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Recital 10 introduced the PIPETOSTR() function. This function operates in a similar fashion to the FILETOSTR() function but it can be used to capture the output from externally executed operating system commands. e.g.
// determine how many Recital users are on the system
nusers = pipetostr("ps -ef | grep db.exe | wc -l")
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The Openfiler NAS/SAN Appliance (NSA) is a Storage Management Operating System / NAS Appliance distribution. It is powered by the Linux 2.6 kernel and Open Source applications such as Apache, Samba, LVM2, ext3, Linux NFS and iSCSI Enterprise Target. Openfiler combines these ubiquitous technologies into a small, easy to manage solution fronted by a powerful web-based management interface. Openfiler allows you to build a Network Attached Storage (NAS) and/or Storage Area Network (SAN) appliance, using industry-standard hardware, in less than 10 minutes of installation time.

Building upon the popularity of server virtualization technologies such as VMware, Virtual Iron, and Xen, Openfiler can also be deployed as a virtual machine instance or on  a bare metal machine.

This deployment flexibility of Openfiler ensures that storage administrators are able to make the best use of system performance and storage capacity resources when allocating and managing networked storage in a multi-platform environment.

Openfiler is ideally suited for use with High Availability Recital applications as it incorporates:

  • Heartbeat cluster manager
  • drbd disk replication
  • CIFS
  • NFS
  • Software and hardware RAID
  • FTP
  • rsync
  • iSCSI
  • LVM2
  • Multiple NIC bonding for High Availability
  • Powerful web-based GUI


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Recital 10.0 introduced the SET DATADIR TO [<directory>] command.. The full syntax is;
SET DATADIR TO [ <directory> ] 
This command is used to specify a  directory where database tables, memos, indexes, and dictionary  files are located. When a table is being opened this directory is searched first before the current directory and the file search path to locate the table and its associated files. This allows the database tables to be relocated to a different file system without the need to change an existing application.
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DRBD (Distributed Replicated Block Device) forms the storage redundancy portition of a HA cluster setup. Explained in basic terms DRBD provides a means of achieving RAID 1 behavoir over a network, where whole block devices are mirrored accross the network.

To start off you will need 2 indentically sized raw drives or partitions. Many how-to's on the internet assume the use of whole drives, of course this will be better performance, but if you are simply getting familar with the technology you can repartition existing drives to allow for two eqaully sized raw partitions, one on each of the systems you will be using.

There are 3 DRBD replication modes:
• Protocol A: Write I/O is reported as completed as soon as it reached local disk and local TCP send buffer
• Protocol B: Write I/O is reported as completed as soon as it reached local disk and remote TCP buffer cache
• Protocol C: Write I/O is reported as completed as soon as it reached both local and remote disks.

If we were installing the HA cluster on a slow LAN or if the geogrphical seperation of the systems involved was great, then I recommend you opt for asyncronous mirroring (Protocol A) where the notifcation of a completed write operation occurs as soon as the local disk write is performed. This will greatly improve performance.

As we are setting up our HA cluster connected via a fast LAN, we will be using DRBD in fully syncronous mode, protocol C.
Protocol C involves the file system on the active node only being notified that the write operation was finished when the block is written to both disks of the cluster. Protocol C is the most commonly used mode of DRBD.


global { usage-count yes; }
common { syncer { rate 10M; } }
resource r0 {
protocol C;
net {
max-buffers 2048;
ko-count 4;
on bailey {
device    /dev/drbd0;
disk      /dev/sda4;
meta-disk internal;
on giskard {
device    /dev/drbd0;
disk      /dev/sda3;
meta-disk internal;

drbd.conf explained:

Global section, usage-count. The DRBD project keeps statistics about the usage of DRBD versions. They do this by contacting a HTTP server each time a new DRBD version is installed on a system. This can be disabled by setting usage-count no;.

The common seciton contains configurations inhereted by all resources defined.
Setting the syncronisation rate, this is accoimplished by going to the syncer section and then assigning a value to the rate setting. The syncronisation rate refers to rate in which the data is being mirrored in the background. The best setting for the syncronsation rate is related to the speed of the network with which the DRBD systems are communicating on. 100Mbps ethernet supports around 12MBps, Giggabit ethernet somewhere around 125MBps.

in the configuration above, we have a resource defined as r0, the nodes are configured in the "on" host subsections.
"Device" configures the path of the logical block device that will be created by DRBD
"Disk" configures the block device that will be used to store the data.
"Address" configures the IP address and port number of the host that will hold this DRBD device.
"Meta-disk" configures the location where the metadata about the DRBD device will be stored.
You can set this to internal and DRBD will use the physical block device to store the information, by recording the metadata within the last sections of the disk.
Once you have created your configuration file, you must conduct the following steps on both the nodes.

Create device metadata.

$ drbdadm create-md r0
v08 Magic number not found
Writing meta data...
initialising activity log
NOT initialized bitmap
New drbd meta data block sucessfully created.

