Information for IT Departments

Frozen Content
This page contains information regarding legacy Altium Vault Technologies - namely the Altium Vault Server and Altium Personal Vault. These have been superseded by the Altium Vault. For detailed information that can be used by IT departments for this latest technology, see Altium Vault - Details for IT Departments.

While installation and use of Altium Vault Technology – in the form of an Altium Vault Server or Altium Personal Vault – is detailed across other pages within the Wiki, the aim of this page is to provide a single, detailed resource for an organization's IT department. A place to come to, for answers to typically asked questions regarding this technology, including:

  • What are the hardware requirements to install these vaults?
  • What is installed?
  • What programs and processes are running?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • What ports are used?
  • What protocol is used for communications?
  • How is data backed-up?

The following sections provide detailed answers to these and other questions, for both flavors of Altium Vault, including a high-level overview of the architecture and data flows.

Altium Vault Server

The following information relates to installation and use of the Altium Vault Server.

Hardware Requirements

The Altium Vault Server can be installed on a PC running one of the following Operating Systems:

  • Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008/2012 (32-bit or 64-bit, where applicable)

Altium Designer Requirements

Connection to an Altium Vault Server from within Altium Designer is only possible from Altium Designer 13.0 (or later).

Additional Software Installed or Configured

  • Internet Information Services version 7 (IIS 7)
  • Firebird 2.5 database engine
  • .NET Framework 2.0

IIS Configuration

As part of IIS configuration, the ISAPI Extensions feature is enabled. This feature can be found in the \Internet Information Services\World Wide Web Services\Application Development Features section of the Windows Features dialog – accessed from Window's Programs and Features window.

Installation of the Altium Vault Server enables the Windows ISAPI Extensions feature, part of IIS configuration.

Application Pools Installed on IIS

The following application pools are installed on the IIS server:

  • Altium Catalog Service Pool
  • Altium Identity Service Pool
  • Altium Search Service Pool
  • Altium Vault Service Pool
  • DXP Apps Server Pool

Verification that the Altium Vault Server is running can be performed from the Windows Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager panel – accessed from Window's Administrative Tools window. Simply check to confirm each of these application pools are in the Started state.

Altium-related application pools running on the IIS server.

Applications that are running as IIS ISAPI modules are:

  • CatalogConsole.dll
  • DXPConsole.dll
  • IDS.dll
  • PartCatalog.dll
  • SearchService.dll
  • SecurityService.dll
  • Vault.dll
  • VaultExplorer.dll

These applications can be browsed under the DXP Apps Server site, in the left-hand pane of the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager panel.

Default Installation Paths

The following is a list of default installation paths when installing the Altium Vault Server:

  • Altium Vault Server Installation Folder\Program Files (x86)\Altium\DXP Apps Server.
  • Firebird Installation Folder\Program Files (x86)\Firebird\Firebird_2_5.
  • Vault Application Folder\Program Files (x86)\Altium\DXP Apps Server\Vault.
  • Firebird Database\ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\DXPServer.dat.
  • Revision Files Folder\ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\Revisions.
  • Search Index Data Folder\ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\Revisions\SearchData.

Default Ports

The following default communication port numbers are used by the Altium Vault Services and Firebird server:

  • Service Port Number9780
  • Firebird Server Port3050
The Service Port Number is a HTTP port served by IIS and used by Vault applications. It is the main port, and should always be open. The Firebird Server Port is used for and by the Firebird RDBMS. By default it is binded only to localhost. It SHOULD NOT be exposed externally, for security reasons. Users do not interact with this port directly. Both ports provide regular HTTP interaction (request/response).
Both ports can be customized. The Service Port Number can be changed during installation. While the Firebird Server Port can be changed manually, it is not recommended to do so.

Default Service URLs

The following are the default service URLs for the Altium Vault Server:

  • Catalog Management Consolehttp://<computername>:9780/catalogconsole
  • Catalog Servicehttp://<computername>:9780/catalog
  • Identity Servicehttp://<computer name>:9780/ids
  • Search Servicehttp://<computer name>:9780/search/SearchService.asmx
  • Security Servicehttp://<computer name>:9780/security
  • User Management Consolehttp://<computer name>:9780/console
  • Vault Servicehttp://<computer name>:9780/vault

Protocol used for Service-to-Service Communications

SOAP over HTTP.

