'd have to fix them when they came back.  I know you are saying HF10 isn't working so I'd like to know:

1) What do you see on your server:  In Queue, Out Queue, etc. for the mobiles who aren't working?
2) On the Mobile PC, check their syncstream DB...is it backed up?  If so, that is just the DSM not doing it's job and grabbing those messages....this is nothing new and has happened throughout syncstream history...except that this problem (which is the main problem) stopped after HF 9 for me
3) Any other errors or things you are noticing.

I have heard from others that HF 3 was it, HF 6 was it, etc.  But then Pivotal admited that until HF 6, their cusotmers had tons of problems.  But even I know HF 6 wasn't the cure.  It wasn't till HF 9 and 10 that I met about 5 customers (DBAs, etc.) who finally agreed that the syncstream was becoming stable which is the first time in its history.  We need to figure out why yours is not and this is the debate I had for 2 years....can you imagine?

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Some best practices (learned the hard way through troubleshooting Pivotal's software for them for 2 years)

1) Your mobiles need to sync often.  This means they need to connect to VPN at least every 3 days or every week.  They not only need to connect but need to connect for at least 20 minutes.  While it may not take 20 minutes for them to download messages from the server's Out Queue, you need to remember that this is not the only thing that is taking place.  If mobiles are sending changes back...that needs time to get back also.  Connecting as often as possible won't necessarily fix the DSM for good but it will keep it from hickuping all the time because in your case, the DSM is acting like it always does....not doing its job and when you have a ton of clogged items waiting to get downloaded...the DSM will more t han likely idle

2) Run spybot and Adaware.  One time I was getting weird ANM errors (Causing the ANM to blow up) on the mobile caused by an IE exploit that one of these got rid of

3) Do not, I repeat Do not waste your time trying to fix sync if you have spent an hour already.  If you have already done a local repair on either the mobile or server, it is not worth your time troubleshooting sync anymore like Pivotal wants you to do.  They'll have you in the syncstream database deleting this or that, looking at dll files....oh yea!! you bet, you wait...they'll have you digging in your back yard to fix their software's problems.  Simply just send the mobile a new system and move on...you're life will be much easier that way.

4) It is general knowledge (even Pivotal themselves admit it in training 2 years ago) that sync messages are sometimes lost thus causing the DSM to fail...just accept it and move on...don't ask them how or why...they will give you about 10 answers which in turn = a headache

5) When resending a new mobile from the server, be sure to clear out their existing syncstream messages.  I have a query you can run to do so, just ask and I'll send it to you.

6) Do not assume the next Hotfix will be the ticket, just pray and tell your CEO that we can't bet on it but need to try it just because it may be the miracle cure.  Hotfix 100 might be it for you and work just great

7) Take time to understand how syncstream works...get trained by Pivotal..go to vancouver

8) Make sure  you are filtering only what the mobiles need.  In security, make sure there are filters set to filter records that pertain to that mobile group...don't send them all the data for the entire system, that will create a ton of traffic for them and really cause havoc

9) Do not turn on record logging.  This creates again a ton of traffic to your mobiles every time a change is made to a field....you don't want this for sync

10) Apply SQL Server Service pack to both your server and mobiles

11) Check the DSM on the server.  You will leterally have to check this every day.  What  happens and has happened for the last 2 years (and again, Pivotal will tell you this..or did tell me this) is that you'll be looking in REM on the server and it appears that the DSM is fine but it isn't.  You look in services and looks like the service is running fine but it really isn't....yep, believe it.  So if you are  having mobiles where the In Queue or Out Queue on the server for those specific mobiles are clogged (meaning it isn't clearing after a few days), manually stop and restart the DSM in services.  Then check in a few minutes to see if that fixed the problem.  I have had to stop and start the DSM every other day...I have a document where i have print screened this problem every time if you would like to see this.  It is just a routine occurance in which you literally need to keep the DSM running...sounds like an old Ford Truck to me....give it a kick in the ass and it will work...good thing I drive a Toyota now!

