7 Things Administrators Should Know about the QlikView environment
When something is wrong its Administrator’s fault! But when everything is working as expected then its Developer’s magic.This is generally true in the IT world and Administrators are one of the key people for any organization. But unfortunately very few are thankful for their hard work & efforts.
QlikView Administrators are no different from Database or Server Admins. In fact, they have more things to take care because they are the first point of contact for any application issue and presentation layer sits above the database layer. To successfully run the shop, it’s very important to understand and control the environment!
I have prepared a list of 7 things to manage for every QlikView Administrator.
7. List of servers and applications: It sounds simple but most of the time we don’t know enough about our environment. This is the first piece of information you need, right? What servers and applications am I responsible for? It looks weird, when someone from business walks up to you and start talking about an application you never knew existed. It might worry them as to why you have never heard about it. It’s important to have a conversation with your manager/supervisor to understand if you support DEV & QA environments as well. Not just the application you are responsible for. But it’s important to who is managing other servers/applications. This will be very useful when business users can’t get hold of other person and they would approach you for help. They would always see IT as department and this information will at least help you to proceed in right direction.
6. Managing security, Licenses and CAL Assignment: This is one of the most important jobs of the QlikView admin. It’s very important to understand the security architecture of QlikView environment. This covers both authentication & authorization including Section Access. You need to understand the folder structure and the protection of the QVD files. Set up a meeting with the QlikView developer to understand the code to manage Section Access. Also, some of the developers might leave back door open when writing the Section Access script. This might cause a potential threat in future, so remove the back door script to login into the application. Wherever possible, manage the Section Access user list in a secured database table instead of hard coding in the QlikView application or storing in an Excel file. Also, keep full control of license documentation and the expiry dates (if any test licenses). Take ownership of CAL assignment and user management. If “Dynamic CAL assignment” is enabled then keep an alerting system whenever the number of CALs reaches a threshold. This can be done by using QMS API.
5. CPU and RAM Usage:QlikView is all about CPU cycle & RAM usage. So it’s really important to understand the server statistics. You need to monitor both QlikView Server & QlikView Publisher cost to understand the peaks and off peaks. You can use tools like Windows Performance Monitor (Perfmon) and Task Manager. You can use Perfmon counters on CPU & RAM for your analysis. It’s very useful if you understand the behaviour of QVS caching.
4. Critical applications/ reports and concurrent users: As QlikView admins, we treat all the application with equal importance, but some of the applications are more important than others. It’s also important to understand when they are important than others, especially given a particular time of day, week or month. For example, you could have a mission-critical application where everyone in the company would access after 2pm or you could have an application where users will only access during month end or year end. Find out if there is an application ONLY accessed by senior management. So it’s very important to know the critical applications and also the number of concurrent users. Be more pro-active to avoid any performance bottle necks by understanding the critical applications and concurrent users.
3. List of upcoming deliverables/projects: Every admin will hate to know the surprise news, “this application will go live in 2 weeks with 300 concurrent users”. You wanted to minimize the number of surprises awaiting you; know which project(s) are currently planned for deployment. And keep in mind about the resources available in current infrastructure. Flag early wherever possible if there is resource bottle neck. And also maintain a list of action tasks as part of your plan for the deployment. You also want to know which applications will be decommissioned in the near future so that you plan the resources accordingly.
2. Alerts and Surveillance: “Recast your current problems into proactive goals” – Suze Orman. This is true and it’s very important to have some level of proactive monitoring in place. This helps you where to look and what questions to ask when issues arise. If you don’t use the standard monitoring application provided by QlikTech on QlikCommunity then develop your own QlikView application reading the various log files. Users associate you whenever they have a problem with any QlikView application.
1. Backups and Disaster Recovery Plan: Backup strategy and DR planning is essential; these two are different but they are interlinked. Test your backup strategy by recovering and check if you are able to meet the business SLA. Make sure your backups are outside your server. And DR is important not just for your job security, but also for the entire company. Most of the time you need to target mission critical applications. Anyway, you simply need a plan in place for a disaster. If you wanted to feel warm inside then you should always have a Backup and DR plan in place.