ndOffice Disaster Recovery Procedures

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This article provides a list of items to be aware of when using ndOffice in the cases that 1) the NetDocuments Service is unavailable or 2) there is a loss of Internet connectivity. This is not an exhaustive list of actions and remedies, but it represents the main items that NetDocuments Support encounters. 

To minimize the impact of emergency situations and to maximize user productivity during these times, we strongly encourage our customers to have emergency drills and best practices in the case that connection to NetDocuments is not available, whether through loss of Internet connection or NetDocuments Service-related incidents.

These drills or best practices may include the following: 

  1. Auditing of Echo policies & Internet connectivity 
  2. Training users how to use their Echo folder and add new documents during emergencies
  3. Develop best practices of how to utilize the LD Server and other document syncing utilities
  4. Encourage all users to participate in drills

Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues

If ndOffice cannot make a connection with api.vault.netvoyage.com (where Vault is the service name, EU, or AU are the others) then it cannot communicate with NetDocuments, and your edits may not be uploaded to NetDocuments. There are several reasons that ndOffice might be unable to save the document.

The internet connection is not available

If ndOffice detects that there is no TCP/IP connection possible it will go into offline mode. In offline mode you can continue to work on the document as you normally would. The original document in the Echo folder will remain open and you may continue editing the document. Then, when your connection is restored, you will be able to navigate to the cabinet where you save and save the edits you’ve made while offline.

If the connection is lost while ndOffice is trying to save, we will save the most recent document in a folder called "Backup" inside the ndOffice Echo folder, then go offline (with your permission) and then you will be editing the document in the backup and can save it to disk so you can either close the Office app or continue to work offline. 

To locate the Echo folder, go to the ndOffice icon in your system tray, and click "View Echo Folder." Inside that folder, you will see the backup folder. 

ndOffice also keeps logs of certain activities and errors, which may be useful to provide to NetDocuments Support when troubleshooting. Learn more about retrieving ndOffice Log Files

When the Internet connection is restored, you can check in the document, but you must do so manually; the original Echo or backup copy will not be automatically checked in. You must find the most recent copy from the backup folder OR the Echo folder and then upload it as a new version or overwrite the existing online copy.

You have an internet connection, but something is preventing ndOffice from communicating with NetDocuments servers

In cases of service disruptions or loss of Internet connectivity while editing or saving a document where there is a risk of data loss, ndOffice will place a copy of the most recent document in a folder called "Backup" inside the ndOffice Echo folder. 

To locate the Echo folder, go to the ndOffice icon in your system tray, and click "View Echo Folder." Inside that folder, you will see the backup folder. 

In between your office machine and NetDocuments are a number of intermediate servers. When ndOffice sends a request it waits until it receives a confirmation back from ND before proceeding. Since there may be multiple servers between you and the ND servers it’s possible that something is not working correctly. ndOffice will see these connection problems and retry them a number of times until it succeeds. For instance, it could be a gateway is temporarily down, and in such a case ndOffice will continue to try to make the connection.

If the connection is restored you won’t notice any further issues, but otherwise you’ll be told about the error. If the document was being saved, as mentioned above, it will be placed in the backup location and you will be able to edit offline.

NOTE: If you think there may be a NetDocuments Service issue, check our Service Status pages for more information.

ND experiences a server error while you are trying to look data up, open data, or save data

If a bug prevents ndOffice from doing its job it will take any unsaved data and place it in the backup location.

ndOffice may send a request just as a server in the ND pool is being taken offline for maintenance

In such a case, ndOffice’s standard retry scenario will cause a new request to follow the one that was not “heard” and the load balancer for the ND servers will hand the request to a new server.

If Word closes unexpectedly or your computer loses power

The document will be checked in after the application is closed. Any edits that were saved to the Echo folder before the application closed will be uploaded. The next time you open Word, if Word recovered the document, you can upload those edits as a new version.   

Disaster Recovery Built in to Office with ndOffice Running

Word has three settings that impact special saving considerations in terms of disaster recovery.

  1. If Word crashes before you’ve had a chance to save your document, this setting will make sure that your unsaved data is saved as a precaution against data loss by regularly saving in such a way that should you crash, when you enter the Office app again you’ll be prompted to recover the information. If you have this setting for every 10 minutes, but you crashed after 19 minutes of use, you will still have that first 10 minutes’ worth of data.
  2. The temporary copy of your saved changes is normally thrown away when you exit without saving. If you have this option checked (and both of these are checked by default) then even if you tell Word to not save; if there was auto recover information saved, it won’t be thrown away when you exit. 

With ndOffice installed, option 2 doesn’t work the way it does in Word without ndOffice. With ndOffice installed, the autosaved data isn’t what is saved, but instead the file you are currently working on will be saved as it is in the backup location under the echo folder, even if you don’t ask it to save. You will see that these documents have the word "unsaved" in the title.

Should Word lock up and not be able to save, you will be reliant upon Word’s auto-recover information mechanism, which will work with ndOffice. 

  1. This third option is found under File > Options > Advanced, and always saves a backup of the document you’re saving every time you hit "Save." Then, if you overwrite something you can go back to the previous copy from the backed up saves. Word will remove the previous backup when the next one is successfully saved.

ndOffice will log saves, check-ins, failures, and Doc IDs in the logs so that a journal of activity can be checked when troubleshooting. This is always enabled.

Opening Documents

The ndOffice selection/Save dialog will be inaccessible while the Internet is unavailable. However, in cases of emergency, you can access copies of your most recent online documents from the ndOffice Echo folder. Copy these documents out of the Echo folder to another location to edit them. You can save the new copy as a new version or you can overwrite the existing online copy when the Internet connection is re-established.  

 

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