Instrument Manager is a robust program that can run for long periods of time without issue. However, there are some things that can be done to make sure your system is running at peak performance. This month’s Tips & Tricks is the third in a series focused on Preventative Maintenance recommendations, which if followed, can help reduce the risk to the operations of your Instrument Manager system. Following these recommendations may allow you to find issues before they turn into bigger problems that may affect laboratory productivity.
The list of recommendations was created by our Customer Service Team and will help to address some common problems that are reported. This month’s recommendations focus on monitoring of Instrument Manager and hardware systems for indications of potential problems.
MONITOR SYSTEM ERRORS
It is recommended that Instrument Manager be checked daily for system errors. The Instrument Manager Status screen displays the current status of various system features. Some of the errors on the Status screen are non-critical, such as ‘No Order for [Specimen ID]: Message Suppressed’ – this is an indication that no order was placed for the Specimen ID being queried. Other errors could be critical, such as a bug in the driver causing the connection to error. Identifying errors quickly may help prevent unnecessary down time by taking action to address the cause of an error.
To check for errors: from the Instrument Manager main page, click on System Menu and select Status. By default the Errors column will be on the far right of the screen. If the number of errors is greater than zero, select that Connection and then review the details in the Errors window.
If the Errors detail window is not displayed, select the Yellow Triangle with the Exclamation point in it in order to display it.
Example of a non-critical error:
Example of a critical error:
NOTE: In this example, the connection has a Status of Error, this indicates a critical error and the connection is not running.
A support incident should be submitted to Data Innovations’ Customer Service for any error that is not already known and understood. Data Innovations Customer Service will assist in the research and resolution of errors.
MONITOR SYSTEM ISSUES THROUGH HELPFUL DATA ON THE STATUS SCREEN
The Instrument Manager Status screen provides functionality which allows users the ability to edit the view of system functions. For example, adding the ‘Communication Trace’ status will display what traces are turned on. This visibility is useful because running communications traces consumes disk space and should be turned off if the data capture is not necessary. Another useful status to monitor is the ‘Driver version’ and ‘Driver name’ to quickly find drivers that could be updated with a more recent version of the driver.
To add additional columns, select the Field Chooser on the Status Display window, then check the additional fields to be displayed on the Status Display.
Additional customizations can be done as well, from a variety of status choices. For more information on customizing the status screen, search the User’s Guide for keywords “Customizing the Status Display Window”
Is your system running slow? Making sure your Instrument Manager has enough physical memory to perform at the highest level will ensure your systems are not waiting for results or orders when processing samples.
Performance tuning, is accomplished by confirming and setting your Cache Memory properly and should only need to be done once, unless there is a significant change in the volume of samples that are processed or number of connections licensed, in which case tuning should be reviewed and memory settings altered.
Should the Specimen Management Workspace continue to be slow when refreshing windows after Cache Memory has been properly set, the IM_SM database tables should also be tuned. Tuning the IM_SM database tables will increase the performance of the queries that are being performed to display the data. For specific instructions on both types tuning, search the User’s Guide for keywords “Caché Memory Settings” and “Tune Instrument Manager Tables”.
MONITOR DISK USAGE AND DATABASE SIZE
The available disk space on the system should be checked often to ensure a healthy system. If the disk runs out of space it can cause downtime and possibly database corruption. Disk usage can be checked manually by opening an IM client and going to the Reports Menu and selecting ‘Drive Space’ and ‘Usage Report’.
To avoid filling up the disk, by default Instrument Manager will shut down all communication traces once the system reaches 90% and shut down all connections at 95% full. IM Notifier can also be configured to monitor disk usage and send messages when the disk space hits certain milestones. Many IT departments have professional monitoring tools that can be used to monitor the IM server and send notifications.
For questions related to the topics above, please contact Data Innovations’ Customer Support for your regional location.