Installing and Deploying Sage ERP Accpac 6.0A
We’re only a month or two away from the launch of Sage ERP Accpac 6.0A (for details see: https://smist08.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/preparing-for-the-sage-erp-accpac-6-0a-launch/). A major goal of this release is to provide a smooth upgrade transition from 5.x to 6.x. There has been some concern that the new Web based components will make the product harder to install or increase the hardware requirements of the product. This blog posting will go into some detail of the parts that are the same, the parts that are new, what is optional and what you need to watch out for. We’ve put a lot of effort into the Accpac installation program to make the process as transparent and simple as possible. But sometime it’s helpful to know what’s going on behind the scenes and what is being setup for you.
If you don’t want to worry about the new Web technologies, you don’t have to. From Accpac’s installation screen you can de-select the “Portal” feature and install just like you always have.
Of course you can always add the Portal feature at any later time.
Accpac Web Portal
Whether you are doing a Workstation Setup, Terminal Server or Local programs installation, you only want to install the portal in one place on the server that will be your IIS Web Server. On all other computers if doing a full installation, be sure to un-check the Portal as an installation option. If you want to run VB UIs from the new Portal, you do need to have the ability to run the classic Windows Desktop via a workstation setup or local install.
Hopefully you will want to use the new Web Base Portal with all the new functionality available there. If you have worked with SageCRM 7.0 then much of the deployment and installation is the same. We both use a combination of IIS and Apache Tomcat to process Web Requests. In fact, when we wrote our installation script, we copied all the sections for Tomcat, Jakarta and IIS from the SageCRM installation script and just modified them for Accpac. So much of the installation is actually field tested since it has been used for many SageCRM installations.
Below is a diagram showing the main components involved in a Web Portal deployment.
If you are installing the new Web Based Portal or using Quotes to Orders from SageCRM, you need a Web Server. Hopefully you already have such a server being used as a file server or as a SageCRM server. You will install the Accpac Portal here. On this server computer you need to install IIS before you install Accpac. Since IIS is a Windows component, we can’t do that for you from our installation program. You need to either add this as a role to your server or add the Windows component from the control panel. Note that this excludes you running the new Portal on a laptop running Windows Home edition, since it does not have IIS as an option.
You don’t need to do anything beyond adding IIS, our installation program will add all our components to IIS and will configure IIS to work with Accpac. This is true if you are running internally, if you expose this Web server to the Internet or you want better internal security then you have to do a small amount of work to configure the Web Server for HTTPS and add a digital certificate to correctly identify the server to clients.
Below are the virtual directories and application pools added by the Accpac and SageCRM installation programs to IIS.
Our new SData services that process the various SData Web Service requests are programs written in Java (https://smist08.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/sdata-in-sage-erp-accpac-6/). To run this Java program we require a Java Application Server, which is a program that receives web requests and passes them to Java classes to be processed. The Java application server that we use is Apache Tomcat (http://tomcat.apache.org/). Behind the scenes our installation program installs Tomcat in C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Sage\Sage Accpac\Tomcat6 and adds it as a Windows Service. Hopefully you never need to know this program is even here. Hopefully it is all setup perfectly and you will never need to touch it.
Below is the Windows Services dialog showing our usual service for handling .Net Remoting requests and our the new service that is the Accpac instance of Apache Tomcat.
Portal Database Configuration
The new Accpac Web Portal has its own database that it uses to store various information like you shortcuts and preferences. So you need to configure this database from Database Setup which now has a “Portal…” button which leads to the following dialog.
If you want to expose your Accpac Portal to the Internet or just want extra internal security then you should configure IIS to use HTTPS rather than HTTP. To do this you add an https binding to the default web site bindings. When doing this it wants a digital certificate to identify the server. You need to get this issued from Verisign (www.VeriSign.com) or another vendor. Otherwise the Browser will complain about accessing this site, since it won’t be able to prove who it’s talking to. Additionally you will then want to disable HTTP so access only happens through a secure connection. Then you would follow all the other security best practices for managing a Windows Server (like be behind a firewall and have all unused services turned off). Often it’s worth running a tool like NMap/Zenmap (http://nmap.org/zenmap/) to confirm that you aren’t running anything unexpected that could be hacked.
Hopefully this gives some idea of the various issues and considerations installing Sage ERP Accpac 6.0A. If you are familiar with SageCRM 7.0 then this should all be old hat. Otherwise give it a try; it’s not nearly as hard as it might look.