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Icon  Networking (Connecting Multiple Computers to a Shared Database)

** Palace Stock Tracker 3 has been replaced by Palace Stock Tracker 4 **
Palace Stock Tracker 3 support ends on 31 December 2013


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Contents



Required Hardware (single office)

For a single office, more than one computer on the same network (LAN) is the only hardware required.  One computer holds the database (the server) and the others (clients) simply use the server's database.  The server machine will need to switched on whenever the clients are in use.  A dedicated server computer is not needed for smaller networks, any modern workstation with Windows XP of later that can run Palace Stock Tracker will work fine.



Single Office Performance

Peformance on a single office LAN running at 100Mbs or above should not be an issue for small to medium sized networks (say 20 machines).



Required Hardware (mulitple sites without Terminal Services)

For more than one office (multiple sites) a single LAN will need to created across all locations.  This is normally by achieved installing a "VPN Router" at each site which will create a single LAN.  These can be supplied, installed and supported by almost any local IT hardware company.  Alternatively, most people with a little technical knowledge can set up a VPN network, routers generally costing around 200 each (per location).  Palace IT can recommend an Ipswich based IT company who can provide all of this across most of England.



Remote Locations Performance Guide

When connecting across multiple sites using a VPN, performance is very much dependant on the speed of each location's internet connection.

Each location should have at least 0.5Mbs both up and down per computer as a minumum (i.e. for 2 clients at one location allow 1Mbs both upload and download).  For the server's internet connection, allow at least 0.5Mbs up and down for each client that is based on a remote site.

This diagram illustrates an example network across 3 sites.





Terminal Services

If remote connection speeds are proving to slow Terminal Services provides fast access across slower connections to the software from any location (even from home using VPN) without the need to "share" a folder on the server.  This works by each client connecting to a "terminal session" on the server, in basic terms the software is actually run on the server itsself and "remote controlled" from each client even though the remote sessions are not visible on the server's screen allowing many such sessions can run simultaneously.  VPN routers are still recommended when using Terminal Services and a "full on" Windows Server with Terminal Services licences is required.  You should speak to a software supplier or IT specialist for more assistance.  Even though the hardware and licences are usually expensive, charities can receive considerable discounts using suppliers such as Pugh Computers.



How to Configure the Software (server)

Important
These instructions are provided as a guide and are demonstrated using Windows XP.  Windows Server, Windows Vista and Windows 7 may vary slightly from the instructions below.  The instructions include sharing a folder on a network will full user permissions but It is your responsability to secure your network.  If you are in doubt about sharing network folders you should always contact a qualified IT professional for bespoke advise.

The server computer is just a normal computer running Palace Stock Tracker as if it was a single computer.  The only difference is that the database folder has to be made visible (shared) on the network.


Locate the installation folder for the software on the server machine.


Right click on the "server" folder and select "Properties" from the pop-up menu (the window below should appear).



Select "Share This Folder".
Click "Permissions".
Enable "Change".
Press "OK".
Press "OK".




How to Configure the Software (client)

Important
These instructions are provided as a guide and are demonstrated using Windows XP.  Windows Vista or Windows 7 may vary slightly from the instructions below.

Once the database folder has been shared on the server clients can simply connect by entering the correct network path in the Client Options.

Open "My Computer" and select "Map Network Drive" from the "Tools" menu.


Select a drive letter to use and enter the \\SERVER NAME\server" in the folder box.
The image below assumes the server's computer name is "somecomputer".  Change this to the network name or IP address of your server computer or use the "Browse" button to browse to the share on your network.


Once drive R is mapped to the server (drive R should be visible in "My Computer") simply change the database path using Change Folder the Client Options.



The client computer should now be sharing the same database as the server.
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