Month: October 2011

TariffShark "in the Cloud"

TariffShark consists of a client application, called TariffShark Premier, that runs on a Windows desktop computer plus server-side components that run on a Windows server.  eTariff filers use TariffShark Premier to prepare and make eTariff filings.  The data they see and update on their screens and all of the documents that comprise eTariff filings is stored within TariffShark’s server components.  If you are a TariffShark user, you already knew this.  But, did you know that the server components can be hosted “in the cloud”?

What is Hosted TariffShark?

Many of our customers are using Enterprise TariffShark, in which both the desktop and the server components run within the enterprise.  Under the Hosted TariffShark model, the server components run “in the cloud” (actually, in the TariffShark data center).  From a desktop user’s perspective, the TariffShark Premier desktop application runs exactly the same as in the Enterprise approach.

What are the advantages of Hosted TariffShark?

  1. Data backups are provided by Links Technology.  The data is encrypted and stored online in multiple, redundant data centers, so access to the backups is always available.  This service frees your IT resources from dealing with the backup of tariff data.
  2. Server maintenance is performed by Links Technology.  Routine tasks; such as applying periodic OS and system updates, verifying anti-virus protection, reviewing event logs, and checking health and capacity of hard drives; are performed by Links Technology engineers.  Your precious IT resources do not need to perform these tasks.
  3. Work with TariffShark from anywhere you have an Internet connection.  You are not tethered to your desk or corporate VPN.
  4. It’s easy to provide outside counsel with access to your TariffShark data.  Simply create a user account and grant the appropriate access.  Because the TariffShark server is hosted in a data center outside of your enterprise, it’s just as easy for outside counsel to connect as it is for you.
  5. In the event that you need the help of an outside eTariff filing service provider to do a complex eTariff filing, setting that up would be as easy as granting access to outside counsel.  By the way, Links Technology offers a service to help assemble eTariff filings when you need help or are unable.
  6. Upgrading to a new TariffShark release is a breeze because Links Technology takes care of updating all server components.  Your IT staff might only be required to assist with upgrading TariffShark Premier on your desktops, but TariffShark Support is able to assist with that, too.

Is Hosted TariffShark safe and secure?

In a word: yes!

  • All Hosted TariffShark servers run in a Tier 4 data center that is SAS 70 Type II certified.
  • Links Technology has established a separate disaster recovery (DR) site for all Hosted TariffShark customers.  In addition, the site and related DR procedures are fully tested semi-annually.
  • All of the data exchanged between the TariffShark Premier client application and the TariffShark servers is transmitted using 128-bit SSL encryption.  This is the same technology used when banking online and when making online credit card purchases.

Will we be able to test new software releases?

Some Enterprise customers maintain test and production TariffShark environments.  This is done, in part, so that new software releases may be tested before rolling them out to a production environment.  There is an option within Hosted TariffShark whereby test and production environments would be maintained.

Will we have to pay more for Hosted TariffShark?

The Hosted TariffShark service includes licensing, maintenance, and support, just like an Enterprise arrangement.  Above and beyond that, though, Hosted TariffShark includes everything needed in the data center (including the data center itself) to run TariffShark’s server components.  Among these value adds are data backups, server maintenance, disaster recovery services, and software updates.  A Hosted TariffShark contract does not require the upfront purchase of software licenses, so the initial cost is actually lower than Enterprise TariffShark.

Can we convert our Enterprise TariffShark to Hosted?

Yes.  Technically, it’s a matter of moving your database to the TariffShark data center and setting up a new application server there for your use.  These steps are quick to execute because our engineers have done so repeatedly.  Contractually, your TariffShark agreement with Links Technology would need to be amended.

If you have technical questions about Hosted TariffShark, we’d love to hear from you.  Please comment below or contact TariffShark Support.  If you’d like a quotation, contact Sales.

TariffShark Document Processing

If you’ve been working with TariffShark for a while, you are probably familiar with the shark that swims from time to time in the status bar.

The swimming shark is an indication that the TariffShark software is using your computer to process a Tariff Record Version’s (TRV’s) content in the background.

TRV content processing is pretty intense…it does a lot of work.  Even though you may have edited and saved the marked version of a TRV’s content, TariffShark actually builds and saves five (5) documents.