Attach the backing device.
$ drbdadm attach r0

Set the syncronisation parameters.
$ drbdadm syncer r0

Connect it to the peer.
$ drbdadm connect r0

Run the service.
$ service drbd start


Heartbeat provides the IP redundancy and the service HA functionailty.
On the failure of the primary node the VIP is assigned to the secondary node and the services configured to be HA are started on the secondary node.

Heartbeat configuration:


## /etc/ha.d/ on node1
## This configuration is to be the same on both machines
## This example is made for version 2, comment out crm if using version 1
// replace the node variables with the names of your nodes.

crm no
keepalive 1
deadtime 5
warntime 3
initdead 20
bcast eth0
auto_failback yes
node bailey
node giskard

// The configuration below set authentication off, and encryption off for the authentication of nodes and their packets.
//Note make sure the authkeys file has the correct permisisions chmod 600

## /etc/ha.d/authkeys
auth 1
1 crc

// is the VIP (Virtual IP) assigned to the cluster.
//the "smb" in the configuration line represents the service we wish to make HA
// /devdrbd0 represents the resource name you configured in the drbd.conf

## /etc/ha.d/haresources
## This configuration is to be the same on both nodes

bailey drbddisk Filesystem::/dev/drbd0::/drbdData::ext3 smb

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Platforms supported

  • Intel® / AMD™ 32 bit Linux
  • Intel® / AMD™ 64 bit Linux
  • HP PA-RISC HP-UX® 10.20 and above
  • Sun® SPARC Solaris™ 8 and above
  • HP Alpha OpenVMS 7.2-1 and above
  • SCO® OpenServer 5.0.5 and above
  • Sun® Intel® Solaris™ 10 and above
  • IBM AIX® 4.3 and above
  • HP Integrity OpenVMS 8.2-1 and above
  • HP Intel® Itanium® HP-UX® 11.23 and above
  • Mac OS X leopard 10.5 and above

Large File Support is available for Windows, Itanium HP-UX and Linux. 
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Subclipse is an Eclipse Team Provider plug-in providing support for Subversion within the Eclipse IDE. This plugin is required in order to use the recital eclipse workspace.
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STRERROR( [ <expN> ] )


The STRERROR() function returns a string describing the last operating system error message. If the optional error number is specified then the related operating system error message will be returned.


mqdes=mqcreate("/myqueue", 2)
 if (mqdes < 0)
 rc = mqsend(mqdes, "Test message")
 if (rc < 0)

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The SET RELATION Recital Navigational Data Command can be used to link two (or more) tables based on the master index key of the child table.  With a relation active, as you move through the parent table, the record pointer also moves in the child table, automatically selecting the first related record or moving to the end of file if no related record exists.    

open database southwind
// open child table
use order_details order orderid in 0
// open parent table
use orders order orderid in 0
set relation to orderid into order_details
do while not eof()
? orders.orderid, order_details.productid

The code above will display the productid from the first related record, but you will often want to display information from all the related records in the child or detail table as in an SQL Left Outer Join.

open database southwind
select orders.orderid, order_details.productid;
from orders left outer join order_details;
on orders.orderid = order_details.orderid

In this case, we can use a second nested DO WHILE loop, for example:

open database southwind
use order_details order orderid in 0
use orders order orderid in 0
set relation to orderid into order_details
do while not eof()
// Display first or 0 child record
? orders.orderid, order_details.productid
// Display any additional child records
do while not eof(order_details)
? orders.orderid, order_details.productid
skip in order_details

Or we can use the SET SKIP command.  The SET SKIP command can be used with DISPLAY, LIST and REPORT and automatically skips through all the related records in the child table.

open database southwind
use order_details order orderid in 0
use orders order orderid in 0
set relation to orderid into order_details
set skip on
set skip to order_details
list orders.orderid, order_details.productid

LIST and DISPLAY offer a number of keyword options to allow you to configure the display output.  REPORT offers full column based report design.
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This article looks at After Image Journaling and audit trails in Recital using SET JOURNAL and associated commands.


After Image Journaling, used in conjunction with a structured backup policy is an effective disaster recovery solution. Any transaction that takes place on a table that is being journaled is logged in the journal file. In the event of a disk crash or similar event in which the table is lost, the journaled transactions can be reapplied to the latest backup copy of the table. Alternatively or additionally, the journal can be used to provide an audit trail to all modifications made to the table data.

NOTE: Recital also provides Before Image Journaling via BEGIN TRANSACTION / END TRANSACTION blocks, allowing unsuccessful transactions to be rolled back to a set saved state.


Regular backups are an essential routine for any system, but in high-transaction environments restoration of the latest backup can still mean a major loss of data. After image journaling can successfully be used as part of your disaster recovery strategy to minimize data loss and down time. Recital after image journaling functionality is based on the use of the SET JOURNAL and RECOVER commands.

