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Specify Site Installation Options

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The optimal configuration for a Specify installation depends on the expected number of simultaneous users and the size of your database.

Installation Configuration Overview

Your Specify collection data will be stored in a Microsoft database manager (MSDE, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express). The Specify software application interacts with the database manager and provides the Windows interface, logic and interactive capabilities for working with your data. 

Adding Specify to a computer usually requires two separate software installations:

  1. Installing a Microsoft database manager, or installing software to provide connectivity to an existing database manager on another machine. For new installations, this step must be accomplished first, the Specify application will not install without an existing database manager to which it will connect.
  2. Installing Specify.

Stand-Alone or Client/Server?

Basically, Specify site installations can be configured in one of two ways. The first option is to install the database manager and the Specify application on a single computer. This configuration is best for small collections where a single computer is used for all collection data tasks. This "stand-alone" configuration is also the easiest option if you are evaluating Specify for the first time.

The second way to configure an installation is to run the database manager (MSDE, MS SQL Server 2005 Express or a server edition of MS SQL Server 2005) on a networked computer which acts as a database server. You can then install Specify on multiple networked workstations, so that users on those computers can operate Specify simultaneously utilizing a shared database.

The procedures for installing the Specify application are similar for either type of installation, however the steps for installing a database manager differ with the type of site configuration.

Which is best for you - SQL Server 2005 Express or a full-featured SQL Server 2005?

Specify is compatible with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express and Microsoft SQL Server 2005. The Express version is available for downloading from the Microsoft web site and it does not require a end-user license fee. The Express version is the preferred solution if you have a small- to medium-sized collection. On the other hand, you should consider using another edition of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 if:

  • You have an existing database that contains, or will soon contain, more than 500,000 collection object records.

  • You anticipate a need to access your collection database from an application other than Specify.

  • You anticipate the possibility of five or more users accessing the database concurrently.

  • You plan to use the Specify Web Interface feature to make your data accessible to users on the Internet.

  • Your institution or campus provides coordinated support for Microsoft SQL Server. Specify supports Windows Authentication for organizations with centrally-managed user accounts.

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 supports everything from single-user PCs to multiple-user, multiprocessor servers with Terabyte-sized disk archives. MS SQL Server is licensed for a fee and is usually discounted for academic or research use. Your Microsoft software vendor can provide license and cost information. We will continue to provide limited support for SQL Server 2000 and MSDE, but we strongly encourage you to upgrade to a variation of SQL Server 2005 because Microsoft has stopped all support for any SQL Server 2000 version.

Completing the Installation

After you have installed a database manager or configured your system to access a database manager running on a server computer, you are ready to run the Specify installer.

After Specify is installed, you will need to customize a new Specify database for your collection. Refer to the User Manual available on this web site and installed as Specify's Windows Help for more information on Specify's many customization capabilities.

A Specify collection may also operate two optional components:

  • The Specify Web Interface connects a Specify database directly to a local web server, which allows Internet users to connect to your database through a web browser for querying and viewing data. There is not a separate installation package for the Web Interface. The installation process requires setting up a Microsoft IIS or Apache web server, and then undertaking additional configuration tasks. Please refer to the Specify User Manual for the Web Interface setup instructions.
  • The Specify DiGIR Interface also links your Specify data to a web server, but it serves collection data as XML-structured data records compatible with discipline-based virtual communities such as the Mammals Networked Information System, Fishnet2 or HerpNet. It also supports connections to warehouses of collection information like that of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Installing DiGIR requires running the Specify DiGIR installation package and then performing some configuration within Specify to set up the DiGIR "provider". The DiGIR provider accesses a copy of your primary data. 

The DiGIR and Web interfaces to Specify are best set up by an experienced web, network or systems administrator. The downloadable Specify Installation and Setup Guide has step-by-step installation instructions. To learn more about DiGIR, please refer to Specify DiGIR FAQ.

Created by jbeach
Last modified 2008-07-21 06:55 PM

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