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IRMIS Overview

"IRMIS is a collaborative effort between several EPICS sites to build a common Relational DataBase schema and a set of tools to populate and search an RDB that contains information about the operational EPICS IOCs installed at that site."  IRMIS (the schema, crawler programs and UI) was developed by Don Dohan and Claude Saunders at APS.  For general information and distributions see the IRMIS home page.



IRMIS is used at SLAC for the following purposes, from several different interfaces:

·         Data source for PV names for AIDA (nightly cron jobs)

·         Data source for element EPICS device names for LCLS_INFRASTRUCTURE (nightly cron jobs)

·         PV and PV Client lists and data (IRMIS gui)

·         IOC configuration and parameters (IOC Info APEX:

·         IOC and application configuration data (IOC Info jsp app: )

·         EPICS camdmp application (APEX app:

·         Archiver PV search application (APEX app: )

·         Lists of IOCs and their PV populations (web page:

·         ad hoc queries using TOAD, sqlplus, pl/sql, perl scripts, or other db query tool.

·         IRMIS crawler logs, with duplicate PV reports:


Elements of the IRMIS database that have been adopted and modified for the controls software group at SLAC:

Other elements of the collaboration IRMIS installation include cabling, device and application schemas.  We are not populating these now...but may in the future.

Elements modified or created at SLAC:




This is a java UI for the IRMIS Oracle database, developed by Claude Saunders of the EPICS collaboration, can be invoked in 3 ways:

1.  from the lclshome edm display:

click the “IRMIS…” button

2.  from a Solaris or Linux workstation:

run this script:


The gui paradigm is a set of “document types”; click the File/New Document menu for the list.  Right now there are only 2 available for use at SLAC:

1.      idt::pv – Search for lists of PVs and IOCs.  This is the most useful interface, and it comes up upon application startup.

2.      idt::pvClient – Search for PV Client lists (alarm handler, archiver, channel watcher)

Query results can be saved to an ascii file for further processing.

IOC Parameters APEX application

This is an APEX application showing IOC configuration data, and various operational parameter snapshots (obtained live nightly using caget).


IOC Info query application

This is a jsp web application containing data about IOCs and applications, and their configurations.


EPICS camdmp APEX application

Various reports listing PVs and their module and channel connections.


Archiver PV query APEX application

Lists of archived PVs by IOC application, IOC.


IOC list report (run nightly)

This html report is created nightly by the LCLS PV Crawler


PV Crawler logs (which include the duplicate PV lists)

a subset here:


SQL querying

A view has been created to ease sql querying for PV lists.  This view combines data from the IOC_BOOT, IOC, REC and REC_TYPE tables.  It selects currently loaded PVs, where IOC_BOOT.CURRENT_LOAD = 1, with the latest IOC boot date captured.



At SLAC, in a nutshell
the PV and PV client crawlers update:

o   all IRMIS tables in MCCQA.  All IRMIS UIs query data on MCCQA: PV and IOC data, and PV Client data.

o   3 production tables on MCCO, which are used by other system – AIDA, BSA applications

Oracle schemas and accounts

The IRMIS database schema is installed in 4 SLAC Oracle instances:

Other Oracle accounts

·         IRMIS_RO – read-only account (not used much yet – but available)

·         IOC_MGMT – created for earlier IOC info project with a member of the EPICS group which is not active at the moment- new ioc info work is being done using IRMISDB

For passwords see Judy Rock or Poonam Pandey or Elie Grunhaus.

As of September 15, all crawler-related shell scripts and perl scripts use the getPwd script (Greg White) to get the latest Oracle password.  Oracle passwords must be changed every 6 months; new passwords will be given to Ken Brobeck to update the secure master password files at password change time.

**The IRMIS GUI and the JSP application still use hardcoded passwords.  These must be changed “manually” at every password change cycle.


Database structure:  see schema diagram below.   (this diagram excludes the EPICS camdmp structure, which is documented separately here:  <url will be supplied>)

Crawler scripts

The PV crawler is run once for each IOC boot directory structure.  The LCLS PV crawler (runLCLSPVCrawlerLx.bash) runs the crawler only once.   It is separate to enable it to be run on a different schedule and different host which can see the LCLS IOC directories.   Also, the crawler code has been modified to be LCLS-specific; it is a different version than the SLAC PV crawler.


