Chris21 Housekeeping and Archiving to Maintain Your Database
End of year is always a good time to look at doing some Chris21 housekeeping. I see some Chris21 databases that have not seen much housekeeping over the years! This is always evident by the size of the database. For a mid-sized organisation, say 500 – 1000 employees, I think a good sized database is about 2-3GB (gigabytes). This will of course depend on how your organisation is using Chris21. For instance, if you have a lot of attachments to documents then you can expect your database to be larger – and growing all the time.
If your database is bigger than this by a substantial amount, let’s say its 6GB, then it’s a sure sign that you need to start doing some Chris21 housekeeping. I wrote a blog about this a while ago called Chris21 Housekeeping – What You Need to Know. This article has some useful information about housekeeping and also a link to more information about archiving.
To make the distinction, Chris21 housekeeping can be separated into two functions. You use the Background Administrator (FLM) form in Chris21 to manage the file repository. For archiving other files, look at forms such as Archive – Pay History (PHA), Archive – Timesheets (TCA) and Audit Archive (ADA).
In most cases, archiving things such as payroll information and audit information is automated in Chris21 so is quite easy to do. There is also the ability to restore the data if you need it. Just bear in mind with restoring that you will need to restore to the same version of Chris21 that you archived from. An easy way around this is to restore to your end of year backed up database.
In my article Chris21 Archiving – the Pros and Cons, I touched on the issue of users being reluctant to archive because it means that the data will no longer readily available to them. This is probably the major reason for resistance to archiving, along with finding the time to do it! This needs to be weighed up against the possible risks of not archiving. The major risk is data corruption. I’ve seen this happen in the file repository. The file repository stores, among other things, the attachments that you store in Chris21. If the file becomes corrupt it may mean you will no longer be able to access your attachments. Depending on how your Chris21 system is configured, there is a risk of this corruption if you file repository exceeds 2GB. The file repository is held on three files, CHFRA, CHFRD and CHFRF.
It’s an easy thing to push housekeeping into the background and put it off for another day. As a minimum I would suggest keeping an eye on the size of your database. If it does appear to be getting large, have a look at the files and see which ones are the largest. Usually this will be the file repository (CHFRA, CHFRD and CHFRF), payroll history files (EMPIT, EMPIN and EMPIC), and your audit file (CHADD or BAIMAGE). Monitoring your Chris21 database like this will alert you to potential problems that may lie ahead.