Service Architecture – Overview

The Altium Vault Server installs a number of core services (Vault, Identity, Catalog and Search services) as well as a browser-based user management console (DXPConsole), catalog management console (CatalogConsole) and Vault Explorer. In order to access any of these services, a user's identity must be recognized and authenticated. The DXP Apps Server comes with one predefined user (Username: admin, Password: admin). The user management console can be used to add and manage more users. There is no limit to the number of users that may be registered to access and use the vault, but there is a limit on simultaneous connections to the DXP Apps Server and the Altium Vault Server, as determined and enforced by required licensing.

The user management console can be accessed from an external browser (http://<ComputerName>:<PortNumber>/console) – sign in through the browser interface using the same vault credentials used to connect through Altium Designer. Alternatively, access can be made through the Users view – available under the Home page (View » Home). Unlike access through an external browser, the Users view populates in relation to connection to the Altium Vault Server from Altium Designer. So while connected to the vault (on the Data Management – Vaults page of the Preferences dialog), the information in this view will be instantly available – there is no 'signing-in'. Note however, that the information shown is for the first Altium Vault Server connected. If connected to multiple Altium Vault Servers, the first Altium Vault Server in the list of connected vaults (on the Data Management – Vaults page of the Preferences dialog) will be the one used.

The same user can be accessing the Altium Vault Server concurrently in different ways (e.g. connected through Altium Designer AND signed-in through an external Browser) and it only counts as a single connection from the licensing perspective.

Altium Designer uses an unencrypted channel (SOAP over HTTP) for communicating with the Vault, Catalog and Identity services. These services share the same database:

  • Catalog Service – stores supplier and manufacturer items, price and quantity history changes, etc...
  • Identity Service – stores users, groups and session information.  
  • Vault Service – stores its structure (folders, items, revisions, content types, lifecycle states, etc...).

Actual documents are stored on the file system, in the Revision folders (\ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\Revisions).

The DXPConsole, CatalogConsole and Vault Explorer browser-based apps use the same SOAP API to access the Vault, Catalog and Identity services – no database or files are required for them to function.

The CatalogConsole is where you can configure individual suppliers in relation to the part catalog, to provide supply link intelligence.

License Files

Access to an Altium Vault Server requires a license. And since the Altium Vault Server is a service or application ('app') plugged into the DXP App Server platform, a license is also required to connect to that platform. These two licenses are obtained when purchasing the Altium DXP App Server and Altium Vault Server, respectively, and can be summarized as follows:

  • Altium DXP App Server Enterprise Connector License (ECL) – perpetual license for the core Altium DXP App Server, including 5 seats. Each seat of the license allows a single user to connect to the DXP App Server.
  • Altium Vault Server Client Access License (CAL) – perpetual license for the Altium Vault Server, including 5 seats. Each seat of the license allows a single user to access the Altium Vault Server.

For any given user to access the Altium Vault Server, they require:

  • 1 seat of an Altium DXP App Server Enterprise Connector License AND
  • 1 seat of an Altium Vault Server Client Access License.

So at a minimum, purchasing these two products provides for the simultaneous connection of 5 users to the Altium Vault Server.

Additional licensing can be purchased as needed, to allow a higher number of simultaneous connections to the Altium Vault Server. So if an organization needed vault access by 25 users, an additional 20-seat Enterprise Connector License (for the DXP App Server), and 20-seat Client Access License (for the Altium Vault Server) would need to be purchased.

Licensing is handled locally through license files (*.alf). Acquisition of the required license files is performed through the AltiumLive Dashboard (accessed from the Community menu on the Altium website). From the Licenses tab, locate the applicable license (in the Server Applications grouping of licenses) then click through to the detailed license management page. Once there, click the Activate button to generate and download the associated license file.

Activate the applicable licenses to acquire the license files needed to connect to the Altium DXP App Server, and
access and use the Altium Vault Server.

Depending on the needs of the organization, a minimum of 2, and maximum of 4 license files will be required:

  • Altium DXP App Server Enterprise Connector License file (Altium DXP App Server ECL <LicenseActivationCode>.alf) – base license with 5 seats.
  • Altium Vault Server Client Access License file (Altium Vault CAL <LicenseActivationCode>.alf) – base license with 5 seats.
  • Additional Altium DXP App Server Enterprise Connector License file (Altium DXP App Server ECL <LicenseActivationCode>.alf) – additional license providing an extra x purchased seats.
  • Additional Altium Vault Server Client Access License file (Altium Vault CAL <LicenseActivationCode>.alf) – additional license providing an extra y purchased seats.