The SLAC PV crawler (runSLACPVCrawler.csh) runs the crawler a couple of times to accommodate the various CD IOC directory structures. 

cron jobs

·         LCLS side:  laci on lcls-daemon2: runLCLSPVcrawlerLx.bash: crawls LCLS PVs and creates lcls-specific tables (bsa_root_names, devices_and_attributes), copies LCLS client config files to dir where CD client crawlers can see them.

·         LCLS side:  laci on lcls-daemon2: caget4curr_ioc_device.bash: does cagets to populate curr_ioc_devices for the IOC Info APEX app.  Run separately from the crawlers because cagets can hang unexpectedly – they are best done in an isolated script!

·         CD side:  cddev on slcs2: runAllCDCrawlers.csh: runs CD PV crawler and all client crawlers, data validation, and sync to MCCO.

·         FACET side:  flaci on facet-daemon2: runFACETPVcrawlerLx.bash: crawls FACET PVs, copies FACET client config files to dir where CD client crawlers can see them.


PV crawler operation summary

For the location of the crawler scripts, see Source code directories below.

Basic steps as called by cron scripts are:

1.      run FACET pv crawler to populate MCCQA tables

2.      run LCLS pv crawlers to populate MCCQA tables

3.      run CD pv and pv client crawlers to populate MCCQA tables

4.      run Data Validation for PV data in MCCQA

5.      if Data Validation returns SUCCESS, run synchonization of MCCQA data to selected (3 only at the moment) MCCO tables.

6.      run caget4curr_ioc_device to populate caget columns of curr_ioc_device

** For PV Crawlers: the crawler group for any given IOC is determined by its row in the IOC table.  The system column refers to the boot group for the IOC, as shown below.

* The PV client crawlers load all client directories in their config files; currently includes both CD and LCLS. 

LOGFILES, Oracle audit table

Log filenames are created by appending a timestamp to the root name shown in the tables below.

The major steps in the crawler jobs write entries into the Oracle CONTROLS_GLOBAL.DATA_VALIDATION_AUDIT table.  Each entry has these attributes:

o   Instance

o   Schema

o   Process

o   Stage

o   Status

o   Message

o   TOD (time of day)

(see below for details on querying this table)

Descriptions of the MAIN scripts (there other subsidiary scripts as well):

these are all ultimately invoked from the cron jobs shown above; the cron scripts call the others.

BLUE script names are on the CD side

GREEN script names are on the LCLS side

PURPLE script names are on the FACET side

script name



in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script


·         SLAC PV crawler

·         all client crawlers

·         rec client cleanup

·         data validation for all current crawl data (LCLS and CD)

·         sync to MCCO

Logfile: /nfs/slac/g/cd/log/irmis/pv/ CDCrawlerAll.log


in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script

run by runAllCDCrawlers.csh: crawls NLCTA IOCs (previously handled PEPII IOCs)

The PV crawler is run 4 times within this script to accommodate the various boot directory structures:


IOCs crawled

log files



IOCs booted from $CD_IOC on gtw00.   Boot dirs mirrored to /nfs/mccfs0/u1/pepii/mirror/cd/ioc for crawling




TR01 only (old boot structure)




in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/


crawls LCLS IOCs


IOCs crawled

log files


LCLS PRODUCTION IOCs.  all IOC dirs in $IOC /usr/local/lcls/epics/iocCommon


/tmp/ LCLSPVCrawl.log


in /usr/local/facet/tools/irmis/script/

crawls FACET IOCs


IOCs crawled

log files


FACET PRODUCTION IOCs.  all IOC dirs in facet $IOC /usr/local/facet/epics/iocCommon


/tmp/ FACETPVCrawl.log


in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_utils


individual client crawler scripts are here

in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script


Runs PV client crawlers in sequence. LCLS client config files are all scp-ed to /nfs/slac/g/cd/crawler/lcls*Configs for crawling

Client crawler

config file with list of directories/files crawled

log files





Channel Watcher (CW)




Channel Archiver (CAR)


note: all CAR files for LCLS are scp-ed over from lcls-archsrv to /nfs/slac/g/cd/crawler/lclsCARConfigs for crawling



Also runs for clients that don't handle vuri_rec_client_type records (sequence crawler only, at the moment)


in in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script

deletes all non-current rec client, rec client flag and vuri rows.  Logs to /nfs/slac/g/cd/log/irmis/client_cleanupLOG.*


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/

for LCLS and FACET only, populate the devices_and_attributes table, a list of device names and attributes based on the LCLS PV naming convention.  For PV DEV:AREA:UNIT:ATTRIBUTE, DEV:AREA:UNIT is the device, ATTRIBUTE is the attribute.


