The Basics of Configuring and Using Search Cluster Checkpoints

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Ever have problems with your search cluster getting corrupted? One way to fix it is to wipe it out and reindex everything, but that may take 24 hours. A better approach is to use the feature of scheduling checkpoints to backup your cluster daily, then restoring that checkpoint if corruption occurs.

If your ALUI system isn't set to do daily checkpoints, configure them as follows:

  1. Browse to the portal's admin section, then select the utility "Search Cluster Manager."
  2. In the left navigation, select "Checkpoint Manager."
  3. On the far right, click "Initiate Checkpoint" to open the Checkpoint Scheduler.
  4. Select the "Scheduled" radio button, select today's date, set a time, and set it to repeat every 1 day. Click OK.
  5. After the Checkpoint Scheduler closes, you'll see in the "Checkpoint Activity Status" section when the next scheduled checkpoint will run.
  6. Click "Finish" and your system will then backup your search index daily into checkpoints.

If at some point you realize your cluster is corrupt and you need to restore it, and you've been creating checkpoints periodically, then:

  1. Makes sure all the nodes in the search cluster are started. If one of the nodes won't start, you might want to use these instructions to revive it.
  2. Browse to the portal's admin section, then select the utility "Search Cluster Manager."
  3. In the left navigation, select "Checkpoint Manager."
  4. In the center of the screen you'll see a list of checkpoints. The most recent ones will show themselves as "Available" in the last column.
  5. Click on the checkpoint you want to restore. Its row will change from white to light green.
  6. Click the "Restore Checkpoint" button on the right side of the screen below the list of checkpoints.
  7. Watch the "Checkpoint Activity Status" section to see status. Use the refresh button at the top of the screen to update status. It may show messages like "Node pswwwlab-0301 completed copying - 0%."
  8. When it completes, you'll see in the "Named Restore Status" area something like this:
    Cluster is currently in a named restore state.
    Cluster restored from c:\\bea\\alui\\ptsearchserver\\6.1\\cluster\checkpoints\0_1_0.
    The named restore state - SUCCEEDED.
    The named restore must either be discarded or committed.
  9. Finally, you must "Commit" the checkpoint by using the "Commit" button at the bottom right of the screen.
  10. At this point the search cluster will be restored.

Note that by default, the most recent three search checkpoints are stored. So on the fourth day, the first checkpoint gets deleted. In some cases, you may prefer to have more or fewer checkpoints. If this is the case, then edit the cluster.ini file in your search cluster. Add the following new parameter to set the desired number of saved checkpoints, in this case, 2:

RF_NUM_CHECKPOINTS_SAVED=2

If you're lucky, you'll never need to restore a checkpoint. But you'd better be prepared. So make sure you've set this up!

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