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Some specs on us

# Mobiles 12-15
IBM Thinkpad laptops (40 GB hard drive, 1 GB ram, 1.6 ghz processors or around there)
Did our mobiles ever sync often? - no, because they didn't like the system and so I always had this problem to bug them to do it
Mobiles had Admin rights - specifically for Pivotal - I told my network admin to make sure they always do
Pivotal Version: WAM 5.0 - upgraded beginning of 2004
SQL Server 2000 SP 4
Syncstream 3.1 (have not used 5.0) HF 9
Did not use Active Access

Windows 2000 Server was used on my servers

I setup a 3 server environment:

Pivotal Main server - housed the ANM and SQL Database and Pivotal WAM
HTTP Server - housed the DSM and just the Syncstream install and Syncstream DB in SQL Server
Pivotal Web server - used only for Lifecycle Engine for use with Intellisync and Ten Digits Email.  Again, we sent back Intelllisync
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In reference to the "Syncstream Database", you need to check the Resource table...that is where the message queue is and where they'd be backing up if you had that problem.
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that is, check that table on the mobile PC...
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I am here to continue this until we get this resolved for you...let's keep the thread open until we get this resolved for you..sound good?  I think this thread is very valuable to the community who have the same headaches here.
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>>>First, what is the best way to check whether synchronisation is working?  I have my techie getting people to create test data regularly, and then going round to see whether it has arrived elsewhere.  She is also checking record counts in SQL.

I did the same when testing hot fix 9.  For 2 weeks, I tested flow of data to a couple of mobiles which seemed to work fine.  But, with that, you can't tell from that with Pivotal sync if it will maintain its consistency out in  the field.  Like I stated, our mobiles for the most part are doing ok now but about ever month, there is one which fails....no ryhme or reason, it is just the way it is.  The DSM just stops working on their end.  I'd say we went from 20% uptime to about 80% uptime after applying HF 9
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by:matthood754
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Thanks very much for your detailed response to my questions dba123.  I will do my best to respond.

First, things have moved on a little since I posted my original question.  We have pushed the sync problem firmly back at Pivotal and our supplier to resolve as we are (clearly) not the experts!   Secondly a few things have recently emerged over the last few days which may or may not help (I will add further posts over the next few days/weeks as I find out more).  It all came to a head, and we have now temporarily stopped all synchronisation and have reverted to LAN clients until this is resolved.  Anyway, here goes…

1. Usernames in the system.  We have just found that we have a problem with usernames in the Pivotal system.  When employees were first imported into the system, the usernames had an additional couple of space characters appended to the end.  (The usernames have been imported into the table Users, in fields Login_Name and Rn_Descriptor)

I don't know why the source has these extra spaces, and I am also mystified as to why the Pivotal synchronisation worked at all with them present!  It only came to light with a data migration (which caused other issues unrelated to those discussed here!) – when the characters were removed the synchronisation broke.  I hope to establish whether synchronisation stability improves once this issue has been resolved.

2. Locked down PCs.  Pivotal insist that the user has either Power User or Admin rights when using the Mobile client.  This is not something we are willing to contemplate long-term, as the benefits of locking the PCs down generally far outweigh any problems getting software to work!  In addition to giving people only User access, we apply many registry changes either directly during the configuration of the laptop image, or via a policy, which may also have an effect.  The combination of this may be causing a problem, however our initial test with the base manufacturer’s image appeared to rule this out.  

We have agreed to investigate this non-syncing laptop with our supplier next week.  I’ll add more info as I have it.

3. Laptop specs – we use Dell D600s which are plenty powerful enough, with the exception of RAM.  They come with 256Mb, and we will seriously consider adding more to improve performance.

4. Server software – your experience suggests that our server configuration should be stable given the versions of the Pivotal software installed, server specs etc.  I can’t rule anything out, but this does agree with what we are being told by our supplier/Pivotal that the problem is client, not server side.  Your experience does give me some confidence that what we are being told is correct.

5. Comments on best practice – I generally agree with your observations, however:
•      It is difficult to get people to sync regularly if they are either out of the office for an extended period, or if they are on holiday.
•      I had not considered running Spybot or Adaware as internet access is filtered to prevent access to unsuitable sites and our PCs are locked down.  However, something else worth checking just in case.
•      Training is helpful, however on the one course our techie experienced, even the trainer couldn’t get the synchronisation to work reliably!!!
•      Perhaps it would be better to go to Vancouver, but I think my director would probably have a fit (I’m based in the UK)!
•      We have already applied sp3a to SQL on both server and clients.  We did this from the start.
•      We are already checking the system daily, but I really don’t see why we should have to!  This creates an unnecessary burden on our IT team which they can well do without (just like any other IT team no doubt!)
•      Not sure whether record logging is on or not – I need to check.