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/

loads bsa_root_names table by running stored procedure LOAD_BSA_ROOT_NAMES.  LCLS and FACET names.


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/


in /usr/local/facet/tools/irmis/script/

runs at the end of the LCLS PV crawl, which is last, creates the web ioc report :


in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script

refreshes materialized view from curr_pvs


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/


in /usr/local/facet/tools/irmis/script/

finds duplicate PVs for reporting to e-mail

(the –all version takes system as a parameter)


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/


in /usr/local/facet/tools/irmis/script/

copies alh, cw and car config files to /nfs for crawling by the client crawler job


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/

refreshes the curr_ioc_device table with currently booted info from ioc_device (speeds up query in the Archiver PV APEX app)  Also see caget4curr_ioc_device.bash below.


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/


in /usr/local/facet/tools/irmis/script/

finds the IOCs with PV counts that changed in the last LCLS crawler run.  This is reported in the logfile, and in the daily e-mail.

(the –all version takes system as a parameter)





in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/

set of script to populate various tables for the EPICS camdmp APEX application.


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/


in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script

write_data_validation_row-facet.bash in /usr/local/facet/tools/irmis/script/


writes a row to the controls_global.data_validation_audit table (all environments)



in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script

runs – CD and LCLS PV data validation


in /afs/slac/g/cd/soft/tools/irmis/cd_script

runs data replication to MCCO, currently these objects ONLY:

·         curr_pvs

·         bsa_root_names

·         devices_and_attributes


in /usr/local/lcls/tools/irmis/script/

does cagets to obtain IOC parameters for the curr_ioc_device table.  Run as a separate cron job from the crawlers because cagets can hang unexpectedly – they are best done in an isolated script!



Crawler cron schedule and error reporting



cron owner/host

8 pm



9 pm



1:30 am



4 am



Following the crawls, the calling scripts grep for errors and warnings, and send lists of these to Judy Rock, Bob Hall and Ernest Williams, Jingchen Zhou.  The LCLS PV crawler and the Data Validation scripts send messages to controls-software-reports as well.  To track down the error messages in the e-mail, refer to the logs file du jour, the cron job /tmp output files, and the Oracle CONTROLS_GLOBAL.DATA_VALIDATION_AUDIT (see below for details on how to query this)


Source directories


cvs root

production directory tree root


IRMIS software

SLAC code has diverged from the original collaboration version, and LCLS IRMIS code has diverged from the main SLAC code (i.e. we have 2 different version of the IRMIS PV crawler.)

CD: /afs/slac/package/epics/tools/irmisV2_SLAC



Please note different CVS location: the production directory for the LCLS crawlers is /usr/local/lcls/package/irmis/irmisV2_SLAC/. the LCLS "package" dir structure is NOT in CVSed. So, to modify crawler code, you can cvs co the code, modify, test, copy the mods straight into production, then CVS them.

CVS location is in tools/irmis/crawler_code_CVS





·         db/src/crawlers contains crawler source code.  SLAC-specific crawlers are in directories named *SLAC

·         apps/src contains UI source code.

·         apps/build.xml is the ant build file

·         README shows how to build the UI app using ant

CD scripts

For ease and clarity, the CD scripts are also in the LCLS CVS repository under

tools/irmis/cd_script, cd_utils, cd_config


·         cd_script contains most scripts

·         cd_utils has a few scripts

·         cd_config contains client crawler directory lists

LCLS scripts



·         script contains the LCLS pv crawler run scripts, etc.

·         util has some subsidiary scripts

FACET scripts

These scripts share the LCLS repository (different names so they don’t collide with LCLS scripts)


·         script contains the FACET pv crawler run scripts, etc.

