Housekeeping in Chris21 is a very important area of the database administration that is often overlooked. If you are not aware of the housekeeping processes in Chris21 have a look at the Background Administrator (FLM). This is where you will find all of the general housekeeping functionality that is available to you.
While it is true that thorough housekeeping in Chris21 also includes archiving, this blog will focus just on the features of the Background Administrator process. For more information about archiving, see my blog Chris21 Archiving – the Pros and Cons.
The Background Administrator form is used to maintain the size of the file repository in Chris21. It does this by removing the expired records that you specify. This is very important as the file repository can grow quickly if left unattended.
What is the File Repository?
The file repository can be broken down to three specific functions. Each of these functions uses its own file and together these three files make up the file repository. These functions and corresponding files are:
- Report repository. Whenever a Chris21 user runs a report the output will be stored in the file called CHFRD.DAT. You may already be familiar with the Report Output feature as this is where you go to retrieve a report when it has completed running. By default the system will store each report for 30 days. With many users running reports this file can very quickly become very large.
- File repository. This is similar to the report output except that it stores files used as input for chris21 processes and files generated by reports including any files that appear on the Files tab of the Report Output. This information is store on the CHFRF.DAT file.
- Attachment repository. This is where attachments in Chris21 are stored. This information is store on the CHFRA.DAT file.
These files are stored in your system’s DAT directory. When you look at these files you may be surprised at how large they are, in particular CHFRD.DAT. If regular housekeeping is not performed, this file will quite often be the largest file in the DAT directory.
It is very important to ensure housekeeping in Chris21 is performed on a regular basis as files that become excessively large run the risk of becoming corrupted. The biggest impact of a corrupt file repository is that you may lose access to all of the attachments that you have created.
The most efficient way to manage the file repository is to set your parameters on the Background Administrator and then schedule the process to run on a regular basis. See my blog about Scheduling Reports if you’re not sure how to do this.
The screenshot above shows an example of the settings you could apply to the Background Administrator process.
Once you have set up your schedule the process will run automatically at the time and date you have specified. Review the results of your settings by looking at the size of the CHFRD.DAT file after the Background Administrator process has run. Bear in mind that you can always go back and tweak your settings if the file repository is still too large.
Please note: The repository files will need to be rebuilt to recover disk space. This is a process that your Chris21 administrator will need to perform. The rebuild process actually deletes the data, thus reducing the size of the repository files. For more information about this see my blog Chris21 Archiving – Don’t Forget This Critical Step.