To guarantee permanent availability and smooth workflow, it is advisable when purchasing additional licenses to get the same number of seats for the Enterprise Connector License and Client Access License involved.

Once the license files are downloaded, drop them into the root installation folder for the Altium DXP App Server (the default for which is \Program Files (x86)\Altium\DXP Apps Server).

The software checks every hour for the presence of valid license files. To have immediate effect, simply stop and restart all IIS application pools associated with the Altium Vault Server.

Backup/Restore of Vault Data

To backup data for an Altium Vault Server:

  1. Disconnect Altium Designer from the Altium Vault Server (on the Data Management – Vaults page of the Preferences dialog).
  2. Stop all IIS application pools associated to the Altium Vault Server– see Application Pools Installed on IIS.
  3. Take a copy of the Firebird database (DXPServer.dat) and data files folder (the Revisions folder and all its content) from the locations chosen during install. For a default installation, these locations will be \ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\DXPServer.dat and \ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\Revisions, so simply copy the root VaultServerData folder.
  4. Restart the IIS application pools.

To restore backed-up data for an Altium Vault Server:

  1. Disconnect Altium Designer from the Altium Vault Server.
  2. Stop all IIS application pools associated to the Altium Vault Server.
  3. Replace the Firebird database and data files folder with the stored copy.
  4. Restart the IIS application pools.

It is essential to stop IIS application pools before performing a backup/restore operation, otherwise the database file may become corrupted due to unfinished transactions.

Updating the Vault Installation

The nature of changes in version 1.1 of the Altium Vault Server requires a slightly different procedure to be followed when upgrading from version 1.0, to that typically followed when upgrading the vault installation (as described in this section). For specific information on the steps to successfully upgrade your installation of the Altium Vault Server from version 1.0 (Altium Vault Server 1.0.0.27573) – the initial public release of the vault – to version 1.1 (Altium Vault Server 1.1.28346), see QuickGuide - Upgrading to Version 1.1 of the Altium Vault Server.

To upgrade an Altium Vault Server to a later version, first uninstall the existing version. This is performed from the standard Programs and Features page (accessed from the Control panel) in Windows 7. Simply right-click on the entry for the Altium Vault Server <VersionNumber> and use the Uninstall command from the context menu.

To keep existing vault data, be sure to click No when prompted in the Uninstall dialog – one of the confirmation dialogs that appear through the uninstall process. Doing so will result in the vault software being removed from the computer, but the respective Database and Revision Files folders (and their content) remaining.

Uninstalling an Altium Vault Server, but keeping the data!

Once this is done, install the later version of Altium Vault Server software. Just remember to install with the same settings for vault data locations and the same communications port number.

When installing the new version of Altium Vault Server, at the Select Destination Location page a dialog may appear alerting that this folder already exists. The uninstall removes the vault software, but does not remove any license file, which is why the folder remains. Simply click Yes to install to that same folder.

Re-Indexing Vault Content after Data Migration

To re-index vault content, for example after data migration:

  1. Stop all IIS application pools associated to the Altium Vault Server– see Application Pools Installed on IIS.
  2. Delete the content of the SearchData folder, which contains the search indexing data (\ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\Revisions\SearchData for a default install).
  3. Restart the IIS application pools.

On finding the SearchData folder empty, the vault will re-index its content once it starts.

Altium Personal Vault

The following information relates to installation and use of the Altium Personal Vault.

Hardware Requirements (Personal Vault)

The Altium Personal Vault can be installed on a PC running one of the following Operating Systems:

  • Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Windows XP (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008/2012 (32-bit or 64-bit, where applicable)

Altium Designer Requirements (Personal Vault)

Connection to an Altium Personal Vault is only possible from Altium Designer 13.0 (or later).

Additional Software Installed or Configured (Personal Vault)

  • Firebird 2.5 database engine
  • .NET Framework 2.0

Local Services Installed on Target Machine

The following local services are installed on the installation computer:

  • Altium Personal Vault Service
  • Altium Personal Vault Search

Verification that the Altium Personal Vault is running can be performed from the Windows Services panel – accessed from Window's Administrative Tools window. Simply check to confirm both of these services are in the Started state.

Local services installed for the Altium Personal Vault.