Finally, I finally managed to gain access to the Pivotal WebBoard system.  It really wasn’t any help with these issues.  It seems to have a lot of older posts, and nowhere near as many as I would expect, but dba123 did say that they had been losing messages.  Finally, I don’t like the way it is split by region – it would be better to split it by product area (or just move to a better site like this one)!!
 
Once again, thanks for your input dba123!
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#1  - Usernames.  I believe the best way would have been to

a) Import the employees from the employee table
b) do not import the users from the users table, instead, make sure that all those users are in the local "Relationship Users" group on the server...then in Pivotal under security, do a "Load database users" instead.
c) Go back and make sure each employee is mapped to the correct user record in the employee record.

this would ensure you have no spaces like that....but I don't recall if I did it this way or if I did import the user table but my instincts say not to import the user table..I'm pretty sure I didn't when I upgraded

>>>I am also mystified as to why the Pivotal synchronisation worked at all with them present!

Because I think (don't quote me) that Sync relies on the username.  If the username in REM shows up with those blank spaces, Sync doesn't care, as long as you setup sync for the username that is shown in REM.  The usernames which show in REM are the same as in the Security tab..so Sync doesn't care if you setup a new system based on a username with spaces....all it knows is that the sync profile is dependent on whatever name is setup in the system...thus in REM.  So, for example, if you were to change your user's domain logon from logonname to logonname2, you would have to go to Security TAB in Pivotal, Load DB users and make sure that employee record is now toied to username2 instead of username (the previous user's username).  so in REM, you do a refresh and username2 shows up.  Then you simply stop sync on username and start a new sync on username2.....Sync is now dependant on username2....it doesn't care if there are spaces after it...that is what REM is telling it is a valid name.

for example...let's say my username in REM was dba123.  Lets then say for some odd reason, yyou think the username in Pivotal dba123 has some sort of problem and just want to recreate the username.  What you could do is rename dba123 to something like dba123333 and then do another load database users and it should bring in dba123.  You now have dba123 and dba123333 in your Pivotal system and thus also in REM after you do a refresh.  You stop sync on dba123333 (which used to be the one that sync was setup for...get it) and then start sync on dba123 (the one you just did a load database users on...the username that was just created).  Now sync is tied to that new dba123 so it doesn't care what the username consists of (spaces, extra characters), all it knows is that it is referencing this name...it is not dependent on the exact domain name anmyore.  since your employee record is tied to dba123 and not dba123333, and sync has been started on dba123....sync will work fine.

I hope this makes sense.

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>>>>2. Locked down PCs.  Pivotal insist that the user has either Power User or Admin rights when using the Mobile client.

I've always known it to be Admin rights unless you get special software to allow Pivotal to work with the Power Users group.

>>>>>the benefits of locking the PCs down generally far outweigh any problems getting software to work!

I completely agree, althought Pivotal could never give me a clear answer on how to get Power Users to work for sync...it always failed

>>>>In addition to giving people only User access, we apply many registry changes either directly during the configuration of the laptop image, or via a policy, which may also have an effect.

What config changes...just Outlook setting changes and other common changes?  No, this should have nothing to do with Sync problems.  let me guess....this is an idea Pivotal put into your head?  What changes are you making besides basic setting changes?  One thing Pivotal does say not to do is to throw a Sync image onto a PC.  What I have always done is installed Sync, Pivotal from scratch on our mobiles...you can't image that or else Sync won't work...mus be installed from scratch including SQL Server, etc. on the mobile user's PC.  After our network admin threw an image on their PC, he handed it off to me where I installed Pivotal, Sync, and SQL Server which is part of it as you know.


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>>>>We have agreed to investigate this non-syncing laptop with our supplier next week.  I’ll add more info as I have it.
This is not the source of your problem.....that is my analysis from experience with sync.
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3. Laptop specs – we use Dell D600s which are plenty powerful enough, with the exception of RAM.  They come with 256Mb, and we will seriously consider adding more to improve performance.

