Installing and Configuring the Server

Introduction – Installation

The installation of the TaskCentre product is a straightforward process run using the TaskCentre Installation Console. It is carried out through a wizard that requires very little user input.

You are given the opportunity to select the features you want to install.

Besides the server and client components you can choose to separately install event agents, such as the Microsoft SQL Server Trigger Agent or the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent or other tool specific features.

Introduction – Configuration

After installing the server, you use an application called the Configurator to carry out essential initial server configuration, beginning with the creation of a data store.

A prompt will appear after install and if accepted the Configurator will load. You use it to configure the server and other installed features, either when it opens following an installation or at any time afterwards.

Configuring the server: an overview

Once you have installed the TaskCentre server, you should carry out the initial configuration of the product.

Opening the Configurator

At the end of the installation of the TaskCentre server or other features, the wizard prompts you to let the Configurator application open by default. (You can deselect this prompt if you want to carry out configuration at a later time.)

Above: you can see the opening view of the Configurator interface. Here the Configurator prompts you to select the features which you would like to configure.

Note: If more than one language has been installed, there will be a ‘local computer’ folder at the top of the list, selected by default. The Configurator lets you select which language to proceed with. (You need to close and reopen the Configurator to implement this change.) If there is only one available language, the first configurable item will be selected by default.

Creating a TaskCentre store

Next you need to create a data store. You need to decide which type of store to setup, a Microsoft SQL server store or an internal store.

Within the Server tree select the Store folder under it. In the configuration pane on the right a store summary is displayed. To view the configuration options you expand the store folder or click the next button.

Above: the store summary

Later in this knowledge base article we will learn about how to select an appropriate store and configure it.

Configuring the Email Trigger (SMTP) agent

The configurator provides for the setting up of a number of event agents. If you require task to be triggered by the sending or receiving of an email message, you will need to install and setup the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent.

The Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent settings can be accessed from the relevant sub-folder under the Event Agents folder in the navigation pane.

Above: Displaying the agent configuration

Configuration of the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent is covered in detail later in this article.

Configuring certain installed tools

If you have installed certain TaskCentre tools which require prerequisites to be met before they can be used, you can access them as sub-folders under the ’Tool specific’ folder in the navigation pane.

They include the Run Crystal Report tool and the Run Microsoft Word (Merge) tool.

Expanding the folder tree and then selecting each tool displays its current status in the configuration pane.

Above: Run Microsoft Word (Merge) Tool Status

Here you can view the component prerequisites and select configuration options.

Getting ready for the configuration

You’ve seen some of the tasks you can carry out using the Configurator. Let’s look in more detail now at how you use this application to configure installed components.

 Benefits of the Configurator

The Configurator offers the following benefits:

  • It provides a simple user interface for carrying out configuration of installed features
  • It displays the configuration status of each feature
  • It lets you save, stop or restart configuration of any feature at any time
  • It provides information and guidance about configuration problems
  • After making changes, you can immediately refresh the configuration status, without closing the application. You can run it at any time from the Start menu (by selecting Start – TaskCentre – Configurator) or for newer operating systems by opening the Configurator app from the available programs on the start screen.

The TaskCentre data store

The data store is the database where TaskCentre stores task data. An important step when configuring a new installation of the server is to create the data store.

TaskCentre provides two options:

  • TaskCentre internal store
  • Microsoft SQL Server store

TaskCentre Internal Store

The internal store is TaskCentre’s proprietary data store. It is file-based, as opposed to server-based. It resides on the TaskCentre server machine.

Microsoft SQL Server Store

This is a Microsoft SQL Server database. Although it should ideally be installed on the same machine as the TaskCentre server, it can be located on any network server. Microsoft SQL Server Express is also supported.

Which type of store?

The main differences between the two store types are shown here. You can use this as a guide to help you select the type that suits your purposes.

TaskCentre Internal StoreMicrosoft SQL Server Store
RequirementsSufficient space on the serverMicrosoft SQL Server or SQL Server Express installed
SpeedVery fast, but can slow as usage increasesFast and scalable, even on busy servers
ReliabilityReliable, but corruption can occur in rare circumstancesHighly reliable, based on SQL Server integrity
MaintenanceMaintenance takes some time, owing to defragmentationMaintenance is very quick, because the DBA does the defragmentation
BackupDone by backing up a sub-folder of the TaskCentre internal storeLeft to the DBA who is carrying out the SQL Server backup

Choosing your store type

Option 1: Setting up an internal store

Setting up an internal store is a simple process.

Navigate to the configuration settings

To configure the data store, you first use the navigation pane on the left of the Configuator’s Select Features display. You click the node to expand the Server folder. You then expand the Store folder and select the Configuration sub-folder.

Above: the configuration pane on the right of the configurator now provides the opportunity to create a store or change the configuration of the current store.

The configuration details will display as ‘Unknown’ if no store has yet been configured. Selecting the Change store location check box activates the options buttons.

Choose a location for the store

The Internal Store Location folder under the Store folder in the navigation pane provides the opportunity in the configuration pane to specify a new store location for the internal store on the TaskCentre server.

Above: The default location is C:\iwdb

Once you have entered the location path, you click the Save button.

Option 2 – Setting up a Microsoft SQL server store

The configurator makes it easy to set up an SQL Server store, even though there is a little more configuration required than for an internal store.