·         util has some subsidiary scripts


PV Crawler: what gets crawled and how

·         runSLACPVCrawler.csh, runLCLSPVCrawlerLx.bash and runFACETPVCrawlerLx.bash set up for and run the IRMIS pv crawler multiple times to hit all the boot structures and crawl groups.  Environment variables set in pvCrawlerSetup.bash, pvCrawlerSetup-facet.bash and pvCrawlerSetup.csh, point the crawler to IOC boot directories, log directories, etc.   Throughout operation, errors and warnings are written to log files.

·         The IOC table in the IRMIS schema contains the master list of IOCs.  The SYSTEM column designates which crawler group the IOC belongs to. 

·         An IOC will be hit by the pv crawler if its ACTIVE column is 1 in the IOC table: ACTIVE is set to 0 and 1 by the crawler scripts, depending on SYSTEM, to control what is crawled.  i.e. LCLS IOCs are set to active by the LCLS crawler job.  NLCTA IOCs are set to active by the CD crawler job.

·         An IOC will not be crawled unless its LCLS/FACET STARTTOD or CD TIMEOF BOOT (boot time) PV has changed since the last crawl.

·         Crawler results will not be saved to the DB unless at least one file mod date or size has changed. 

·         Crawling specific files can be triggered by changing the date (e.g. touch). 

·         In the script, there’s a mechanism for forcing the crawling of subsets of IOCs (see the code for details)

·         IOCs without a STARTTOD/TIMEOFBOOT PV will be crawled every time.  (altho PV data is only written when IOC .db files have changed)

TROUBLESHOOTING:  post-crawl emails and data_validation_audit entries: what to worry about, how to bypass or fix for a few…


Log into Oracle on MCCQA as IRMISDB

use TOAD or

from the Linux command line:

source /usr/local/lcls/epics/setup/oracleSetup.bash


sqlplus irmisdb/`getPwd irmisdb`


select * from controls_global.data_validation_audit where schema_nm=’IRMISDB’ order by tod desc;


This will show you (most recent first) the data validation entries, with any error messages.


You can also see a complete listing of data_validation_audit entries in reverse chron order by using AIDA (but you will have to pick out the IRMISDB lines):

Launch AIDA web


In the query line, enter LCLS//DBValidationStatus

***  Please focus only on entries where schema_nm is IRMISDB.  This report shows entries for ALL of our database operations; sometimes entries from different systems are interleaved. 


For a “good” set of IRMISDB entries, scroll down and see those from: 9/22 9 pm, continuing into 9/23, which completed successfully.  The steps in ascending order are:

FACET PV Crawler                           start

FACET PV Crawler                           finish

ALL_DATA_UPDATE                     start

LCLS PV Crawler                              start

LCLS PV Crawler                              finish

CD PV Crawler                                  start

CD PV Crawler                                  finish

PV Client Crawlers                             start

PV Client Crawlers                             finish

PV Client Cleanup                              start

PV Client Cleanup                              finish

DATA_VALIDATION                     start

DATA_VALIDATION                     finish



ALL_DATA_UPDATE                     finish

then there are multiple steps for the sync to MCCO, labelled REFRESH_MCCO_IRMIS_TABLES


REFRESH_MCCO_IRMIS_TABLES will not kick off unless ALL_DATA_UPDATE finishes with a status of SUCCESS.


The logfile and e-mail message will tell you which IOCs are affected.  The first thing to do is check with the responsible IOC engineer(s).  It’s possible that the PV count drop is “real”, i.e. the engineer(s) in question intentionally removed a large block of PVs from the system.


If the drop intentional:  You will need to update the database manually to enable the crawler to proceed:  the count difference is discovered by comparing the row count of the newly populated curr_pvs view with the row count of the materialized view curr_pvs_mv, which was updated on the previous day.  If the PV count has dropped > 5000 PVs, the synchronization is cautious - it prevents updating good data in MCCO until the reason for the drop is known.


The step to say "it's ok, the drop was intentional or at least non-destructive - synchronization is now ok" is to go ahead and updated the materialized view with current data.  Then the next time the crawler runs, the counts will be closer (barring some other problem) and the synchronization can proceed

So, to enable the crawlers proceed, you need to update the materialized view with data in the current curr_pvs view, like this: 

log in as cddev on slcs2 and run



The next time the crawler runs (that night), the data validation will be making the comparison with correct current data, and you should be good to go.