Yes!! you must add more RAM, there is no way Sync can function if you don't have at least 512.....I say more because I know that SQL Server and Sync requires a good amount of RAM to work efficiently.  Plus, aren't you guys spending 2 hours installing Sync, Pivotal, and SQL Server at that rate!!  256 ram is way too low...it would take me a monumental time to install all that with such little ram, even 512 is way too low.   I'd be wondering about your team's resources...hope they aren't spending 2 hours waiting for SQL Server to finish installing with ram that low !

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#4 - you are experiencing the norm...trust me...this is Pivotal....as stated.  All customers go through this hardache and have been...the client DSM simply fails for no reason...don't try to question why, it is their software...that is just part of sync and their software until you find a hotfix that works for you.  Like I said, after HF 9, I met 5 customers who all agreed that sync had changed.  Whereas we were all getting that  problem prior (sync works for about 2 weeks and fails)....the DSM was much more stable for all of use either using HF 9 or HF 10
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•     It is difficult to get people to sync regularly if they are either out of the office for an extended period, or if they are on holiday.

I agree....I got the same resonse from the sales VPs....but my response has always been and has had to be "Yea, but this is Pivotal software....I don't know what to tell you, this is how it has to be or else the DSM will fail".    But with that....that was what I had to say prior to HF 9.  Now the sales guys can go  on vacation with pretty good confidence that when they come back, sync will pick up again and be OK.  For 2 years though, I was not able to say that and had to harp on this....of course like you said, they don't so you  just have to accept that sync will fail if you haven't found that HF 9 or 10 works for you.

•     I had not considered running Spybot or Adaware as internet access is filtered to prevent access to unsuitable sites and our PCs are locked down.  However, something else worth checking just in case.

Again, you will get nasty ANM errors possibly if your client comes across the DSO Exploit spyware item that I believe spybot finds.

•     Training is helpful, however on the one course our techie experienced, even the trainer couldn’t get the synchronisation to work reliably!!!

There you go, just pivotal software...learn to accept it or pray that the next hotfix will work for you....and why did hotfix 9 work for us?  I'll never know but like I said, I do know one thing....HF 9 and HF10 started working for a lot of people which was deviated from the norm

•     Perhaps it would be better to go to Vancouver, but I think my director would probably have a fit (I’m based in the UK)!

You can go, learn about sync, then come back with more knowledge but probably still frustrated because it will not help sync.  You will however be more knowledgeable and have thus less questiosn when talking to support and be less confused....but then the outcome in my opinion is that you'll be more convinced later that it is simply their software.

•     We are already checking the system daily, but I really don’t see why we should have to!  This creates an unnecessary burden on our IT team which they can well do without (just like any other IT team no doubt!)

Again, this is their software.  All their customers ask why why why....this is just how it is, the DSM fails on the server.  They even tell you that in training!  I have had to do this in all versions of sync on my server...new servers, you name it.  The environment is stable.  For the longes time Pivotal tried to blame it on our servers....no way.  The DSM fails on the server..you need to kickstart it even if it shows running....if you see that the Queues in REM are not clearing.  The DSM on the client is a whole other story, it fails when it wants to and you can't kickstart it like you can the server.  If it stops working, you can try a local repair or remote repair but in my experience, you should just resend a new system...don't spend hours and resources troubleshooting a service that will crap out on y ou all the time leaving you wondering a thousand  possibilities which you'll never solve with Pivotal over the phone.
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When I said "the environmetn is stable", I meant ours...the server install, everything was fine
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>>>Finally, I finally managed to gain access to the Pivotal WebBoard system
oh man, don't get me started on this issue.  Let me give you a history of what happened in the past 2 years:

2 years ago:

<br>The forum had 2000+ messages (posts)....very helpful posts
<br>These posts were more helpful then their lousy KBs, many of these posts are commone questions and should be a KB or FAQ
<br>There were not many people participating, very few posts per month

Currently (since about a year ago):

<br>The forum has a problem....big one at that! Did you notice that there are only x # of posts in the Worldwide forum?  That is because their database magically deletes posts....and they lost the 2000+ posts as well.  We have been harping on them to try to get those back but they can't resolve it

<br>The forum still is barely used...most customers don't even know it exists

<br> Yea, I hate the worldwide forums...someone has already suggested in there to make it one...but I bet that post has been deleted also :)

<br> Many people have vouched to create their own forum and stop using PIvotal's.  I tried to get everyone to come here....nobody really takes any action or wants to come here

<br> Pivotal has promised for about 6 months that they were going to fix the missing post problem and that there was a new forum in the works.  Watch that 6 months turn in to infinity just like all other promises for customer interaction.

