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How do you do....it? Thread, SIS locking up / network issue? in Technical; Well, I have another issue I'd like ideas on: Our new student information system (Star Student) has been recently installed ...
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    Question SIS locking up / network issue?

    Well, I have another issue I'd like ideas on:

    Our new student information system (Star Student) has been recently installed and runs on Oracle, using 3 different servers. We access the system through a web browser, though the servers are hosted in our network. (They can be accessed from outside the school system as well). The system uses the Java plugin and requires no higher build than 6 update 7 (of the JRE I believe).

    To make a long story somewhat shorter, the program locks up at various times of the day, for various users. I have Star's support team looking at the server logs to see if there is anything noted on that end of things. We recently rolled out new XP machines to admin staff, and some of these users are noticing this lock up issue; however, not all users of Star with these new computers are experiencing it.

    I'm very weak in the network troubleshooting area (as is the rest of our staff) and would love any advice on how to troubleshoot this area. I either need to pinpoint the problem or be able to conclusively rule this out as a problem; many higher-up staff believe this to be a network problem as we have had sporadic network issues in the past.

    Alternatively, I may be able to run to Java console logger to see if the program is throwing any Java errors. The users don't report any errors coming up; the program simply freezes.

    Aside from whatever the servers may suggest (and any Oracle troubleshooting ideas couldn't hurt), what else can I do? Would a packet sniffer (like Snort?) be an idea?

    Thanks as always.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Something to look it is your switches - what switches do you have? What sort of load do you have on them?

    Setting up a switch graphing system such as Cacti Cacti: The Complete RRDTool-based Graphing Solution would be a start, as you would be able to visualise what the switches are doing and when, in terms of load.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Something to look it is your switches - what switches do you have? What sort of load do you have on them?

    Setting up a switch graphing system such as Cacti Cacti: The Complete RRDTool-based Graphing Solution would be a start, as you would be able to visualise what the switches are doing and when, in terms of load.
    We're running Cisco switches - most areas have powered 3550's. I'm sure we run some version of the Cisco IOS on them; I can find out the actual version if it helps. I'm going to take a look at that software - thanks for the suggestion!

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    We recently rolled out new XP machines to admin staff, and some of these users are noticing this lock up issue; however, not all users of Star with these new computers are experiencing it.
    This could point either to a load issue (server side) or of course a configuration problem with some of the workstations. What browser(s) are you using? If you're using IE8, Java 6 Update 14 is the official release which supports IE8. You could try installing this. I seem to recall Java 6 Update 10/11 were glitchy, so I would avoid using these versions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    This could point either to a load issue (server side) or of course a configuration problem with some of the workstations. What browser(s) are you using? If you're using IE8, Java 6 Update 14 is the official release which supports IE8. You could try installing this. I seem to recall Java 6 Update 10/11 were glitchy, so I would avoid using these versions.
    Michael,

    Good point about the Java version; however, we stayed with IE7. Our SIS company recommends using Firefox which is the default when opening the web links to the application. Unfortunately, they also specify Java version 6 update 7 - other versions can cause stability problems (we did our own testing and found this to be the case as well). Thanks for the 6 update 10 and 11 point - I'll try to avoid those in other areas as well.

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    It seems a little crazy you're stuck on one version of Java. Java 6 Update 7 is years old now and possibly even considered out-of-date or insecure these days. Just so you're aware, Java does have a built in updater, but if you Google the answer you can switch this off using a registry edit or go round each machine and disable it in the Control Panel.

    You also have the problem with FF requiring lots of updating (even more so than IE in my experience) and you risk running multiple versions/revisions of FF everywhere. At least with a WSUS and IE configuration, you can deploy security updates when you are happy it doesn't break anything. You also have the reassurance each user is using the same version of IE too.

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    Does it lock when you reimage computers on the network?
    I know but you got to ask these things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cools View Post
    Does it lock when you reimage computers on the network?
    I know but you got to ask these things.
    Cools,
    If I'm following you: no, we can image systems all day and have no network issues. If you're asking can we reimage the system and still have the problem? Sometimes. =)

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    It seems a little crazy you're stuck on one version of Java. Java 6 Update 7 is years old now and possibly even considered out-of-date or insecure these days. Just so you're aware, Java does have a built in updater, but if you Google the answer you can switch this off using a registry edit or go round each machine and disable it in the Control Panel.

    You also have the problem with FF requiring lots of updating (even more so than IE in my experience) and you risk running multiple versions/revisions of FF everywhere. At least with a WSUS and IE configuration, you can deploy security updates when you are happy it doesn't break anything. You also have the reassurance each user is using the same version of IE too.
    Michael,
    I see your point about Java and agree with you. I should check with their support and see what the restriction is related to - if it's their Oracle DB or servers, perhaps we can update it all the way around. I've seen the Java updater - it should be disabled on our current load but I'll check. Also, the FF updater has already been an issue, though I have a version of the ADM and plan to turn off that setting domain-wide, else like you said, we'll have tons of FF version 3.0.xx's out there.

    If it turns out that FF or the updates are the issue I will definitely see about going back to IE for this software. You're right, it is more managable.

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Setting up a switch graphing system such as Cacti Cacti: The Complete RRDTool-based Graphing Solution would be a start, as you would be able to visualise what the switches are doing and when, in terms of load.
    localzuk,
    I'm trying to load Cacti on a testing Win2008 server box and am having issues getting mySQL to start as a service - just wanted to let you know I'm working with it though. I'll check through their support pages / google for tips.

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