  1. marked document in Microsoft Word format
  2. clean document in RTF format
  3. plain text document
  4. marked document in PDF format
  5. clean document in PDF format

This work is so intense, in fact, that TariffShark distributes it across all users who are logged into TariffShark.  Usually, the shark starts swimming shortly after you save a TRV’s content in Microsoft Word.  Sometimes, however, the shark may start swimming even if you haven’t edited a TRV’s content.  That happens when your computer is helping out your fellow tariff worker by processing his/her TRV content.

It’s worth noting that the shark does not swim to process “whole document” content; it only works on section-based and sheet-based TRVs.

The Shark Is Bugging Me

The shark tries to use your computer to process TRV content when it’s not being used for other things.  However, from time to time, you may be so busy that you just want the shark to SLOW DOWN.

After each time the shark swims, he takes a nap (because he gets tired).  You can control the duration of his naps to slow him down.  The procedure for doing this differs between TariffShark Premier and TariffShark Hammerhead.

TariffShark Hammerhead

A toolbar button is provided for the purpose of adjusting the Queue Processing Interval.

Click the inverted triangle next to the shark and a slider control appears that allows you to adjust the Queue Processing Interval.  When slid all the way to the left, the shark will nap for only 5 seconds between documents that he processes.  When slid all the way to the right, the shark will nap for 5 minutes.

In addition, clicking the shark icon (just to the left of the inverted triangle) repeatedly will alternate the image between an uncaged shark and a caged shark. When the shark is uncaged (which is the default setting), TariffShark continues to process TRVs in the background at the interval specified.  When the shark is caged, TRV content processing is suspended on your desktop.  We strongly discourage leaving the shark caged for extended periods as this could cause TRVs to build up in the queue.

– Uncaged Shark           

– Caged Shark

TariffShark Premier

In TariffShark Premier, click the Options link on the login dialog.

On the resulting “Options” dialog screen, click on the tab that corresponds to the server to which you are connected (highlighted yellow below).  Then set the “Queue Processing Interval” value to a number between 5 and 300 seconds (highlighted green below).  The higher the number you enter, the longer the shark will nap after each time he goes swimming.


There’s another way to slow the shark down…by telling him to work on your stuff only.  In large organizations, ones that file tariffs for mulitple regulated companies, different groups of people might have responsibility for different companies’ tariffs. The shark’s default behavior is to work on the content of any TRV that belongs to any company.

If you find that your shark is spending too much time processing other companies’ TRVs, he can be configured to work on your company only.  This is an advanced setting and one that requires the assistance of TariffShark Support.  If you think this setting will help you to be more productive, please contact the TariffShark Support team and we will be happy to assist.

If you have questions about TRV content processing and the animated shark, we’d love to hear from you.  Please comment below or contact Support.

"Pro Forma" Record Change Type

What Is Pro Forma in eTariff?

According to FERC’s eTariff implementation guide, Pro Forma proposals submit a tariff record without invoking statutory processing timelines.  Pro Forma tariff records cannot be converted to effective tariff records by FERC, and should be resubmitted as actual tariff records.

In other words, a Pro Forma submission is a way of gaining preliminary feedback from the commission on contemplated tariff changes.

How to Create a Pro Forma Request in TariffShark

In order to send Pro Forma content to FERC in an eTariff filing, the Record Change Type field must be set to “Pro Forma”.  In TariffShark, when you add a Tariff Record Version (TRV) to a Filing, a Filed Tariff Record Version (FTRV) results.  TariffShark will automatically assign this FTRV a Record Change Type of either “New” or “Change”.  Use the Update FTRV command…

…to change the Record Change Type to “Pro Forma”, as shown below.







TariffShark Life Cycle of a Pro Forma FTRV

In TariffShark, all FTRVs start with a “Draft” FERC Response.  Once a Filing has been submitted to FERC, all of its FTRVs become “Pending”.  So, the first two stages of a Pro Forma FTRV’s life cycle are “Draft” and “Pending”, which is the same as any other FTRV.  However, that is where the similarities end.  Because a Pro Forma submission does not represent a true proposal before the commission, many of the typical FTRV FERC Response values (such as “Approved” and “Rejected”) do not apply.  So that Pro Forma FTRVs do not end their life cycle as “Pending”, TariffShark provides a FERC Response of “Pro Forma Ordered”.  This FERC Response represents the end of the life cycle for Pro Forma submissions.

NOTE: If the changes proposed in a Pro Forma submission need to become part of an official tariff, the changes must be resubmitted in a new Filing with a Record Change Type of “Change”.

If you have questions about Pro Forma eTariff requests, we’d love to hear from you.  Please comment below or contact TariffShark Support.