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A Day in the Life of Aloha…The following is a sequential description of what occurs on an Aloha system throughout acomplet...
The master terminal performs the End of Day process; therefore the master must be running. No BOHprograms are involved. EO...
system and makes sure that the transaction log is mirrored in ALOHADATAMIRROR.LOG. The mirrorlog functions as a backup in ...
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01 a day in the life of aloha

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01 a day in the life of aloha

  1. 1. A Day in the Life of Aloha…The following is a sequential description of what occurs on an Aloha system throughout acomplete day. The actual order entry and sales process has been omitted to maximize themore important details.Back Of House Computer (BOH)The BOH computer is setup as a server (not dedicated; domain controller is not necessary) and is given aunique network name (usually including the store number) during Windows installation. The directoryabove the Aloha directory (it could be the entire drive, or just a folder created before installation- .i.eEPOS) is shared as BOOTDRV. The server and all the terminals must log in using a Window’s accountthat has access to al BOOTDRV shares. Normally, the back office is idle, with only the Aloha Managerprogram (AlohaMgr) and Control Service (Ctlsvr) running. The security key must be attached to a parallelor USB port on the BOH fileserver.Master TerminalOne of the terminals in the restaurant is designated as the “Master” terminal and has a special role. Thisdesignation is dynamic and invisible to the end user. The master terminal acts as a sort of arbitrator amongthe terminals on the network, and manages some important network communication tasks. The FOH (FrontOf House) will not function unless the master terminal is up. The master terminal is elected duringinitialization of the FOH software (IBER.EXE). The logic for this election defaults to the lowest numberedavailable terminal.Transaction LogAs each day progresses, transactions are written to a common log located in the DATA subdirectory on thefile server. The log stores all FOH activity that occurs during the current day in a secure format. The logalways grows, never shrinks, since new transactions are constantly appended to the log. Every change tothe system is reflected in the log. The log provides a natural audit trail for monitoring potential misuse ofthe system by employees.Printer logsAll printing for the current day is stored in printer logs also located in the DATA directory, which functionsimilarly to the transaction log. Each printer log contains all printing that has been sent to a given printeron the current day, as well as indicators as to what data has successfully printed. Because of this design,Aloha cannot “lose” printing. Even if all power is interrupted and every computer reboots, printing willresume where it left off.PollingAt user defined intervals, GENPOLL.EXE will run to create polling files for Enterprise.com. These filescontain any new sales and labor information added since the last time the system was polled. These filesare pushed to the data warehouse using the Alohaftp program. After a slight processing time, this newsales and labor data can be viewed on Enterprise.com. While Alohaftp is connected to the data warehouse,it looks for any new corporate data updates and, if any exist, downloads them to the store to be processed atEnd of Day..End of DayThe End of Day (EOD) process is a simple procedure that closes out the sales for a day’s business andstarts the new day’s business with a fresh log. The EOD process is normally scheduled to occur every dayat a certain time, usually late at night after the restaurant has closed. However, EOD may be run at anytime using the manager EOD function, from either the back or front of house. 1
  2. 2. The master terminal performs the End of Day process; therefore the master must be running. No BOHprograms are involved. EOD will not be held up due to servers not clocking out or with open sales. Anyopen sales are closed out to cash, and all employees are automatically clocked out. Virtually the onlyreason EOD fails is when the file server runs out of disk space or an external reason such as a loss ofnetwork stability or power.The following sequence of events occur at EOD: An EOD marker file is created, ALOHADATAEOD, which causes all non-master terminals to go down until EOD completes. All open sales are closed to cash and employees are checked out, then clocked out. A dated subdirectory for the current date of business (as read in ALOHA.INI) is created; i.e., ALOHA20040115 (in American date format). The transaction log is copied from the DATA subdirectory to the dated subdirectory. All system configuration files for the current day are copied from the DATA subdirectory to the dated subdirectory. If the copy was successful, the printer and video logs are deleted from the DATA subdirectory. The LCK files, all TXT files and various CFG files are deleted. Various data files are updated based on the day’s business, e.g., the employee file is updated with any employee passwords which have changed, house accounts are updated with charges for the current day, and DOB is calculated and adjusted. Procrecs.exe runs and adds any corporate updates to the database in NEWDATA. All system configuration files from NEWDATA are copied to DATA (a refresh).When the entire process above has succeeded, a DONE30 (zero bytes) marker file is created in the datedsubdirectory to indicate that EOD completed normally and successfully.The EOD marker file is deleted, allowing the terminals to return to normal operation, wherein they read thedata files again in the DATA subdirectory.After reading the data files, the master terminal attempts to read the TRANS.LOG, and, finding that it doesnot exist, creates a new one.Since the date of business increments each time EOD is run, EOD should never be run more than once perday. If the user runs EOD more than once per day, the date of business may be incremented into the future.This has some unpleasant effects, namely that sales will report as the wrong day of business (which is nowin the future). Setting the date of business backwards is an involved process requiring Technical Support,thus it is strongly recommended that users not run EOD manually, but instead allow the system to run EODautomatically each day.IMPORTANT!!! The EOD process should take not longer than a few minutes to complete. Typically, there are only a few reasons that the EOD could fail: The hard drive has run out of available space Network communication has failed. In this instance, EOD will still complete but the dated subdirectory will be created on the master terminal instead of the fileserver. Faulty power The DOB is not properly coordinated with the system date The master terminal has been shut downAloha Manager ProgramThe Aloha Manager program (ALOHAMGR.EXE) is the program controlling the Aloha’s Back of House.From the Aloha Manager program, the user can start and stop the Front of House, run reports, configurePOS data and perform other system functions. The Control Server program (CTLSVR.exe) monitors the 2
  3. 3. system and makes sure that the transaction log is mirrored in ALOHADATAMIRROR.LOG. The mirrorlog functions as a backup in case anything happens to the regular transaction log. For this reason, andothers, Control Service should always be running.GrindingThe Grinder, GRIND.EXE , is a BOH program which reads the transaction log for a given day of businessand creates a series of openly accessible DBF files which contain all relevant information for the day’sbusiness. This program insulates other system components from the need to understand the transaction log.The Grinder normally is invoked automatically by the CTLSVR.exe program within 30 seconds followinga completed End of Day. If the Grinder is successful, it creates a marker file, GNDDBF30.XXX (zerobytes) in the dated subdirectory where it created the grind files.IMPORTANT!!! It is imperative to understand that the EOD and the grind are two completely separateprocesses! In the event that the grind program is not successful, all terminals, along with the file server,will display a message saying “Waiting to Grind 2004XXXX”, and they will appear to be frozen. Bydefinition, there is no way a grind could be automatically launched if the EOD has not successfullycompleted.Typically, there are only a few reasons the grind fails: CtlSvr has been stopped on the BOH. The “Disable Auto Grind” flag has been turned on. The hard drive has run out of available space. The TRANS.LOG or a DBF file has been corrupted. The security key is missingReportsThe report program RPT.EXE generates standard system reports in the store. The report program islaunched from the Aloha Manager program. Reports can be printed on most printers supported byWindows, and can be viewed on screen before being sent to the printer. During the creation of a currentday report, grind will run to ensure that the report contains real-time data.Reports can also be viewed in Enterprise.com. The ability to view certain reports can be changed by anindividual’s log in. Data can be configured to be viewed by store, store group, region, or for the entireenterprise. 3

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