SmarterTrack 7.x Help

SmarterTrack Failover Funtionality

Who Should Use This

This document is intended for use by system administrators that want to ensure maximum uptime of the SmarterTrack help desk. It provides architecture recommendations and considerations for deploying SmarterTrack in a failover environment. Note: Failover requires activation of SmarterTrack Enterprise with Failover Functionality. For licensing information for this product, contact the SmarterTools Sales Department.

Failover Overview

SmarterTrack Enterprise with Failover Functionality allows organizations to decrease the likelihood of service interruptions and virtually eliminate downtime by installing SmarterTrack on a passive failover server that is always connected to the database in standby mode. For businesses that use their help desk as a mission-critical part of their operations, failover functionality ensures the help desk remains online if there is a primary server failure.

Understanding How Failover Functionality Works

The main components of failover functionality are a primary server that acts as the default SmarterTrack server and manages the licensing of the server cluster and a secondary server that remains connected to the database in standby mode until the primary server experiences problems with network access or system hardware.

If the primary server fails, SmarterTrack will automatically enable the secondary server to active status. When this occurs, the secondary server takes over responsibility for processing background threads and supporting Web interface functionality. This server will remain in active status until another failure occurs or the system administrator manually changes the server status to passive.

SmarterTrack Database Server

System administrators have two options for setting up the SmarterTrack database in a failover deployment:

  1. The SmarterTrack database can be installed and configured on a single database server. Choosing this option means that there is a single point of failure; if the database server fails, SmarterTrack will go offline. In most cases, this setup is sufficient.
  2. 2For additional stability, the SmarterTrack database can be installed and configured on a clustered database server. Choosing this option means that multiple servers in the database cluster need to fail before SmarterTrack will go offline. If a clustered database is desired, the implementation, licensing and deployment of that cluster should be performed under the direction of a database administrator with related experience.

Regardless of the option chosen, it is important that all SmarterTrack servers can connect to the database(s) using the same connection string.

SmarterTrack Data Storage

It is important that every server in the failover cluster has access to the same set of physical files. For this reason, SmarterTools requires storing the SmarterTrack data files on a shared drive using iSCSI or a similar solution. Implementation is discussed in the steps to set up the primary and secondary failover servers (below).

For more information, refer to the knowledge base article How To – Store SmarterTrack Files on an Alternate Drive or SAN.

Setup of the Primary Server

Follow these steps to configure the primary server in the failover cluster:

  1. Download the SmarterTrack installation file from the SmarterTools website.
  2. Run the InstallShield Wizard.
  3. Set up the SmarterTrack database. For more information, see the SmarterTrack Database Server section of this document.
  4. Configure the server to store SmarterTrack data files on a shared drive. For more information, see the SmarterTrack Data Storage section of this document.
  5. Set up IIS. For more information, refer to the knowledge base articleHow To – Set Up SmarterTrack as an IIS Site
  6. Log in to the SmarterTrack management interface as the primary administrator (if you are not logged in automatically). By default, the username is “admin” and the password is “admin.”
  7. Run the Database Connection Wizard.
  8. Run the Company Setup Wizard to begin setting up your company's agents, groups, departments, and brands.

Setup of the Secondary Server

Follow these steps to configure the secondary (passive) server in the failover cluster:

  1. Install SmarterTrack on the secondary server.
  2. Set up IIS on the secondary server.
  3. Configure the secondary server to store SmarterTrack data files on the same shared drive as the primary server. For more information, see the SmarterTrack Data Storage section of this document.
  4. Log in to the SmarterTrack management interface as the primary administrator (if you are not logged in automatically). By default, the username is “admin” and the password is “admin.”
  5. Click the settings icon.
  6. Expand the System Settings and Setup folders and click Clustering in the navigation pane. Any servers on which this license of SmarterTrack has been activated will load in the content pane. To identify which server is the secondary server, look at the Status column. Any secondary servers will be listed as passive or disabled status.
  7. To enable the secondary server to act as a backup in the event the primary server fails, select the secondary server and click Enable in the content pane toolbar. The status of the secondary server will change to passive.

Note: Access to the portal is disabled on passive or disabled servers because issues can arise from two systems functioning simultaneously. To access the clustering settings on a passive or disabled server, go to http://[yourSmarterTrackURL]/login.aspx and log in as the primary administrator. Only the settings area of the management interface will be available.

Manually Activating a Failover Server

In the unlikely event that the automated failover process fails, system administrators can manually designate a server as the active server in the failover cluster. There are two methods to manually activate a failover server:

  1. Log in to the SmarterTrack management interface and click the settings icon. Expand the System Settings and Setup folders and click Clustering in the navigation pane. Select the desired server and click Set Active in the content pane toolbar to make the server the active server.
  2. Go to http://[yourSmarterTrackUrl]/ActivateNode.aspx on the server you wish to make active. Click the Activate Node button to make this server the active server.

These changes will be implemented within five seconds. Note: For security purposes, it is recommended that you restrict access in IIS to the “activatenode.aspx” page so that it cannot be accessed from outside networks.

Modifying Failover Servers

System administrators can add, delete or modify the status of a failover server at any time. Log in to the SmarterTrack management interface and click the settings icon. Expand the System Settings and Setup folders and click Clustering in the navigation pane. Then make any necessary modifications.