Default Installation Paths (Personal Vault)

The following is a list of default installation paths when installing the Altium Personal Vault:

  • Altium Personal Vault Installation Folder\Program Files (x86)\Altium\Personal Vault.
  • Firebird Installation Folder\Program Files (x86)\Firebird\Firebird_2_5.
  • Vault Application Folder\Program Files (x86)\Altium\Personal Vault\Vault.
  • Firebird Database\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\PersonalVaultData\DXPServer.dat.
  • Revision Files Folder\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\PersonalVaultData\Revisions.
  • Search Index Data Folder\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\PersonalVaultData\Revisions\Data.

Default Ports (Personal Vault)

The following default communication port numbers are used by the Altium Vault Services and Firebird server:

  • Vault Service Port9680
  • Search Service Port9490
  • Firebird Server Port3050

Default Service URLs (Personal Vault)

The following are the default service URLs for the Altium Personal Vault:

  • Vault Servicehttp://<computer name>:9680/vault
  • Search Servicehttp://<computer name>:9490/SearchService.asmx

Protocol used for Service-to-Service Communications (Personal Vault)

SOAP over HTTP.

Service Architecture – Overview (Personal Vault)

The Altium Personal Vault installs local Vault and Search services. The Vault service includes a built-in Apache 1.3 web server. This service allows three simultaneous anonymous connections from different network addresses (computers).

Altium Designer uses an unencrypted channel (SOAP over HTTP) for communicating with the Vault service. This service uses the Firebird database to store its structure (folders, items, revisions, content types, lifecycle states, etc...). Actual documents are stored on the file system, in the Revision folders (\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\PersonalVaultData\Revisions).

Backup/Restore of Vault Data (Personal Vault)

Backup and restoration of your vault data is performed from the command line, in automated fashion, using the dedicated Backup & Restore Tool. This tool - avbackup.exe - can be found in the folder \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium Vault\Tools\BackupTool\ (for a default installation of the Altium Vault).

You must run the command prompt in administrator mode to be able to use the Backup and Restore tool.
If you are upgrading your Altium Vault to a later version, backup is handled as part of the installation process. However, while the Altium Vault installer includes automated backup of your existing vault, it is always a good idea to make a pre-update backup of your data yourself - taking a redundancy copy off to one side as it were. This provides additional safety, should any unforeseen technical difficulties arise. Additionally, it is advised to test out a new release of the Altium Vault on a different machine, before updating your production instance. Use of Virtual Machines can be invaluable in this respect.

Updating the Installation (Personal Vault)

To upgrade an Altium Personal Vault to a later version, first uninstall the existing version. This is performed from the standard Programs and Features page (accessed from the Control panel) in Windows 7. Simply right-click on the entry for the Altium Personal Vault <VersionNumber>, and use the Uninstall command from the context menu.

To keep existing vault data, be sure to click No when prompted in the Uninstall dialog – one of the confirmation dialogs that appear through the uninstall process. Doing so will result in the vault software being removed from the computer, but the respective Database and Revision Files folders (and their content) remaining.

Uninstalling an Altium Personal Vault, but keeping the data!

Once this is done, install the later version of Altium Personal Vault software. Just remember to install with the same settings for vault data locations.

Re-Indexing Vault Content after Data Migration (Personal Vault)

To re-index vault content, for example after data migration:

  1. Stop both the Altium Personal Vault Service and Altium Personal Vault Search services .
  2. Delete the content of the Data folder, which contains the search indexing data (\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\PersonalVaultData\Revisions\Data for a default install).
  3. Restart the two services – Altium Personal Vault Search first, followed by Altium Personal Vault Service.

On finding the Data folder empty, the vault will re-index its content once it starts (and hence the need to have the Search service started first).

Troubleshooting

The following are some typical issues encountered by users, and their resolution. Issues apply to both Altium Vault Server and Altium personal Vault, unless specified.

Database Unavailable

From the Windows Services panel, ensure that the following Firebird-related services are in the Started state:

  • Firebird Server - DefaultInstance
  • Firebird Guardian - DefaultInstance

Checking that the Firebird-related services are started.

Internal Server Error 500 (Altium Vault Server only)

This error can occur as a result of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) enabling 64-bit compression, which can result in failure of a 32-bit application.

The solution is to disable WSUS compression. For an in-depth discussion of this issue, and how compression can be disabled, see the article:

HTTP Error 500.19 - Internal Server Error After Installing WSUS x64,

available from the System-Center me website.

 

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