Topic: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

I'm being asked about the feasibility of operating Recorder 6 over a WAN line. It's currently on a 6 user network here and finally rests on our very own SQL Server. The idea suggested to me is that it could be accessed by a user several miles away via a WAN.
Has anyone any comments about the appropriateness and feasibility of this suggestion and, if it is feasible, some idea of the issues involved.

Darwyn Sumner

2

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

Hi Darwyn

I would say the main issues will be security, i.e. locking down SQL server (and the Recorder database within it) such that only the authorised users can log in. I'm not an expert on SQL Server, so I can not talk about specifics. In the PostgreSQL DB server , one can limit access to individual databases based on user and network address and the type of authentication protocol (SSL, MD5 etc).

What type of WAN is it? This may influence the solution. There are going to be issues surrounding the network interface to the WAN, routing and firewalling etc.

As far as Recorder goes, it should be possible if it's a true client-server system, i.e. the front end talks to the DB server only via the network and does not reference any LAN resources. If it does only use the network (I can't look at the Windows registery to check up on something at the moment as we have gone back to Recorder 2002 until the next Rec 6 upgrade is out) then all should be well.

When I installed Rec6 workstation, I did so from the LAN. I note that on the Rec6 install disk in the system directory is the workstationsetup.exe file. So, it should then be possible to try and install that on the remote client machine and test if the installer can "see" Recorder server once that has been exposed to the WAN. Your remote workstations will need a network path to your SQL server.

Sorry I can't be more specific - I'd be really interested to see if this works. Not knowing the pre-conditions of the Recorder workstation installer (one for John maybe) I'd have thought it's possible, provided the client app is happy to operate purely over a TCP/IP network.

There are quite a few inter-dependent variables in all of this, but my thoughts to you would be;
a) Get the network side configured first such that, at least, the remote stations can "ping" your server.
b) Expose Recorder to the network within a security policy.
c) Then try and install Recorder workstation on the remote machine.

Brave new world me thinks!

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

I just wanted to make you aware of a problem with installing Recorder 6 on a network.  We tried to install it on just two machines, which didn't work and we then discovered, courtesy of Stuart Ball that there is a problem with installing over a network where the PCs are Windows XP.  Apparently, in a recent security update to Windows XP and 2003, Microsoft prevented compiled help files (.CHM) running across a network or from the internet. This clobbers the context sensitive help and Getting Started guide for a network installation of Recorder. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892675 for more information and workarounds.

If anyone finds a solution please let me know.

Thanks,
Mandy

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

Hi Mandy,

We've been having extensive network problems since February & have since simply been using standalones; exporting data into the pc which has the site ID originally meant for the server version.

So, a wee question, when was this discovered & why has it not been made more public?

Cheers now, Rob.

Rob Bradley
Edinburgh

5

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

Hi Mandy & Rob,

I had this problem too. There is a thread about it here. (Help on Help)

Hope this provides some of the answers.

Cheers.

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

Ah, yes, I'd forgetten about that fix... I'd implemented that back in March. Was hoping the MS thing covered a wider topic than the help files. Nevermind, we'll keep banging away at our network.

Cheers now, Rob.

Rob Bradley
Edinburgh

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

Hi Rob and Dave,

Thanks for the information.  I will pass in onto IT and let you know if the fix works for us.

I wasn't aware of any problem until we tried to install it a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned it to Darwyn and he told me of this thread.  Glad to join the forum, it looks as though it'll be really useful, so many thanks.

Regards,
Mandy

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

Darwyn Sumner wrote:

I'm being asked about the feasibility of operating Recorder 6 over a WAN line. It's currently on a 6 user network here and finally rests on our very own SQL Server. The idea suggested to me is that it could be accessed by a user several miles away via a WAN.
Has anyone any comments about the appropriateness and feasibility of this suggestion and, if it is feasible, some idea of the issues involved.

I'd say Dave has been fairly complete with his view on this.
I'm interested in this kind of access also but will be trying it using Terminal Services. I have no experience of WAN but suspect that broadband and Terminal Services would be a modern approach perhaps. The cost if you already have it with your server would just be the broadband and would not limit where people can connect from as I understand it.

Tony Price
Data Manager, Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC)

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

Here's a brief overview of Terminal Services in case you were unsure as to what it is (I'd never been aware of it until quite recently - since starting to make heavy use of XPs Remote Desktop to be precise, which I now can't live without).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_Services

Charles

Re: Recorder 6 over Wide Area Networks

To confirm the general opinions in this thread- I've seen Recorder 6 working fine using both Remote Desktop on Windows XP, and also through Citrix.  Generally, apart from the screen update being a bit sluggish you shouldn't notice any performance differences as long as the 'host' box running Recorder is reasonably well specified.

I haven't tried using Recorder 6 over a WAN, but I have used other applications I've developed which are broadly similar.  They work Ok but are certainly a lot slower than running normally.  The one part of Recorder 6 I think will struggle over a WAN would be the maps- I would suggest ensuring all the mapping folders are kept locally or it will slow to a crawl.

John van Breda
Biodiverse IT