The Computer Peeps proactively monitor and maintain all of the computer systems for Michele @ Repeat Street in Mississippi. In addition to Repeat Street, Michele also owns Orange Peel and Revolution Consignment.
The primary/database server PC @ Orange Peel started triggering File System Corruption alerts:
Now, File System Corruption can happen outside of hardware failure (e.g. sudden system shutdowns, no battery backup in-place, etc.) but we also monitor the hard disk health. Shortly after the system started triggering File System Corruption alerts, it triggered a sudden and severe Disk Health drop:
The drive is reporting Bad Blocks as well. So combined with the age of the drive (~4 years), File System Corruption, and the clear drop in health, this hard drive is on its way to imminent failure.
This is where a system that’s not monitored, would turn into the following:
‘Out of the blue’ system failure.
Given the age of the computer, we opted for replacement. This system is the database server for Orange Peel, serving data to both itself, as well as a secondary inventory intake workstation.
All of The Computer Peeps’ MiniPeep consignment computer systems are built-to-order. This system will be utilizing a 250 GB Samsung EVO mSATA SSD, 8 GB of Crucial Certified RAM, and an Intel i5 processor. We perform a clean installation of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit on each system, install all system drivers, install all Windows Updates, and properly harden the system via Peeps’ Configuration Protocol, utilizing a combination of Group Policy and industry-standard best practices. This ensures the system remains running perfectly without the concern of “Did an employee change/do something?” and it also is a requirement of the PCI DSS.
We’ve just released the new v2.08 for Peeps’ Consignment & Resale Software! We continue to enhance, update, and improve based on store owners’ feedback + our own over-attention-to detail. 🙂 We know we’re the only consignment software company that stays up late at night, thinking about how we can improve this, enhance that, make this easier, make that perfect for every store, etc.
I wish someone could sit in my seat all day and see just how many calls The Computer Peeps get that seem to be issues with consignment software, tag printers, receipt printers, etc…only to find, it was a power-related issue.
Power — it’s essentially everything. In a consignment store, you might not always have the *best* power available. Whether it’s a limited amount of outlets, older buildings with older wiring, or outlet location (which means things like jewelry case lighting, vacuums, fans, etc. are plugged-in where computers are plugged-in), power-related issues are probably one of the most common calls we receive.
First, here’s a list of some do’s and don’ts:
Avoid those cheap, white, plastic power strips (notice I didn’t call it a surge strip) like the plague. Many of them don’t work and if you have thermal tag printers, thermal receipt printers, and/or laser printers plugged-in to these, they can easily be overwhelmed, which causes your printers to stop working…which depending on your consignment software, causes it to crash or misbehave.
Don’t use extension cords for printers or computers.
Make sure each computer is on a managed battery backup — i.e. one that has a USB cable and software that will email you when there’s a power alert. This alone, has helped us identify issues such as printers plugged-in to a battery backup, so we can help our customers avoid bigger issues down the road.
Never plug-in fans, printers, lamps, vacuums, or anything other than your computer, its monitor, and its USB hub to a battery backup.
Your electrical setup is your foundation. On top of that, your computers, printers, and consignment software all reside. Unstable/overloaded/unreliable power = unstable/unreliable systems. All of the above can lead to Windows damage (which means your computer is down until Windows is repaired/restored/reinstalled), or even hardware damage…and if backups aren’t in place, now we’re talking about losing data, consignor info., sales history, etc.
If you do have to use a surge strip, The Computer Peeps recommend something like this APC SurgeArrest — notice it’s rated for over 3,000 Joules.
For battery backups, The Computer Peeps recommend CyberPower in conjunction with their PowerPanel Business Edition software. Furthermore, label your battery backup like this — you’d be amazed how many issues this prevents: