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APC Java issues cause services to hang

By pmcgrath ·
From APCs Knowledge Base #7202

Problem Summary

In order for PowerChute Business Edition to remain functional, users must upgrade to any version of 7.x. Due to expiration of the Sun Java Runtime Environment certificate, versions 6.x of PowerChute Business Edition will cease to operate normally as of July 27, 2005. Failure to upgrade will result in PowerChute Business Edition no longer providing monitoring and graceful shutdown of your system.

Actually, Its much worse than that. After 4 hrs. of trouble shooting, I finally identified the APC service as the reason many of my services had failed to start on bootup.

It seems that not only does the APC service hang during startup but every service that starts after it, also hangs during startup. Additionally, the service manager mmc becomes inoperable. It will display the services and allow you to open the properties box, but if you try to make a change, that setting a service to manual, it locks up. Also I was unable to stop or start any service. I had to reboot in safe mode to trouble shoot, placing all non-OS services in manual mode, rebooting and testing until I narrowed it down to the APC service. I did not find about the problem until I searched the APC base after the fact.

Needless to say, I?m pretty upset about the whole thing. I?m not big Java fan to begin with, due to past experiences with JVM incompatibilities and broken apps. But to have a perfectly good, stable application suddenly become inop and cause some of my line of business apps become unavailable is unacceptable. Say what you want, Java Sucks! I?m pretty upset with APC for not adequately testing their software and recognizing that could cause an issue with more than just not providing a graceful shutdown.

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Software vendor sabotage.

by stress junkie In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

This sort of thing has plagued system administrators for decades. There have always been software vendors that cause this sort of problem for their customers. I've even seen it multiple times in my beloved VMS operating system.

I remember one instance when I was upgrading a mission critical system running VMS from version 5.x to version 6.0. I had taken a lot of time over a couple of weeks to read the upgrade documentation. I thought that I understood the potential problems and their solutions. Then I ran the upgrade. Unexpectedly the desktop VAXes that ran the new version of VMS could no longer use their GUI interface. VMS v5.x had included a license to use DECWindows/Motif v1.0. VMS v6.0 used Motif v2.0 and did not include a license for this version of Motif. This was not mentioned in the upgrade documentation.

On another occasion I was upgraded VMS from one version in the v5.x series to another version in the same v5.x series. My end users started showing up at my office complaining that they couldn't use the VMS PostScript viewing utility any longer. It turned out that the newer version of VMS did not include the psview utility and the upgrade had removed the previously existing copy. No mention of this was made in the documentation.

I've seen other more serious situations where a third party software product stopped working without warning due to issues similar to the one that you mention in your post. Some mission critical application stops working because the software vendor doesn't get along the producer of a dependent product.

As to Java itself I think that it could have been used productively. Some open source or freeware uses Java to implement an application that runs locally such as a word processor. Java allows the developers to write the application once and have it run on many platforms. This is the potential value of Java. Unfortunately web browsers incorporated the ability to run Java programs. That's bad. It seems like the producer of your application is causing problems for you due to its relationship with Sun. That's bad. I wouldn't blame Java for your problem. I'd blame your application developer.

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APC dropped the big one

by lordjeff In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

I cannot imagine the impact on servers around the world with this ridiculous certificate expiration and Power Chute Business 6.x.

On 8-2-05, We went through the normal process of installing server patches on just one server after testing the patches on lab servers. The server was rebooted and everything appeared normal, no event entries. The next day, we noticed that daily Symantec def file updates were not working properly. Then we tried to use services.msc and of course it locked up when we went to stop or start a service.

since there was no event entries at that time, we immediately suspected the 3 new patches. We tried unininstalling them and when that didnt fix the issue, we suspected perhaps a corrupt def file update from Symantec. We went through the time intense process of manually removing all of symantec server and antivirus registry and file removal. I then came in on Saturday and was confident that upon the reboot it would work. I even went as far as restoring the system state to a week prior to the problem. Not luck.

Fortunately, we came across a post on Sans.org dealing with the APC issue. This morning we booted into safe mode, disabled the apc services and everything else worked just fine.