Navigate to the configuration settings

To configure the data store, you first use the navigation pane on the left of the Configurator Select Features display. You click the node to expand the Server folder. You then expand the Store folder and select the Configuration sub-folder.

Above: The configuration pane on the right of the Configurator now provides the opportunity too create a store or change the configuration of the current store.

The configuration details will display as ‘Unknown’ if no store has yet been configured. Selecting the Change store location check box activates the options buttons.

Enter the SQL Server address and name the database

Choosing to create an SQL Server store activates two sub-folders under the store – Configuration folder. The first, SQL Login Details, covers security settings for the store.

Above: SQL login details

You are prompted first for the address of the SQL server. You can provide the server name or the server IP address, each with or without an instance name. Alternatively, you can select Localhost, if SQL Server is installed on your local machine.

(Although an SQL Server store can be located on any remote server on the network, performance is better when it is located on the TaskCentre server itself.)

You are also prompted to name the database (or you can accept the default name of ‘TCDatabase’).

Select the authentication method

Still in the SQL Login Details options, you need to select your preferred method of authentication, Windows or SQL Server.

With windows Authentication selected, the logged-on user must enter their Windows username and password to access the database.

Above: Selecting SQL Server Authentication activates the Username and Password fields, where the appropriate SQL Server login details must be entered.

You can choose to use a TaskCentre account created as a dedicated, unexpired account. This removes the need for continual upkeep involved in changes to credentials and interruptions to what, after all, is a product for automation.

Set the store location

The other sub-folder under the store – Configuration folder, which is activated when you choose to create an SQL Server store, is SQL Store Locations.

SQL Server provides a default location for data files (*.mdf) and log files (*.ldf). The DBA may set up non-default locations for each database and even have these files distributed over different drives.

Above: The SQL Store Locations Configurator option provides the means to retain this flexibility. There are settings for overriding the location of both the database files and the log files, with fields to enter your preferred folder locations.

Starting the TaskCentre Server service

After the server has been configured, the TaskCentre Server service should start automatically. You can check this in the bottom left corner of the Configurator interface.

You can also use the Services Extension of the Microsoft Management Console to check that it has been started or to start it yourself if necessary.

The TaskCentre Server service runs under the process name iwtsksvr.exe.

Ready to configure the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent

The server is now configured and the TaskCentre Server service is running.

So let’s turn next to the configuration of the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent. For instructions on how to configure this agent please see the following KB article: Installing and Configuring the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent

Ready to configure installed tools

There are a couple of other features that were selected for installation — the installed tools. Let’s find out more about them now and see how they’re configured.

Configuring Tools

Certain tools are installed on the server during the Server installation.

These tools appear in the Configurator, where they can be selected for configuration during the initial configuration phase or at a later time. They are configured to provide the run-time environment required before they will function.

To access the configuration options, you expand the Tool Specific folder in the navigation pane and then select each tool.

The Run Crystal Report tool

With TaskCentre, you can automate the delivery of Crystal Reports in a number of different export formats. The run times required to do this are supplied with TaskCentre and are an optional configuration.

Above: To do this, you select and expand the Run Crystal Report folder and select the Prerequisites folder.

The prerequisites report is displayed in the configuration pane on the right side of the Configurator.

If the Configurator detects suitable Crystal run times in place, Crystal reports can be delivered automatically. As the run times are packaged independently, it is not necessary to have the Crystal Report product installed on the TaskCentre server.

Reports can be created or edited on a user’s workstation with the full Crystal Reports product; the report can then be imported into TaskCentre in readiness for the run-time environment to produce the automated report.

The Run Microsoft Word (Merge) tool

The TaskCentre Server can automatically merge data into Microsoft Word documents and then deliver them through various TaskCentre output tools. The Configurator checks and reports on the suitability of the environment, leaving the user to make any adjustments.

To view the prerequisites, you select and expand the Run Microsoft Word (Merge) folder and then select the Prerequisites folder.

Above: On the right hand side, the Configurator identifies which aspects of the environment need updating and other prerequisite checks that need to be made before Word Documents can be delivered using TaskCentre automation.

Once the criteria have been met, there is a suitable TaskCentre environment to deliver merged Word documents under automation.

Logging on to TaskCentre

Once you have configured the TaskCentre server, you can log on to the server from the client. You run the application from the Start – Programs menu. A login window will appear, as shown here.

You need to enter the server IP address or DNS name and switch to TaskCentre Authentication (as no Windows account has yet been set up). You then use the TaskCentre administrator credentials that you set up earlier.

You can select the Set As Default option to avoid further logon prompts for that machine. Adding Windows authenticated users is an administration function covered in the TaskCentre Administration course.

Server installed and configured!

You’ve seen how to install and configure the server, as well as some other important features.

Installing and configuring the Server: In summary

TaskCentre provides an installation wizard, where you enter the key, accept the license agreement and select the features you want to install. In this lesson, the server, client and Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent features were installed on the server machine. On completion, the wizard by default opens the Configurator, TaskCentre‘s application for checking the environment and setting up the server and other installed components.

The first server configuration task is to create a data store. You can choose between a proprietary internal store and a Microsoft SQL Server store. You should check that server resilience is set to standalone.

You can then configure other installed features. For the Email Trigger (SMTP) Agent, you should check the prerequisites and register the TaskCentre server. For installed tools such as Run Crystal Report and Run Microsoft Word (Merge), you should check that required software is in place.

After configuring the server, the TaskCentre Server service should be started and you can log on to the server.