Creating a Demonstration System

Introduction

TaskCentre is normally deployed in a distributed fashion across an enterprise network. In this deployment, agents are needed to enable the TaskCentre server to communicate with other servers and to support event-driven tasks.

On occasion, a full-scale deployment may be impractical or undesirable. You may, for instance, have to use a single, standalone machine for field training or to demonstrate the product to a potential customer.

When a standalone set-up is unavoidable, it’s always best to make use of a virtual machine running a server operating system. This allows more features to be demonstrated than could otherwise be done.

Creating the Demonstration System

To create a demonstration system, you need to carry out a number of tasks, which can be divided into two main stages:

  • Setting up the infrastructure
  • Installing TaskCentre

Setting up the Infrastructure

Before installing TaskCentre, you prepare the supporting infrastructure by undertaking the following:

  • Set up a virtual machine (you do this to enable you to use a server operating system)
  • Install the application software that you wish to work alongside TaskCentre
  • Set up the SMTP Virtual Server under Microsoft IIS
  • Install an SMTP mail server (such as ArGoSoft Mail Server)

Installing TaskCentre

Once you have set up the supporting infrastructure, you can install the TaskCentre server, client and other features you will need on your demonstration system and then configure them using the Configurator. Refer to the following section: Installing the TaskCentre Components

Preparing the Infrastructure

Introduction

A standalone system lacks the network infrastructure of a standard deployment; but you can put in place an infrastructure to provide as much of the functionality of a standard installation as possible.

You should prepare this supporting infrastructure before installing TaskCentre on the standalone machine. Considerations include deciding which operating system, virtualisation and third-party enterprise software to use, checking system resources and getting the necessary license for the standalone installation.

Operating system

Your choice of operating system determines what features will be available for demonstrating.

A server operating system will allow demonstration of all the TaskCentre features.

A workstation operating system will impose restrictions on the TaskCentre features available. For example, you would be unable to deploy an SMTP virtual server or a web server that supports multiple web sites.

Virtualisation

Virtualisation software should be installed on the demonstration machine. Both VMware and Microsoft virtualisation products are supported.

System resources

The resource requirements of a standalone installation are not as demanding as in a standard deployment. You should give due consideration to the influence of a system performance on a customer perception when delivering a demonstration.

Application software

On the demonstration platform, you will need to install the necessary third-party application software with which TaskCentre interacts.

Such applications may include Microsoft SQL server, Microsoft SMS Server, Microsoft Internet Information Services components, including SMTP virtual Server and Oracle Server products.

Licensing

All partners receive their own set of TaskCentre license keys for in-house and demonstration use of the product. You will need to use one of these keys for the standalone installation.

Mail Routing in the Demo System: An Overview

One of the tasks when creating a demonstration system is to set up mail routing.

mail-routing-diagram

TaskCentre both sends outbound email, used for example for alerts, and receives inbound email used for mail triggered events.

Inbound email is generated by a mail client; outbound email is generated from the TaskCentre server.

This example provides a scenario for a standalone environment. It doesn’t necessarily reflect normal practice in a corporate mail environment.

1. Outbound TaskCentre server mail

Outbound mail from the TaskCentre server is read by the mail client using the POP3 protocol and resides on the ArGoSoft Mail Server.

2. Outbound mail client- mail

Outbound mail from the mail client is used as a trigger opportunity for the TaskCentre server and is routed to the SMTP virtual server on Microsoft IIS.

3. Routing to ArGoSoft mail server

The mail coming from the mail client, which is used as a trigger opportunity, is then routed to ArGoSoft Mail Server via the domain routing ‘task centre.com’, set up in Microsoft IIS.

Setting up and Installing the Demo System

Now that you have some background to the requirements and limitations of a demo system, let’s look in more detail at the two main parts of the process -setting up the infrastructure and then installing TaskCentre on the demo machine.

Introduction

As you have learnt, before actually installing TaskCentre on the demonstration machine, you have to prepare some supporting infrastructure and software.

Let’s examine the following in detail;

  • Deciding on virtualisation
  • Installing additional third-party software
  • Setting up the Microsoft SMTP Virtual Server
  • Installing and configuring the ArGoSoft mail server
  • Configuring the email client.