<br> I have been keeping a lot of posts in my own KB database before they are deleted so if you're interested in them I have them saved for my own reference.
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by:dba123
ID: 12250449
whoops, ingore the breaks
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by:matthood754
ID: 12368239
Time for an update…

We have had our consultant and Pivotal looking at our server.  The opinion now seems to be that it is a server problem, not client.  This follows from some more detailed testing where we found that a standard, unconfigured laptop with admin rights experienced the same problems as we had previously reported with our own bespoke configurations.  Therefore, as you suggested, our locked down configuration has had nothing to do with the synchronisation problems we are experiencing.  I think this even goes so far as indicating that restricting Admin rights is also OK (provided certain key areas are unlocked, such as parts of the windows\system32 directory for Pivotal 5.0), although you do say that you always granted your users Admin rights.

The problem seems to be that the server stops synchronising, and then picks up again later (helped if the DSM is restarted), all for no apparent reason.  Here is an extract from the logs:

>
>After the initial sync the DSM starts sending messages to conversation 16 here:
>
>12/10/2004 13:14:04 DSM created Change message.  Conversation 16 Message 0 Replica 2
>12/10/2004 13:14:04 DSM created Change message.  Conversation 20 Message 21 Replica 1
>
>Then it stops sending messages to conversation 16 here:
>
>12/10/2004 13:19:04 DSM created Change message.  Conversation 20 Message 22 Replica 1
>
>The DSM starts sending messages to conversation 16 again here, once the DSM has been stopped and restarted:
>
>12/10/2004 14:16:18 DSM created Change message.  Conversation 20 Message 36 Replica 1
>12/10/2004 14:16:18 DSM created Change message.  Conversation 16 Message 1 Replica 2
>

There are no error messages to point to the cause, but restarting the DSM seemed to help.  I do have a few suspicions on the server, in that the collation of the server was not the exact default for UK English (it is SQL_Lating1_General_CP1_CI_AS when we would expect Latin1_General_CI_AS).  We also have some other software running on the server temporarily (installed AFTER we started having problems with Pivotal), and this has a couple of unexplained, unrelated glitches which are resolved on it’s live incarnation on another server.

Unfortunately neither our consultant or Pivotal can establish the root cause of the problem.  As a result, we are being advised to build a new Pivotal server (Win 2003 this time), something we will do next week.  Hopefully this will be the end of the matter.

I’ll allocate points on this question now – there are lots of good things in this thread which hopefully others will find useful.  I’ll also see if I can post an update in a few weeks once we have tested the new server (or open another question if it all goes wrong!!!)

Thanks very much for your assistance dba123!
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by:dba123
ID: 12384696
can I ask why you graded me with a B?
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by:dba123
ID: 12384744
>> We also have some other software running on the server temporarily

I had Ceridian running on this server as well...had nothing to do with sync because these sync problems happened on a test server and a previous Pivotal server...again, it is their software.

>>Unfortunately neither our consultant or Pivotal can establish the root cause of the problem

I have gone through this with them over the phone, via remote, etc. for 2 years....exactly, after talking to 10 others, this is how sync is.  It does what it wants for no reason...you can't rely on it which is what I had to stress out for 2 years about because the previous company I worked for thought that there was some miracle that could make it work and they refused to accept the fact that this is how Pivotal sync was....trippy.

