Astra Schedule Help (7.5)

READ ME:  The New Control Panel - What's New in 7.5.10

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READ ME:  The New Control Panel - What's New in 7.5.10

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READ ME:  The New Control Panel - What's New in 7.5.10

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What’s New in the Astra Control Panel for 7.5.10

Minimum Upgrade Version

Only Astra Schedule version or later can be upgraded to 7.5.10.  If your institution is on a version prior to, you will need to contact Ad Astra Technical Support to get instructions for doing an interim database upgrade to a later version that can be upgraded.

Installation Folders

The Astra Control Panel is used to install software components needed to run Astra Schedule and Platinum Analytics.  The control panel is installed using an MSI file provided by Ad Astra.  Once the control panel is installed, users may install one or more application instances on the server.  The control panel files are installed by default to C:\Program Files\Ad Astra\[version]\Control Panel.  Multiple versions of the control panel may be installed on the same server.  This is helpful to facilitate different versions of the software being used for testing purposes or upgrading to the next version. 


The control panel will keep a registry of all application components installed on the local server.  This will be used to present a list of currently installed applications and task agents when using the control panel to install, upgrade or modify Astra software components.


In previous versions, the Astra Control Panel did not allow the user to select the folder where the application components were installed.  The components were always installed in a subfolder named after the application instance under the version\instances folder – something like C:\Program Files\Ad Astra\\Instances\AstraProd.  This created some issues with upgrading because the new version of the software was always being installed into a new folder due to the forced folder structure that used the version number -- sometimes excluding customized configuration files, custom reports, etc. 


Starting in 7.5.10, the user installing the application will be able to select the folder where each component will be installed. 


Web Application Files

The web application files will be installed in a subfolder named Schedule under the folder selected. 


Task Agent Files

The task agent files will be installed in a subfolder named TaskAgent under the folder selected. 


Common Files

Both components also create a subfolder named Files under the folder selected which contains configuration files, reports, spoke files, etc.  The files folder also has a Logs subfolder where any log files generated by the application are created.


Upgrading an Application Instance

When upgrading from a version prior to 7.5.10, the user will be prompted to select a new folder to put the application files into.  This is done to break out of the old model where the files were always installed under the folder with the Astra version number in it.


When upgrading from a 7.5.10 or later, the user will select an existing application instance and the folder will default to the folder of the existing instance.  During the upgrade process, the application files in the current folder will be replaced with the files for the new version.  Existing log files, custom spokes, and uploaded room images will be left in their current location so they are properly preserved after the upgrade.


Before upgrading the application, the existing files are backed up to a temporary folder so they can be restored to their original state if there is a critical error during the upgrade process.


Custom Spoke Files

All custom spoke files should be located in either the Files\ATEConfiguration\Spokes\Custom or Files\ATEConfiguration\Spokes\SIS\Custom  folder.  Custom spoke files not in these folders will not be preserved when upgrading.

Upgrading the Database

Data Integrity Check

For 7.5.10, additional integrity constraints have been added to the database to prevent bad data from being entered into the system and to reduce application errors.  Previous versions of Astra Schedule may have allowed data that violates these constraints.  A data validation step is performed prior to upgrading the database to identify these conditions.  Under some circumstances, manual data cleanup may be required.  The data validation step may also be executed separately using the Astra Control panel by selecting "Do not change the application/Run Data Integrity Check" from the main window.  Customers should run this as an initial planning step for the upgrade to allow sufficient time for data cleanup.


There are two modes for upgrading an existing database using the Astra Control Panel:


Upgrade In Place

Copy and Upgrade

Upgrade In Place Method

For 7.5.10, the upgrade in place method has been changed to upgrade the existing database without making a local data backup.  This should greatly reduce the time required to upgrade the database.  In order to recover from critical errors, the control panel will make a backup of the database on the database server. 


NoteNote: The requirement that SA credentials be used to perform upgrades in MSSQL environments was removed for later builds of 7.5.10 and 7.5.11.  The Astra database user is now made the Astra database owner during installation.  Because existing installations will still have the SA user as the owner, an administrator will need to manually make the Astra database user the owner of the Astra database before upgrading a database created with a build prior to or You can use the following commands to change database ownership.  (replace database_name and astra_user_name with values from your environment)


USE database_name

DROP SCHEMA astra_user_name

DROP USER astra_user_name

ALTER AUTHORIZATION ON DATABASE:: database_name TO astra_user_name


Database Backup Configuration

On SQL Server, a backup device needs to be created for use by the control panel. 

For Oracle databases, an Oracle directory should be created and the Astra user will need read/write access to the directory. 

Both will need sufficient disk space to backup the data and schema objects in the database. 

You may also choose to use your own database backup/recovery strategy which does not require any special configuration.  Make sure you have a backup before starting the upgrade.

Copy and Upgrade Method

The copy and upgrade method will work the same way it did in previous versions.  Due to the overhead of making the local data backup and restoring it, this method will generally take 2-3 times longer than the new upgrade in place method.

Installation Summary

At the end of the installation process on the wizard page that shows the install log information, a summary with any warnings or errors along with the context of where the error occurred will be displayed at the bottom so you do not need to scroll through the entire log looking for errors/warnings.  If there are any critical errors that require attention before allowing users to resume using the system, the background will change to a pinkish color to make it obvious that there are issues.  Contact Ad Astra Technical Support for assistance in resolving these issues.