Every system administrator, at some point, needs to take an important service like AgilePoint NX server and portal offline temporarily, for scheduled maintenance or for upgrades. This article provides guidance on what to include in a downtime announcement and how to communicate upcoming maintenance windows to your users.
If at all possible, give your users at least a few days’ notice for planned downtime. This gives them enough time to prepare themselves and to mitigate the effect on their work environment. The larger the impact on users, the longer the lead time needs to be. Server maintenance on important systems should be communicated at least a week ahead of time; minor ones a day or two.
For scheduled downtime, select a time that is the least inconvenient for the majority of your users. If your users are worldwide, you’re always going to affect some of them. But if there are time zones with significantly fewer users than others, plan your maintenance around those user counts. Admittedly, this usually means it will be a very inconvenient time for the IT administrators. But it’s better for the company as whole to inconvenience a few administrators rather than large parts of the business.
For AgilePoint NX schedule maintenance, best is to place a notice about upcoming downtime on the home page a few days ahead of time, so that users are able to plan their work around the downtime. Don’t simply put a notice in a Web application that the application is currently unavailable – give the users enough notice to mitigate the effect on their work environment. In addition to this, if possible, communicate the upcoming downtime using multiple channels. Email can be a medium used but it is common for people to ignore maintenance emails so you can also communicate via internal communication methods (eg Microsoft Teams).
AgilePoint NX team already has a mechanism in place to notify people about upcoming downtime for the cloud environment but same mechanism is also available to the OnPrem or Private Cloud customers. All system admin needs to do is to setup some values in web.config file of the portal which is typically located at following location but if you changed the default install location, please change the path accordingly
The values to be edited are shown below
<add key=”ProductName” value=”AgilePoint” /> — You can give any name here which your users might be familiar with. In my screenshot I have put this as AgilePoint
<add key=”NextMaintenanceDate” value=”2015-05-25 11:10 PM” /> — Datetime when maintenance starts which is greater that current time. Time will be in timezone of the server machine.
<add key=”ServiceMaintenanceAlertWindow” value=”2″ /> — How many days prior to schedule maintenance you want the message to appear
<add key=”ServiceMaintenanceLength” value=”4.0″ /> – How many hrs is this maintenance expected to last.
If you set these values, your user when he logs into system will start seeing following dialog
Once user reads it and clicks OK, he will not be shown the message for that maintenance cycle to avoid bugging user all the time.
Also at time of maintenance, you can rename “app_not_offline.htm” file to “app _offline.htm” and it puts portal in maintenance mode and no one can enter if and even people who were already in portal will see the message and as soon as you are done, rename file back to “app_not_offline.htm” and you will be taken to wherever you were before maintenance started. Screen look like this. They can change whatever they want on this screen as this is custom screen and would not get overwritten so feel free to change message and logo if required.