Altium Vault Server

Frozen Content
This page contains information regarding legacy Altium Vault Technologies. For the latest technology available, see Altium Vault. The Altium Vault is, essentially, the successor to the Altium Vault Server. If you already have an existing installation of the Altium Vault Server, you simply need to perform an update to the new Altium Vault.

The Altium Vault Server is a full-blown engineering content management solution that delivers high integrity, smart design and product data management, by providing storage, formal revision management, supply chain intelligence, and lifecycle state management. It also offers user access control and content sharing capabilities. It is targeted to organizations requiring simultaneous access by 4+ users. It has support for full user management, with user identification performed through built-in authentication (courtesy of the vault's own Identity Service (IDS) database). Simultaneous logins are controlled through local licensing. The Altium Vault Server is available for purchase under separate licensing (inclusive of 5 perpetual simultaneous connections), with annual subscription giving access to updates. Simultaneous connections for additional users can be added through purchase of additional perpetual licensing (and associated subscription).

Each Altium Vault Server instance has its own dedicated Part Catalog. This is a managed local part catalog database, dedicated to the management and tracking of manufacturer parts and their associated supplier parts. It is installed at the same time as an Altium Vault Server and works only with this type of Altium Vault. In terms of supply chain intelligence, the list of Approved Suppliers is centrally managed by the Altium Vault Server. This facilitates centralized supply chain management, with designers across the entire organization using the same approved list of Vendors. Access to internal supply chain intelligence through ODBC is also configured as part of this list, through the provision of a dedicated ODBC Supplier. For more information, see Altium Vault Server - Centralized Supply Chain Management.

The following sections take a look at installing an Altium Vault Server, and getting it licensed.

Installing the Altium Vault Server

The Altium Vault Server can ONLY be installed and run on a PC running Windows Vista or above, as its Operating System. It cannot be installed on a PC running Windows XP.

Installation of the Altium Vault Server is performed using the Altium Vault Server Setup wizard. This installer is accessed by running an executable – Altium Vault Server <VersionNumber>.exe. This executable is downloaded from the Downloads page of the Altium website, and can be saved anywhere on the hard disk.

Initial welcome page for the Altium Vault Server installation wizard.

Click Next to proceed through to the License Agreement page of the wizard, presenting the Altium End-User License Agreement (EULA).

Read and accept Altium's End-User License Agreement.

With the EULA read, continue with the install by checking the I accept the agreement box and clicking the Next button. The Select Destination Location page will be presented. This is the destination in which to install the Altium Vault Server. The default installation path is \Program Files (x86)\Altium\DXP Apps Server. The Altium Vault Server requires at least 169.6MB of free disk space for installation.

To specify an alternate location, simply type the location directly into the field, or click the Browse button at the right of the field and browse for the required destination folder (or create it on-the-fly).

Determine install location for the Altium Vault Server.

The DXP Apps Server is the base platform into which services (delivered as applications, or 'apps') are plugged. These services include the Vault Service (the Altium Vault Server itself), Catalog Service (the local part catalog), Identification Service, and Search Service.

Once the install location is specified, click Next to continue. The DXP Server Configuration page will be presented. Use this page to specify the port number to be used by the Altium Vault Server for communications (HTTP). By default, port 9780 is used.

If an alternate port number to the default is specified, remember to make it different to that used by another Vault type, if those different vaults are to be run on the same PC. An Altium Personal Vault uses the port 9680, while a legacy Satellite Vault uses port 9880.

Set the port number for server communications.

Once the port number is specified, click Next to continue. The Select Vault Data Directory page will be presented. These are the destination folders in which to store the database and revision files respectively. The default installation paths are:

  • Database Folder\ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData
  • Revision Files Folder\ProgramData\Altium\VaultServerData\Revisions

To specify an alternate location, simply type the location directly into a field, or click the Browse button at the right of a field and browse for the required destination folder (or create it on-the-fly).

Determine install locations for vault data.

The Installer now has all the information it requires to proceed with the installation. If anything needs to be changed, click the Back button. To cancel out of the install, click Cancel. To go ahead and proceed with the installation, click Install. The page will change from "Ready to Install" to "Installing" and the installation will proceed. Once complete, simply click Finish to exit the wizard.

The Altium Vault Server runs on top of the Microsoft Internet Information Services package (IIS). If this is not installed on the PC, the designer will be prompted to install it after the installation process begins.

Kick off the installation by clicking Install. Click Finish once installation is complete.

Verifying the Altium Vault Server is Running

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 the following Application Pools are in the Started state:

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

Checking that the Altium-related IIS application pools are started after installation.

Looking at the installed application pools, the DXP Apps Server Pool is the base platform, into which the other services are plugged. So the Altium Vault Server is plugged in and appears as the Altium Vault Service Pool. The local part catalog is plugged in and appears as the Altium Catalog Service Pool. The Altium Identity Service Pool provides for user management and authentication. And the Altium Vault Server's search facility is provided courtesy of the Altium Search Service Pool.

Licensing

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). From the Altium Vault Server's perspective, it is the number of seats supported by the license that determines how many users can simultaneously be connected to the vault. Although any number of users may be registered to access and use the vault, only that licensed number will be allowed to connect to it simultaneously.

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.

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. Without a valid license, access to the Altium Vault Server will not be possible.