Set up a Virtual Machine

TaskCentre is designed to run on a server operating system. If you install the product on a machine not running a server operating system, some of its functionality will be unavailable.

For a demonstration machine, it is preferable to have the full TaskCentre feature set available for demonstrating.

One simple way of achieving this is to run the demonstration machine on a viral machine.

The Required Third-Party Applications

Having set up a virtual machine, you can install on it all of the third-party primary applications you’ll want to use with TaskCentre.

You may have to consult the relevant third-party documentation for guidance.

Enabling the SMTP Virtual Server

In order for the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent to work you need to have the SMTP Virtual Server enabled. This is a component of Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).

  1. Enable the SMTP Virtual Server via Control Panel – Programs and Features – Turn Windows features on or off.
  2. The Server Manager dialog box will open. Here you enter the Features menu of the navigation pane and then tick the SMTP Server option from the list followed by Install.

1. Features SMTP Server

Configuring the Outbound Port

When you open the Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Manager, you’ll see the SMTP Virtual Server displayed in the navigation pane under the local computer name.

You now need to change the outbound connection port for the SMTP Virtual server to 2525.

This is achieved as follows:

  1. Right -click the SMTP Virtual Server folder and select Properties
  2. In the SMTP Virtual Server properties dialog, select the Delivery tab.
  3. Click the Outbound connections button
  4. Enter 2525 in the TCP port text box

2. Outbound Connections

Testing the Inbound Port

Now you should check whether the inbound port of IIS is clear and ready to accept incoming mail.

A simple test can be carried out by using Telnet:

  1. Open the Command prompt
  2. Type Telnet Localhost 25
  3. Press Enter

The response should indicate that the service is ready and that there are no blockages. Any blockages will have to be removed. The cause is often related to anti-virus or firewall software.

3. Telnet

Creating an SMTP Domain

Next you need to create an email domain for the demonstration system. An SMTP domain can be created as follows:

  1. In Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Manager, expand the SMTP Virtual server node. Right-click Domains and select New -> Domain
  2. In the New SMTP Domain Wizard, select Remote and click Next
  3. Give the new domain the name taskcentre.com
  4. Click Finish to create the new domain

The new domain is now listed in the Manager. The domain properties will now need to be configured as follows:

  1. Right-click the taskcentre.com domain and select Properties
  2. Within the General tab of the dialog select the option Allow incoming mail to be relayed to this domain
  3. Select Forward all mail to smart host and enter [127.0.0.1]
  4. Click OK to accept your settings

4. TC Domain Properties

Downloading the Mail Server

With a standalone system, it isn’t possible to connect to a corporate mail server. If you are training or demonstrating TaskCentre from such a machine, you will want to have access to a mail server in order to demonstrate email features.

In these circumstances, we recommend an application called ArGoSoft Mail Server. This is a small, free mail server, which you can use to show users how the TaskCentre server works with an SMTP mail server.

You can download the ArGoSoft Mail Server installer from this web link: http://download.cnet.com/ArgoSoft-Mail-Server-Free/3000-2367_4-53039.html

Otherwise you can find a download page from your search engine. There are various versions of the product, but the freeware version is adequate for our purposes.

Installing the Mail Server

To install the ArGoSoft Mail Server, you run the executable, confirm the installation folder location then select the Install button and let the installer run.

5. ArGoSoft Install

Turning on Mail Relay

After installing ArGoSoft Mail Server and starting the application, you’ll initially see a message that mail relay is currently switched off. Mail relay should be enabled so that TaskCentre hands its SMTP output to a receiving mail server in the last hop.

It’s important to understand, however that damage may result from enabling mail relay without to due protection to the server, most notably when the machine is connected to the internet. There is no risk if your virtualised machine is not connected to the internet.

To enable mail relay, take the following steps:

  1. Right-click the ArGoSoft Mail Server icon in the system notification tray and select Show
  2. Click the Options button (a yellow cog-wheel icon) to open the Options dialog.
  3. Select the General tab
  4. Tick the Allow Relay check box

6. ArGoSoft General Tab

Entering the DNS Server IP address

Next you need to set the DNS Server IP address which will be the IP address of the Local Host.

