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well, that'll teach me not to use a UPS!


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So we had a power flash during a lightning storm last week, (4 separate flashes of <1 second each over a two minute period) My filemaker server box (Dual 1.8 G5 with 10.3.9 and FMSA 7) did not go down during this time, and there were clients connected that didn't get disconnected. So I assumed (stupidly as it turns out) that everything was OK.

I went out of town for the weekend, and upon return I noticed that my main db was unavailable. checking the server logs showed that the server had closed the file down after an unsuccessful backup attempt in the middle of the weekend. I have timestamped, zipped backups so I reverted to a backup from three hours before the storm. It opened fine in FMP, so I put it on the server.

To my horror, the supposedly clean backup closed down within two hours of being served. So I took one from one day before. This one stayed up with multiple users logged in from FMP and web for 24 hours, then the same thing happened again! (At this point I haven't yet brought any data in from the crashed files, so I'm thinking that there's now corruption in my "clean" files :P )

I've now gone back to a file from a week earlier, run that file through file maintenance and saved a compressed copy. I exported the necessary data from the recovered crashed files to separate files, then imported that data into my supposedly clean file.

What has me worried now is what if my FMSA software itself was screwed up by this brownout? Could this be putting corruption into my file? I'm thinking this might be a good time to just do a clean install of 10.4.6, and update my server to the 8v2 disks I have rather than gambling with the old config anymore.

In any case, I'm looking at an APC sua1500 UPS that looks like it has enough juice to keep my server running for 30 minutes at 500W power draw. Does anyone have experience with UPS systems and have any recommendations/advice on best practices for their use (using them to trigger server shutdown after x minutes of power loss etc.)

Thanks in advance for reading my horror story and for any feedback you might have,

Dana

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Don't have much experience with UPS on the Mac but I assume the same functionality as on Windows is available.

What I normally do is have the UPS trigger an OS script to close all the files after 10-15 seconds of power out. Then 10-15 minutes later (give it enough time to kick off users) have it shut down the machine.

The time difference between closing files and shutting down the machine is crucial since users usually don't have a UPS and will get disconnected when the power goes out but FMS will usually still think they are connected. When FMS tries to close the files it will wait for a while trying to contact those ghost users.

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When that BIG east coast blackout happened a few years ago, we learned which of our clients had UPSes and which did not.

You can get a UPS to trigger a shut down on Mac but you will need to talk to someone expert in using Apple Script in how to script server to stop serving and then shut down.

(And when you do get this info, can you post it here? I would like to be able to pass it along to our Mac clients.)

Now, to get clients to back up regularly :wink2:

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I have an APC UPS Back-Ups 500 with the shutdown setup to trigger if there's no power for a minute. I don't remember what I had to do to get it to close the files, but I don't think there was an AppleScript involved. Anyway, I know it works because we had a power outage over a weekend last month, and when I checked the event.log, the files did close properly and the service shutdown.

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So I got my Smart-UPS 1500 (probably overkill for a Dual G5) and it appears that I can use the APC powerchute personal edition, or the built-in OS X support for UPS systems to trigger a system shutdown after a specified time. There does not seem to be a GUI interface to triggering any scripts (shell, applescript, or otherwise) that could communicate with FMS to close the files first.

I'd imagine there is a file somewhere in /usr/bin/somethingorother that probably has a bash script of some kind that tells the system what to do when the UPS triggers a shutdown. I haven't found any documentation for this though so I'm wondering if anyone here has seen such a thing....

In any event, I'd imagine that having the OS try to shut down the server daemon without first disconnecting guests and closing files is still 100x better than just a hard power cut.

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