If the drop is NOT intentional:   Check the log for that IOC (search for “Processing iocname”) and/or ask the IOC engineer to check for changes in the IOC boot directories, and IOC boot files for:

–a syntax error in the boot file or directory

-new IOC st.cmd syntax has change to something that the crawler hasn’t learned yet.  May require a modification to teach IRMIS a new syntax.   This is rare but does occur.   It’s possible the IOC engineer can switch back to an older-style syntax, add quotes around a string, etc. to temporarily adjust the situation.




some circumstances where steps are missing:

-          step launched but didn’t finish: check the status of processes launched by the cron job using ps –ef | grep.  An example: when perl dbi was hanging due to the 199-day-Linux-server-uptime bug.  Several LCLS PV crawler jobs had launched, but had hung in the db_connect statement, and had to be killed from the Linux command line.

-          step launched and finished, but the completed step was never written:  the getPwd problems cause this symptom.  See entries starting 9/23 9 pm for an illustration.

-          step never launched: is the script available?  Is the server up?  Is crontab/trscrontab configured correctly?  Are there permission problems?  etc.

-          other mysteries: figure out where the job in question stopped, using ps –ef, logfiles, etc…


To bypass crawling specific IOC(s): update the IOC table and for the IOC(s) in question, set SYSTEM to something other than LCLS or NLCTA (e.g. LCLS-TEMP-NOCRAWL) so it/they will not be crawled next time.


In the event of an error that stops crawling, here are the affected end-users of IRMIS PVs:

(usually not an emergency, just decay of the accuracy of the lists over time.)

·         CURR_PVS: IRMIS PVs create a daily current PV list, a view called curr_pvs. curr_pvs supplies lcls pv names to one of the AIDA names load jobs (LCLS EPICS names). The current PV and IOC lists are also queried by the IRMIS gui, and by web interfaces, and joined with data in lcls_infrastructure by Elie and co. for Greg and co.

·         BSA_ROOT_NAMES: Qualifying IRMIS PVs populate the bsa_root_names table, which is joined in with Elie's complex views to device data in lcls_infrastructure. For details on the bsa_root_names load, please have a look at the code for the stored procedure which loads it (see one of the tables above)

·         DEVICES_AND_ATTRIBUTES: PV names are parsed into device names to populate the devices_and_attributes table which is used by lcls_infrastructure and associated processing.

·         User interfaces may be affected (but they use MCCQA, so are not affected by failure of the sync to MCCO step):

o   IRMIS gui

o   the web IOC Report

o   IRMIS iocInfo web and APEX apps

o   EPICS camdmp APEX app

o   Archiver PV search APEX app

o   ad hoc querying

3 possible worst case workarounds:

1)       Synchronization to MCCO that bypasses error checking

If you need to run the synchronization to MCCO even though failed (i.e. the LCLS crawler ran fine, but others failed), you can run a special version that bypasses the error checking, and runs the sync no matter what.  It’s:



2)       Comment out code in

If the data validation needs to bypass a step, you can edit (see above tables for location) to remove or change a data validation step and enable the crawler jobs to complete.  For example, if a problem with the PV client crawlers causes the sync to MCCO not to run, you may want to simply remove the PV Client crawler check from the data validation step.


3)       Really worst case!  Edit the MCCO tables manually

If the PV crawlers will not complete with a sync of good data to MCCO, and you decide to wait til November for me to fix it (this is fine – the PV crawler parser is a complicated piece of code that needs tender loving care and testing!), AND accelerator operations are affected by missing PVs in one of these tables, the tables can be updated manually with names that are needed to operate the machine:

o   aida_names (see Bob and Greg)

o   bsa_root_names (see Elie)

o   devices_and_attributes (see Elie)

for the future: crawling a brand new directory structure






Programmers' Guides, Users' Guides, Requirements, Design, Papers, Administration, How-To, Hardware, IOC, Database

[SLAC ESD Software Engineering Group][ SLAC Home Page]

Author: Judy Rock 1-Oct-2010
Modified by: 1-Apr-2010, jrock, modified f