SET JOURNAL TO [<.dbj filename> | ()]

The SET JOURNAL command is used to enable the After Image Journaling and audit trail for the active table. The TO <.dbj filename> clause associates the specified transaction journal file with the active table.  If the journal file does not exist, it will be created.  The filename can be substituted with a <expC>, enclosed in round brackets, which returns a valid filename.  If no file extension is specified, ‘.dbj’ is used. When specifying a journal file, it is recommended that the journal file is stored on a different disk than that which the table is stored on, so that if a fatal disk error occurs, then the journal file will not be lost along with the table. 

//Enable journaling for the southwind!orders table
open database southwind
use orders
set journal to /journals/ord_journ

The <.dbj filename> is a standard table.  It contains seven fields that are specific to a journal file, followed by the first 249 fields of the associated table.

The first seven fields in the journal are:








8 | 10 *


The date on which the transaction was performed.





 The time at which the transaction was performed, in the format HH:MM:SS.





The name of the terminal from which the transaction was performed





The ID of the user who performed the transaction.





The group ID of the user who performed the transaction.





The command number of the transaction performed from the command table below





The record number in the associated table which the transaction was performed on.

* Dependent on SET CENTURY setting.

The AUD_CMD Command Reference Numbers are as follows:





















Since journal files are standard Recital tables, you can use standard Recital commands such as the REPORT command to print audit trails, transaction logs, etc.

//Enable journaling for the southwind!orders table
open database southwind
use orders
set journal to /journals/ord_journ
//.. transactions
close data
//View journaled records
use /journals/ord_journ.dbj

Click image to display full size

Fig 1: Journal Record Example.

The SET JOURNAL TO command without a <.dbj filename> specified closes the active journal file and no further journaling will take place on the active table until the SET JOURNAL TO <.dbj filename> is reissued.

The journaling features are mainly used with shared tables.  It should be noted that there is an overhead in enabling transaction journaling, as records updated in a table are also written to the journal file. When records are appended into a journal file, locking is automatically performed so that multiple users can update the journal concurrently.  The associated table must be opened shareable for this to occur.  Each table can have a journal file associated with it. 

The SET JOURNAL ON | OFF command enables or disables transaction journaling.  This command is primarily used in applications where journaling can be disabled for a certain class of operations. By default, SET JOURNAL is ON, but no journal files are set.

NOTE: Only the first 249 fields of a table can be journaled: subsequent fields are ignored. The maximum number of fields in a Recital table is 256.

RECOVER FROM <.dbj filename> | ()

The RECOVER command uses the journal file to reapply lost transactions to a previous backup of the data after a fatal error such as a disk head crash. The FROM clause specifies the journal file to use. The file name can be substituted with an <expC>, enclosed in round brackets, which returns a valid filename.  If no file extension is specified, then ‘.dbj’ is assumed. 

Regular backups are essential to the successful use of After Image Journaling.   It is also very important to reinitialize the journal file after each backup: either open the journal file as you would a normal table and use the ZAP command, or delete the file completely. If a fatal error occurs, such as a disk head crash, the table and index files must be restored from a backup, then the RECOVER command executed. RECOVER will reapply' all of the transactions in the journal file to the table, and update the indexes.  After the RECOVER command has completed, you can continue with normal processing. 

//Create a backup of the southwind!orders table
//...backup table and associated files
//Reinitialize the journal file
erase /journals/ord_journ.dbj
//Enable journaling for the southwind!orders table
open database southwind
use orders
set journal to /journals/ord_journ
//.. transactions
//Restore the backup of the southwind!orders table
//Open the restored backup
open database southwind
use orders
//Reapply the transactions using the journal
recover from /journals/ord_journ.dbj
//Now, enable the journal file again or
//restart with a new backup

Journaling Memo Fields

By default, memo fields - variable length text fields - are not journaled due to the possible storage overhead of multiple copies of potentially large blocks of text. But, if memo journaling is required, the SET MEMOJOURNAL ON command can be used to enable this.


The SET MEMOJOURNAL command causes memo fields to be journaled when journaling is set on a table. This command allows the optional logical expression <expL> to be evaluated.  If a value of  .T. is returned, MEMOJOURNAL is set ON.  If a value of .F. is returned, MEMOJOURNAL is set OFF.  By default SET MEMOJOURNAL is OFF.

Like a normal Recital table, the journal holds only a pointer to a data block in an associated memo file, not the actual memo data itself. The journal's memo file has a file extension of .dbm rather than the standard Recital .dbt. Therefore, if the journal is being opened as a table, in order to view the journal's memo data, the SET MEMOEXT command should be used.

//Enable journaling for the southwind!suppliers table
open database southwind
use suppliers
set journal to /journals/sup_journ
//.. transactions
close data
//Set filename extension for memo file
set memoext to '.dbm'
//View journaled records
use /journals/sup_journ.dbj


The After Image Journaling enabled by the SET JOURNAL and RECOVER commands can be used in conjunction with a strict backup regime to minimize data loss in cases where tables become damaged or irretrievable. Journal files can be accessed like standard Recital tables and provide detailed information about the transactions applied to a table, so can be used for auditing purposes.

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This link provides a decent covering of this topic.
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