Handling Ascend Online Services (AOS) or internet outages

Ascend is a hybrid retail management system – which means that while an internet connection is not strictly necessary to use the program, many functions use “cloud” services for communication with our servers and services. Unfortunately, even in today’s tech-connected world, the unforeseen can still happen – internet connections can go out or online services can fail unexpectedly.

Since we know Ascend is the backbone of your business, we take any unplanned outages very seriously. In the July 2019 version of Ascend, we’ve integrated notices directly into the program to notify users when there’s a problem connecting to any of the Ascend Online Services (whether it’s due to an issue with your internet connection or an issue with the service itself) – they can then choose to enter Offline mode so the outage doesn’t slow down their ability to take care of your customers.

Ascend checks its connections to Ascend Online Services every five minutes. If it detects an issue, the bottom “status” bar turns orange and displays Services Down in the lower right corner of the screen.

Click this text to display the status of each service.

If your internet connection is still working fine, our Status page (available on www.ascendrms.com) displays any outages we’re currently experiencing. You can also sign up for SMS/text messages to receive alerts when we detect an outage (don’t worry – these are the ONLY SMS/text messages you’ll receive from us; we won’t spam you!)

If there was a temporary issue with your network or internet connection that’s resolved now, click the Recheck Status button to verify your connection to Ascend Online Services is restored.

 

If the issue is ongoing (e.g. Ascend Online Services or your internet provider is having a wide-spread outage), click the Go Offline button to enter Offline mode. This prevents your workstation from attempting to communicate with Ascend Online Services so you can process transactions without a slowdown. See the services below to determine what functions are inaccessible in Offline mode.
Sherpa tip: Offline mode applies to a single workstation, not your entire store.

 

Ascend continues to check connections every five minutes and will automatically exit Offline mode when connection is restored.


Offline mode

The following functions CAN be used while in Offline mode:

  • Creating, modifying, and receiving Vendor Orders (without transfers to other locations, submission, or availability checks).
    Sherpa tip: (multi-store retailers) Remote inventory quantities are updated when connection is restored.
  • Creating, modifying, and completing transactions (without a new customer, transfer requests from other locations, or integrated payment processing).
    Sherpa tip: (multi-store retailers) Remote inventory quantities are updated when connection is restored.
  • Viewing local reservations (i.e. reservations which were not created at another location or which do not require a rental item from another location).
  • Purchase on Account (accounts receivable) purchases or payments.
    Sherpa tip: (multi-store retailers) Shared account balances are updated when connection is restored.
  • Trek product registrations.
    Sherpa tip: Registration information can be entered while in Offline mode, but is not sent to Trek until connection is restored.

The following functions CANNOT be used while in Offline mode:

  • Sending SMS (text) or email messages to customers, employees, or vendors/suppliers.
  • Creating or modifying customers (including spreadsheet imports).
    Sherpa tip: Prior to an outage, create a “placeholder” customer for your store (e.g. using your store’s information). If a new customer is required for a transaction, assign it to the placeholder customer and enter the correct customer information in the Comments field. Be sure to select the Keep Open button (on the toolbar) in case the outage lasts multiple days.
  • Trek Card payments on transactions.
  • If your store’s internet connection is down, integrated credit/debit/gift card payments on transactions cannot be processed. If you wish, you may choose to continue accepting credit payments during the outage; see the Process payments during an internet outage article for details on this process.
    Sherpa tip: Debit and gift cards cannot be processed during an outage. Processing payments while offline does NOT protect you from fraudulent charges.
  • Creating or modifying products (including spreadsheet imports).
  • Submitting Vendor Orders for integrated vendors/suppliers.
  • Checking product availability or stats from integrated vendors/suppliers.
  • (multi-store retailers) Receiving items on a Vendor Order which are marked for transfer to another location.
  • Accessing Order Grids for integrated vendors/suppliers.
  • Creating, modifying, or completing local Reservations.
  • Accessing Suggested Help Topics for the current screen.
    Sherpa tip: If your store’s internet connection is working, Ascend’s full knowledge base can be accessed at help.ascendrms.com.
  • Downloading/importing eCommerce sales/orders.
  • Manually uploading/exporting eCommerce product information.
    Sherpa tip: Automatic (overnight) eCommerce Exports will still be processed – however, product information may not be up-to-date.
  • Trek Card Quick Applications.
    Sherpa tip: If your store’s internet connection is working, customers may apply online at www.trekbikes.com.
  • (multi-store retailers) Remote location inventory lookup.
  • Multi-store transfers.
  • Creating or modifying reservation resources (Collections, Rates, Rental Products, or Rental Items).
  • (multi-store retailers) Accessing reservations created at another location.

If your store’s internet connection is working, Ascend’s online reporting websites (Ascend Analytics, Ascend Online Reports, and Ascend HQ) are accessible, but may not have the most up-to-date information.

Ascend Agent

This service affects the following features:

  • Ascend Service Health Status alerts (this service allows Ascend to check its connection to Ascend Online Services).
  • Scheduled delivery of reports.
  • Automatic backups.
  • Scheduled delivery of QuickBooks General Ledger Summary (IIF) files.
  • Certain application logging functions for support team troubleshooting.

If this is the ONLY service which cannot establish a connection, restart the Windows Service on your server computer.

  1. Click the Windows Start menu and search for Services.
  2. Right-click the Services app and choose Run as Administrator.


  3. Right-click the Ascend.Rms.Agent service and choose Start.

BlueSky

This service affects the following features:

  • SMS (text) messaging.
  • Email messaging.
  • Vendor integrations (including order submission, order grids, and product availability checks within orders, transactions, and from the Ascend Desktop).
  • Suggested Help Topics (accessed from Help buttons throughout the program).
  • eCommerce Imports (downloading customer sales/orders from an eCommerce website).
  • Manual eCommerce Exports (uploading product/pricing information to an eCommerce website).
  • Trek Card integrations (including applications and payments).

SQL Server

Microsoft SQL is the “engine” that stores all of your location’s data. This service must be running in order for Ascend (including on the server computer) to connect to and communicate with your database.

If this is the ONLY service which cannot establish a connection, restart the Windows Service on your server computer.

  1. Click the Windows Start menu and search for Services.
  2. Right-click the Services app and choose Run as Administrator.


  3. Right-click the SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) service and choose Start.

Sherpa tip: You may also wish to simply exit and reopen Ascend on your server computer – when Ascend is unable to establish a connection to SQL Server, you’ll be prompted to restart the service directly from Ascend.

Stratus

This service affects the following features:

  • All multi-store data sharing: product information, customer information, tax information, categories, coupons, promotions, users, rental rates, reservation products/items, and customer reservations.
  • Remote location inventory displays.
  • Multi-store transfers.
  • Ascend HQ reporting.

Additional resources

Article: Process payments during an internet outage

Article: I can't log in to Ascend

Article: My nightly database backups are failing

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