InSight FAQs

When using InSight UI how much history is available?

It’s not based on time. The terminal agent has a fixed-size memory buffer for each device. For keystrokes, it’s more like ' the buffer will hold typically nn keystrokes.' The current value is approximately 50 keystrokes

Additional notes:

The controller agent also has a per-device memory buffer and this buffer may be a different size than the terminal buffer. The controller agent puts keystrokes into its buffer when a terminal is being monitored. If a 2nd client comes up and wants to monitor a terminal, the 2nd client will be given history from the controller agent instead of the terminal agent (in order to minimize POS loop/lan traffic). The controller agent's buffer is flushed when there are no more clients.

We are likely to end up with a couple of versions of the terminal agent: small and normal. The small version may have smaller history buffers than the normal version.

We may make the terminal device history buffer sizes configurable if it seems like default sizes can’t meet the needs of different customers.

We will likely have an optional feature in future versions that allows keystrokes and other device history to be saved on the controller. For example, 'save past n days worth of device history for all terminals for these devices.’

Bottom line is that there is some minimum but what the user actually sees can vary based on several factors.

Some other current defaults for device history buff sizes:

  • 40 2x20 display lines
  • 10 cashdrawer open commands
  • 30 receipt lines (38 chars each)
  • 50 vdisplay display lines (80 chars/attrs each)

Does InSight require any controller background task slots?

No. The default installation will start the InSight controller agent as a hidden process similar to how 4690 starts its DHCP server task (the DHCP server task is used when PXE terminal loading is enabled). Optionally, a user can configure the controller agent to run as a 4690 background task.

Is TCP/IP the only mechanism that can be used to communicate with InSight from outside the store?

Yes.

Does InSight require TCP/IP in the terminals?

No. The InSight terminal agent communicates with the controller agent(s) using a system pipe routing services (PRS) pipe. System PRS pipes differ from application PRS pipes in that no pipe ‘letter’ must be assigned and managed. TCP/IP could be used in the future but only if customers already are using TCP/IP. InSight is specifically designed to run on existing/legacy systems without requiring new hardware or changes to configuration.

How far back is InSight device history available? Can it diagnose a problem from a few days ago?

InSight is capable of supporting 3 history modes: no history, in-memory history in the terminal (default), history logged to the controller.

In-memory history is kept on a device-by-device basis. Each device has its own history buffer. History buffer size defaults are set so that a) in most cases, there is history back to the start of a transaction and b) if there is a problem and the terminal is dumped, there is enough history to figure out what led up to the problem.

History kept on the controller is a feature that we haven’t fully decided how to implement (and that we are looking for feedback on). It is not currently in the planned Version 1 feature set. Here are the kinds of question we have yet to answer: If we were to keep 2 or 3 days history for critical devices (system display, keyboard, scanner, printer?), just how much data is that? How much LAN traffic is it? Would customers need it for all registers always, or would they just turn it on for a register or range of registers when they are trying to track down a problem? Does the InSight ‘snapshot terminal dump’ and in-memory history meet 99% of the requirement?

What are InSight's expected disk, processor and LAN utilization?

Generally, it is expected that customers will set up InSight in a way that it uses negligible amounts of these resources. In an expected typical configuration where InSight’s terminal agent is tracking some device histories but these histories are not being kept on the controller, the terminal agent is expected to run on the oldest legacy hardware (8Mhz 80286 in a 4683) without noticeable effect. Almost no terminal/controller communications takes place between the terminal and controller agents unless monitoring is enabled. With monitoring enabled, there is still only a very small amount of loop/lan traffic. InSight’s terminal agent and device message flow is based on the compression/gathering techniques that QVS developed for its TC product. TC was proven to run 50 general merchandise 4683 lanes running on a 38 Kbps store loop at peak season.