  1. Still within the General tab change the DNS Server IP address to 127.0.0.1.

7. ArGoSoft DNS Server

Adding a Local Domain

Next you need to add the domain name that you intend to use on the demo machine.

We recommend setting this identifier to ‘taskcentre.com’.

  1. Select the Local Domains tab and type taskcentre.com in to the text box and click the Add button.

8. ArGoSoft - Local Domains

Configure the Ports

The inbound port to receive mail now needs to be changed so that it does not conflict with the same inbound port number of IIS.

  1. Within the Ports tab change the SMTP port to 2525.
  2. You click OK to accept your settings and close the options dialog box.

9. ArgoSoft Ports

Adding a New User

A user is required by the mail server which will be used to create a demonstration recipient for receiving mail from TaskCentre.

  1. Click the Users button 10. Add User Icon
  2. In the User Setup dialog click the Add New User button 12. ArGoSoft New User Icon
  3. Within the Add New User dialog you need to enter a name and password of choice for the demo user. It is not necessary to enter a ‘forward’ or ‘return’ address.
    For example, User name: Demo / Real name: Demo / Password: password
  4. Click OK to accept your settings.

11. ArGoSoft Add New User

You now have an SMTP mail server running on the local machine responding on SMTP port 2525 and POP3 port 110. One user with the email address ‘demo@taskcentre.com’ is also available for use by the mail client.

Closing the ArGoSoft Mail Server window sends the application into the system tray, where it waits for email to arrive. It has the process name of mail server.exe and runs as an application not as a service.

Adding a New Email Account

You now need to configure the mail client to setup an account. In our example we are using Microsoft Outlook 2013.

Launch the email client and add a new email account with the following details; as shown in figure 12

  1. Profile name: TaskCentre Demo
  2. Email Address: demo@taskcentre.com [or enter the address of the demo user you created]
  3. Account Type: POP3
  4. Incoming mail POP3: 127.0.0.1
  5. Outgoing mail SMTP: 127.0.0.1
  6. User Name: demo
  7. Password: password
  8. Ensure any advanced settings are set so that the Incoming server (POP3) port has been set to port 110 and the ‘Outgoing server’ port has been set to port 25.
    In Outlook these settings can be accessed by clicking the More settings button when creating the account; as shown in figure 13.

13. Mail Client - Add Account

14. Mail Client - More Settings

Installing and Configuring the Demonstration machine

Introduction

Having prepared and configured the supporting infrastructure and software for your standalone demonstration system, you can go ahead and install the TaskCentre product on the demonstration machine.

Installing the TaskCentre Components

To install the product, you run the setup.exe for the TaskCentre installer. This will open the installation wizard which will guide you through the install process.

You will be required to enter your product key and select the features of TaskCentre that you wish to install.

On completion you are given the choice to open the Configurator to proceed with configuration of the product.

Configuring the Installed Components

The Configurator displays the installed components. It checks and reports on the prerequisite software and the suitability of the environment for them, leaving the user to make necessary adjustments.

For a detailed description of the configuration of the main components refer to;

Installing and Configuring the Server

Installing and configuring the Email Trigger (SMTP) agent

Installing and configuring the Microsoft SQL Server Trigger agent

Installing and configuring the Workflow Components

Installing Tool Packs

Once you have configured the installed features you may want to install and configure any additional tool packs that you may need for your demonstration system.

Click here for more information on Installing tool packs

Creating a Demonstration System: In Summary

TaskCentre is normally deployed across a network, the TaskCentre server uses agents to communicate with other servers and perform event driven tasks.

On occasion, when full-scale deployment may be impossible, the product may have to be installed on a single machine for such purposes as product demonstration or field training. It’s then best to use a virtual machine running a server operating system, to allow more features to be demonstrated.

Before installing TaskCentre, a supporting infrastructure should be put in place. This includes the virtual machine, third-party applications with which TaskCentre will work, the SMTP Virtual Server under IIS, an SMTP mail server such as ArGoSoft’s and an email client such as Outlook.

The TaskCentre product can then be installed and configured on the standalone machine.