This guide is intended to help you use the Hosted Xporter Manager operationally, i.e. once it has been setup and installed for you by Groupcall. If you do not have an existing installation please contact our sales team to discuss support for Hosted environments within your organisation.
Please make sure you have read the Hosted Xporter Manager Introduction to ensure you are familiar with the different aspects of the environment before proceeding.
Hosted Manager - Tab by Tab
1. Hosted Schools
The main management of schools is performed from within this tab.
- Here you will see listed all the schools you have set up within the hosted environment, along with their respective Identifier, LEA code, DfES number and the MIS in use.
- You will also see a summary of the extracts you have in the hosted environment and any tokens in use.
- This tab will be used to add new schools to the Hosted environment via the 'Add Hosted School' button.
- You can also create a new token that will apply to the hosted environment and affect all schools.
2. Hosted Extracts
In this section of the Hosted Manager you will be able to add a new extract (i.e. enable a new set of files to be extracted from your hosted schools), as well as converting existing extracts to run in a hosted environment.
- In order to use an extract in a hosted environment it is necessary to 'convert' it to a set of hosted jobs. During the convert process, all the enabled jobs contained within an extract are pulled down and given a 'Hosted Wrapper' job (in the format HOSTED.$jobname$-job) that knows and understands the hosted set-up. It is these wrapper jobs that are run on the schedule set during the convert process (or amended later) that then call the standard inner job in order to produce the relevant files per bound school.
- It is possible to add a new extract (i.e. one that has never been run on the platform in question) or convert an existing extract to work in a hosted environment. The latter is typically only done on initial setup by Groupcall Personnel. If you want to include a subsequent extract in your environment, the 'New Hosted Extract' button in the Hosted Manager will allow you to add details of the new extract.
- In the left hand pane you will see a list of all the extracts you have in use in your environment; selecting them one at a time will show you a summary in the right hand pane of which instances are running that extract and the schedule to which they are set. Once you have converted or added a new extract, you will need to bind it to the relevant instances. Ensure you 'Save Bindings' before leaving this tab.
3. School Extracts
This tab allows you to control the instance of Xporter with which a specific school runs its extract. There is no requirement that all bound extracts for a school are on the same Xporter instance.
There may be times at which you need to change the Xporter Binding, such as;
- When you have reached the recommended capacity of 100 bound schools on an extract for an Xporter instance.
- If a school changes MIS.
- If you are taking a managed approach to Xporter Instances and need to move a school to allow use of a third party extract.
To see a list of schools in the main pane, select the extract name from the drop-down list at the top left. You can then use the drop down menus on each row to bind one school at a time, or you can use the options at the bottom right along with the check boxes on each row to bind schools in groups.
It is important to use the binding procedure correctly, especially if you have 'Changes' enabled on your jobs or if you are utilising SIF, as the procedure will preserve change markers and SIF RefID's when followed correctly.
- Identify the school to be moved from one Instance of Xporter to another.
- Now select the new instance from the drop down list.
- Select 'Save Changes' and await a confirmation message.
5. Hosted Xporters
This tab is used to enable new instances of Xporter used to accommodate workload. Please note, there is no need to enable an instance per extract or per school.
Create Additional Instance
In the pop-up window, simply select the MIS type required for that instance and choose 'Deploy'.
The drop-down menu will be populated with any MIS values associated with schools already in the environment. If you are adding a new instance for an MIS not already in use, then you can simply type that value in the box, instead of selecting it from a list.
The majority of tasks will be undertaken in the background so whilst this completes, close the Hosted Manager, and re-open it in order to refresh the information displayed in the tabs. You will now be able to use the additional instance.
You can enable SIF transfer of data on a per instance basis.
6. Maintenance Tasks
There are a number of tasks that can be accomplished from this tab.
Dependent on the configuration in place for your organisation, you may have deltas enabled. If deltas are enabled, this means that every time a job is run a marker is placed within the data that indicates when that run took place and any data extracted at that time. The subsequent job run then looks to that marker to see what data has changed and only extracts the data that is different.
If you want to extract full files from schools and get all available data (within the job definitions) you can use the 'Reset Changes' functionality. This can be done on an individual school basis (to give you flexibility) or on all schools (for example at the start of a new academic year when you may like to collect all data, not just that which is different to July!).
To use this functionality simply select the relevant extract from the dropdown list and then choose the school for which you want to reset the deltas and click the 'Reset Changes for School' button. Alternatively you can skip the individual school selection and simply 'Reset Changes (all Schools)'.
Run a Single School
It is possible to run single schools on demand from the 'Maintenance Tasks' tab.
- Select the extract you wish to run from the GCX Name dropdown box.
- This is the main extract and may include individual jobs within. The specific job is chosen later.
- Select the school identifier you wish to run from the 'School' dropdown box.
- If you are unsure which school identifier code relates to the school in question, you can check the 'Hosted Schools' tab for a list of school ID's and school names.
- Select the job that you wish to run.
- If you wish to run all jobs within an extract, you must do one at a time.
- Select the 'Run Extract for School' button and then select yes in the confirmation window.
- You will need to wait for the job to complete. This could take some time based on the job in question. The tool will allow up to 10 minutes for a job to complete, after which it will return a complete message, even if the job is still running.
- You will see a message confirming that the job ran and that no errors were encountered.
- If you do not get an success message, you can examine the Xporter logs.
- Repeat steps above as necessary for each job and school that you wish to run.
Rebuild Schools.sql file
This will regenerate the 'Schools.sql' file for all extracts on all Xporter instances to reflect current configuration and should be used periodically.
Hosted Xporter Manager Bulk Operations
There are several 'Bulk Operations' that can be performed using csv upload.
- Bulk add schools.
- Bulk bind schools to instances.
- Bulk add SIF agents along with specifying their respective zones.
These are detailed in full here.
If you need any further assistance or get in to any difficulty, then please contact Groupcall Support. If the issue affects Groupcall Partner products you should refer to the support arrangements for that specific Groupcall Partner.