Saturday, November 3, 2012

Smart ways to improve system throughput


This post is about a CopiaFacts utility you may not yet have discovered, DNSUPD.  It provides you with new ways to reduce wasted time on failed faxes (and e-mails), by automating the collection of bad and sub-standard destinations for your do-not-send list. The basic DNSUPD program just updates a do-not-send file, as you might guess from its name, but that's only the start of its cleverness.

DNSUPD will also scan your daily log files looking for particular failure codes, and automatically add the destinations to either your main do-not-send list or a do-not-send list you reserve for these failures. Why keep trying numbers that have already been reported as invalid, but which your colleagues (or your service bureau customers) include in send lists even after they are known to fail?

The program will pull out the numbers for specific outcome codes or outcome classes, from a batch of daily log files which you can select by date. Users of the Job Administration feature can also use DNSUPD to scan completed jobs in the same way. If one of the failures has later been successful on a retry, it is automatically excluded from the scan. So you have a simple and reliable way to avoid wasting fax attempts on destinations that always fail.

As well as faxes that fail because of bad numbers, we are also finding that lower telephone line quality is causing faxes to go through successfully only at lower speeds. DNSUPD can help you here also.  First, you need to set up Variable Groups so that you retry at lower speeds any failures to train at a higher speed.  Just doing that can greatly increase completion rates, but you will still waste resources on unnecessary retries.  But DNSUPD, in its scans of log files or completed jobs, will pick out the highest successful baud rate for each fax destination, and add the destinations which only work at reduced speed to an action list. The action list is then used automatically to reduce the baud rate for those destinations on future faxes, so you do not waste time even trying baud rates which you know are going to fail.

DNSUPD is described in detail in the help file here.  You can experiment with different settings by letting it scan and viewing what numbers it suggests adding, either to a do-not-send list or to an action list. You can do this until you are happy with the settings, without making any changes to the index files until you have the right balance.  And then DNSUPD has yet another time-saving trick: it can pop up a window with your chosen settings in the format of a command-line string, ready for you to paste in either to a job administration end-of-job task list or into your regular monthly housekeeping operations.

When you are ready to try out DNSUPD, make sure you get the current build (8.1.0.117) or later, which has all the latest features described above.