I have setup test servers as stated in the posts above just for the purpose of testing new sync hotfixes. Again, same problems happened....has nothing to do wtih your server, trust me.
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by:dba123
ID: 12384757
>>As a result, we are being advised to build a new Pivotal server

Let me assume that this is something Pivoal advised?  As they did for us with Intellisync because they said that there were some values missing in our BM.  We completely installed Pivotal 5 from scratch and it did nothing to get rid of the Intellisync errors all of which Pivotal never could resolve so we sent the product back.  I met 3 others at a Pivotal meeting and they were all complaining about the same errors...go figure.
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by:dba123
ID: 12384763
that is Pivotal's way out... "It must be your server".....keep in mind this will be repeated about 10 times in the next 2 years when you talk to them util you are ready to go crazy.
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by:dba123
ID: 12384819
Let me bring fourth the continues cycle/loop out in the open to everyone who does not have a stable sync.  For those of us who do (and we don't know why and will never know) ignore this:

Sync Problem --> You contact Support --> They remote your server to check every setup option --> They find that your setup is fine, or they find some small item that doesn't even have to do with sync and  probably doesn't have any effect on improving it and tell you that was it --> You redo all your mobiles and send new systems becase sync failed --> You call Pivotal --> This time they say it is your srever --> you check all properties again both on the server and clients, all looks good because you know sync very well after fixing it day in and day out --> Pivotal can't figure out the problem -->  The cycle goes on

conclusion:  do not expect good sync or that you'll find exactly what is causing it, it is probably not your environment.  You maybe lucky that a hotfix unexpectidly helps some day...you don't know why but don't expect anything but problems until you find that magic hotfix.

I can help you answer other questions on setup if needed and if you want info on errors I will continue to answer your questiosn but ultimately I am giving you what most every one of their clients goes through at some point in time if not all the time so don't take this as a "depends on your environment" item, take my statement above as a piece of collective wisdom from many of their clients wrapped in one paragraph.
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by:dba123
ID: 12384844
to this day, Ceridian is running on the HTTP server.  We have good sync after HF 9 as stated before but having other programs may or may not affect sync....I'd say most likely it has nothing to do with your bad sync problems.
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by:dba123
ID: 12384883
>>was not the exact default for UK English (it is SQL_Lating1_General_CP1_CI_AS when we would expect Latin1_General_CI_AS)
I can tell you this isn't it.  What this is, is something that Pivotal suppor grabbed out of the air since he/she couldn't find anything else to tell you.  This has nothing to do with your sync problems.

What hotfix are you on right now?  Have you tried going back to Hotfix 9 instead of 10?
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by:dba123
ID: 12384893
>>>Unfortunately neither our consultant or Pivotal can establish the root cause of the problem.  As a result, we are being advised to build a new Pivotal server (Win 2003 this time), something we will do next week.  Hopefully this will be the end of the matter.

I'd like to know the outcome after you get this completed....please post when you get the results.  I have not tried it on Server 2003 but again, I dont' think that will help....the DSM will still fail.
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by:matthood754
ID: 12419373
I gave you a B grade because whilst you have put forward loads of useful information, I can’t say that it has actually fixed the problems we are experiencing (other than ditching Pivotal – which my business will not contemplate just yet!)  According to the EE guidelines I think I have done the right thing.

We rebuilt the server on Monday – this appeared to go OK, so we are now on Windows 2003 std, with Pivotal 5.1 and Syncstream 5.1.  We are monitoring the situation closely, but early signs are encouraging.  Having said this we will only know if has actually helped in a few weeks after some extensive testing.  Normally in the past every time we do something like this, it looks OK for a couple of weeks, then everything goes downhill.

Only time will tell – I’ll post another note in 2-3 weeks as an update.
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by:matthood754
ID: 12697756
As promised, I thought I had better post another note on progress with the new installation of Pivotal.

I am pleased to say that Pivotal synchronisation appears to be working properly and reliably on the 5 mobile clients we have running.  It has been a bit difficult to test - particularly as our users don't seem to place the same emphasis on testing as we do - however we have no issues to report thus far.

Therefore, Pivotal 5.1 with Syncstream 5.1 on a clean build of Windows 2003 with SQL Server 2000 sp3a does appear to work properly in our experience (whew!).  We can also probably attribute the problems we experienced prior to this rebuild on a problem with the initial server installation/configuration which no-one was able to diagnose, and was not solved by Pivotal upgrades during the summer.  It is a shame we can't pin down the cause, but I am happy to settle for a working system!
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