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Middle-Tier Inflicted Corruption

From: MacGregor, Ian A. <ian_at_SLAC.Stanford.EDU>
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2004 16:27:20 -0800
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I haven't had much sleep lately. The other day someone came to ask why our Financials Peoplesoft database thought it was 1998. I checked to be sure, and the database returned the correct date. I asked them to check the client, which in this case is a Citrix farm. Some of those servers showed the 1998 dates. The maintainer of that system was queried and replied:

"The problem with the clock was due to the old domain controller not correctly synchronizing its time with the new domain controller. Which is another good reason for building a new domain controller. Because the clocks never properly synchronized, when the new domain controller came online to backup the failing primary it came up with a time that was out of date. This has caused the domain time to be out of sync. It was a last vestige of the old domain controller 'OVERLORD'. I apologize for the problems it has caused you. If you have any questions about this please let me know."

Peoplesoft (in-the-head) in their ultimate wisdom decided not to use the date on the database server, but that on the client. I now have these incorrect dates sprinkled through the system. Furthermore some have propagated from parent to child. I spent most of the weekend mining redo logs and believe I have come up with a complete list of the effected rows. One cannot ever be 100% sure. The project leaders for each Peoplesoft module have these. They will be responsible for implementing any corrections

Peoplesoft does not use database enforced referential integrity. However it does employ unique indexes and calls them primary keys. These keys can include dates. If the date of a parent table is corrected in this situation and the children are missed, those children are now orphans. If a child's record is changed and the parent's missed, same thing. If the dates are not changed then reports are incorrect. Perhaps a capital asset get's an incorrect receipt date and the depreciation schedule is thrown off.

With database enforced RI I can find the lineage of a key through all generations, but that is not so easy when it is program based.

I am open to suggestions as to how to best remedy this stituation

Ian MacGregor
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

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Received on Mon Feb 02 2004 - 18:27:20 CST

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