Exceeding the Licensing Limit for an Altium Vault Server

If you try to connect to/access an Altium Vault Server from within Altium Designer, or an external Web Browser, and the limit on the number of simultaneous connections – determined by the licensing – has already been reached, sign-in will fail. In this case, you will be presented with a dialog alerting you to this fact, stating how many users are currently (and concurrently) logged in, and listing those users by Username.

Example of a user (WRighter) trying to access the vault, but being denied. The license in use for the Altium Vault Server has a limit
of 5 simultaneous connections, and all of those connections are currently being used by other users.

While an Altium Personal Vault does not use licensing, it does have a fixed number of users that can simultaneously access/connect to it. Release 1.0 and 1.1 of the Altium Personal Vault allow up to 3 anonymous users to connect at the same time, release 1.2 of the Altium Personal Vault allows only one user to connect at a time. If additional users attempt to connect while others are currently connected a dialog will appear to alert the user to this fact.

Accessing an Altium Vault Server from an External Web Browser

Main article: Browser-based Management of an Altium Vault Server

For an Altium Vault Server only, connection is also possible through its browser-based interface, providing the URL to that vault is known. The browser interface allows for administration of vault access, management of a centralized list of approved suppliers (for retrieval of supply chain intelligence), as well as limited manipulation of vault content itself, including folder definition. This allows people other than the designer to contribute to the management and maintenance of vault data, as well as being able to access and download released data for specific Item Revisions.

To access an Altium Vault Server, simply use a preferred external Web Browser and type the address for the vault in the following format:

http://<ComputerName>:<PortNumber>/console

(e.g. http://jhowiehome:9780/console, for an Altium Vault Server installed using the default port assignment). A Sign-in page will be presented.

Sign in through the browser interface using the same vault credentials used to connect through Altium Designer.

While the default admin user could be left for general entry to the vault by administrators, it is a good idea to change the First Name, Last Name and Username to something more meaningful for the organization. And it's definitely a good idea to change the default password from admin to something only known/passed to authorized administrators – otherwise everyone could simply access the vault as an administrator!

Accessing an Altium Vault Server through a preferred external Web Browser.

The interface is divided into four pages, for browsing and managing:

  • Users
  • Groups
  • Vault Structure (including folder-level sharing permissions)
  • Catalog (the list of Approved Suppliers).
While all users can browse the vault structure, users and groups, only those with administrative privileges can make changes to user access (management of users and groups), and the list of Approved Suppliers (on the Catalog page). In terms of vault structure, administrators have full access to create top-level folders and sub-folders, and edit, share, and remove folders. Non-administrators can create sub-folders, but cannot create top-level folders. In addition, they can only edit, share and remove sub-folders they have created.

Direct Browsing from within Altium Designer

Making use of its browser interface, the designer also has the possibility to browse a connected Altium Vault Server directly from within Altium Designer, using the Vault and Users views – available under the Home page (View » Home).

Use the Vault view to browse and make changes to the structure of the vault (on the Content sub-view), as well as access and manage the list of Approved Suppliers (on the Catalog sub-view). The Users view gives access to view and manage (if an administrator for the vault) users and groups, on the Users and Groups sub-views respectively.

Unlike access through an external Web Browser, these views populate 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 these views will be instantly available – there is no 'signing-in'.
These Home page views show information 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.

Browse and manage vault structure, the Approved Suppliers list, and user access for an Altium Vault Server, directly from dedicated views in Altium Designer.

Working with these views is similar to being connected to the vault through an external Web Browser. For more information, see Browser-based Management of an Altium Vault Server.

 

 

additional content

 

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 Apps Server platform, a license is also required to connect to that platform. In fact, use of the former is not possible without the latter as well. These two licenses are obtained when purchasing the Altium DXP Apps Server and Altium Vault Server, respectively, and can be summarized as follows:

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

For any given user to access the Altium Vault Server, one Enterprise Connector License, and one Client Access License is required. 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.

Altium Designer includes visual indication of the status of this licensing, as part of the vault's properties. From the Data Management – Vaults page of the Preferences dialog, select the entry for the Altium Vault Server, click the Properties button, and use the Edit Vault Properties command. License status information can be found in the lower region of the Edit Altium Vault Properties dialog.

Viewing license status information for a connected Altium Vault Server.

If you are currently connected to an Altium Vault Server, but one or both of your licenses expire, the information will alert you to this fact. In addition, the suffix (Unlicensed) will appear next to the vault's name in the Vaults panel (and also in the Vault view of Altium Designer's Home page).

Indicating that the Altium Vault Server licensing has expired.

The software checks every hour for the presence of valid license files. Without a valid license, access to the Altium Vault Server will not be possible.

 

 

When signing-in to an Altium Vault Server through an external web browser, indication of who is signed in is presented, in terms of the user's full name.

Visual indication of signed-in user when accessing an Altium Vault Server through an external web browser.

This visual indication of the current vault user can also be found in the following areas:

  • Vault and Users views of Altium Designer's Home page.
  • Vaults panel.

To illustrate this, consider the user Jason Howie (with username AltiumJase) logged into an Altium Vault Server, via direct connection through the Data Management – Vaults page of the Preferences dialog.

User connected to an Altium Vault Server through Altium Designer.

On the Home page-related views for the vault, this user is indicated in the top-right corner of a view.

Visual indication of signed-in user when accessing an Altium Vault Server through Altium Designer's Home page views.

While in the Vaults panel, the user is indicated directly above the Search field, and to the immediate left of the navigation controls.

Visual indication of signed-in user when browsing the content of an Altium Vault Server through the Vaults panel.

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