They should have done a better job on both the back end Java part and in notifying customers of potential issues. I am ready to bring suit against APC for mental health and stress injury!!

Jeff

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APC Java OOPS !!!

by skito1_803p In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

For almost a week our department has been trying to figure out what is causing all our server to stop responding when we tried to restart PC Anywhere. Fly here, rebuild this, fly there rebuild that..then APC sends out a notice that their past incompetence has caused this new problem. Never had a program that required me to via BIOS disable COM1 then unistall the program. Leave it to APC.

Thank you APC for creating such a flaw that your software works much like a Trojan with buffer over-flow and all. Have to even go and change some registry values to remove this garbage from our servers.

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Glad I wasn't the only one.

by pmcgrath In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

Well, maybe "Glad" is not the best choice of words, but you know what I mean. I started this post to try to get the word out. When I was troubles shooting this, I couldn't find any help on the internet. I encourge everyone to post on as many boards as you can. As more servers are rebooted, more administrators are going to want (need) help. Unforutnitly, due to the placement of this product, it will have its biggest impact on the small IT shops.

Thanks for your posts.

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School support nightmare

I look after 42 school sites, each with a server running the APC software. Unfortunately we didn't discover anything until the schools returned from the summer holidays and suddenly we have all manner of different problems. There are only three of us and I am the only person on Admin, my colleagues work on the curriculum side and each of the 42 school curriculum servers had to be visited and the 'safe mode--> disable' option run. It has been horrible and I agree with an earlier post which said they were tempted to sue for the stress caused.

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Almost FDisk the Server

by tsouvanna In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

I never expected the APC services being the cause of all our problems. It all started with Backup Exec Jobs failing because of BE services stopping or failing to start. It got to the point where we were going to basically "nuke" the server and rebuild. Thanks a million for time saving post pmcgrath posted. I remove the APC programs under safe mode. After the reboot, the server was running normally again. We will have to do extensive testing before re-loading PowerChute back. I am going to have to detail this issue in my company's knowledge base.

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Yeah, we got hit with this too...

by andrew.morley In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

Many thanks to pmcgrath et al for all the info.

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APC notified me many times.

by mwcotton In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

As a long time user of APC equipment I keep my registration of all equipment and software up to date. I have received several notifications directly from APC over the past year that PowerChute Business Eddition was going to fail after July 27, 2005. I did due dilagence and updated my servers and had no problems. I would surmise that those users that are having problems have not been registering their software properly. When registering software and hardware always register it with an email address that is going to be permanent and read by IT staff that is knowledgable and responsible for updates. Many orginazations allow users to register hardware and software using their own names and email addresses. When they leave or change their email address the orginazitaion is no longer notified of critical updates. Many years ago I ran into a similar situation where a senior software developer was responsible for reading software update notices from Data General, They had an excelent subscription program that sent out several hundred pages of problem reports and responses every month, as well as media with patches that addressed the problems. This senior developer said "patches, smatches, who needs them, they don't make no difference". Well much to the company shagrin one of those patches repaired a problem with the backup system. When a file was restored that had large blocks of 0's in it they would not get cleared and whatever garbage was on the disk remained. Can you imagine what happened when users restored datafiles that had large arrays of pointers to other data, which could be 0's to indicate that there was no additional data! Chaos ensued untill we contacted over a hundred users and patched their systems. Luckily the problem was only on the restore side so their backups were OK. Just a reminder keep ALL of your software up to date, even those pesky little utilities that keep track of the status of your UPS.

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I'm so glad you posted this!

by markw In reply to APC Java issues cause ser ...

I just wasted 2 days (one of which was on my weekend), and a lot of sleep, trying to work out why I couldn't upgrade one of my Windows 2000 servers and then I found this! Thank you! (full details are at http://www.markwilson.co.uk/blog/2005/10/this-is-why-im-not-fan-of-java.htm)

I hadn't upgraded to PBE 7.x because APC had never e-mailed me to notify me of a problem and services that aren't broken (and that don't have an inbuilt patching mechanism) generally get left well alone on my systems!

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