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Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

Copper Super Contributor
Posts: 48
Country: USA

Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

[ Edited ]

We've had reliability problems with our current setup which includes 1 publisher database (ACT v16 SP1 HF2 on server and all remotes) being accessed by 8 remote users, using remote sync, so we're looking for alternatives for remote access

 

I'm looking into different possibilities to establish remote connections to a database.  The database is NOT on a true Windows Server (it's running on Windows 7 Prof), so the obvious solution of using RDP on client computers and configuring TS on a server (there's a KB article on this: http://kb.swiftpage.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/25551/kw/remote%20desktop) is not available.

 

I know that there's a fix to allow multiple RDP sessions on an ordinary workstation, but can ACT and a database be opened up multiple times by multiple RDP sessions, even if each user has their own user profile on the 'server' and logs into that and opens up ACT and the same database?

 

I've considered other options:

  • VPN (too slow and difficult to configure on both server and client side)
  • Web access - requires additional Web server (cannot be installed on same computer as ACT desktop) or VM.  Also, custom add-ons won't be available to remote users
  • Hosted - too costly $30-$40/user/month

 

Bronze Contributor
Posts: 1,276
Country: USA

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

So, first question is, you say the remote databases are being accessed remotely?  Are these databases living on the individual laptops?  Syncing is by far the fastest and best solution for easy access.  It sounds like, though, they may all be on the same machine and you are having them access them remotely.  Not sure.

 

As for a standard machine, there is a definate limit of 10 connections before Windows will get grumpy with you.  Understand that the machine may take up some of the connections - say for the network sync.

 

VPN is definately NOT the way to go.

 

With a good connection, I've had several customers connect in via RDP to a non-server box.  The more people connecting, the slower the process will be, so caution there.  I really believe though that syncing is your best option.

Patricia Egen
Certified ACT! Consultant, Trainer, Developer
www.egenconsulting.com
(423) 875-2652

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Copper Contributor
Posts: 22
Country: USA

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

You do not need a seperate computer to run web ACT! The normal version should be uninstalled as the WEB version of act does everything a normal desktop version would, plus hosts web connections.

 

Our network currently hosts our ACT needs off 1 server. The Web version was installed and setup to host as a local site. We use VPN connections keep our server more secure. It works plenty fast on what is essentially an older workstation. Up to 15 users connect via the web at a time. We have several remote versions installed for our traveling personel. The local office personel connect directly to the database with the software version.

 

 

Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 1,565
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

ActNewb - I have a client who uses multiple RDP sessions for their remote users to open Act! for each user but I'm not technical enough to know how the RDP setup enables this to work. But it does!

David Shaw
Act! Certified Consultant since 2001
Office:    +44 (0)1483 714507
Mobile: +44 (0)7977 567 318
E-Mail:    dshaw@act4u.org 
Copper Super Contributor
Posts: 48
Country: USA

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

[ Edited ]

There's 1 publisher database that has 8 remote databases in remote locations.

 

I've just tested RDP to a test machine running ACT.  I tested 3 RDP sessions and checked the 'server' using taskmgr and it opens independent instances of ACT,! ACT.Integration, ACT.Outlook.Services, plus all the incidental background processes for each RDP session.  Huge memory cost on the server to support so many connections, plus the overhead to manage sending remote display data over the internet.  Also, no ACT integration with Outlook since they will be running Outlook on their own computers and cannot integrate with an RDP session to another computer running ACT.

 

As the game show hosts say....Thanks for playing, next contestant... Smiley Frustrated

 

If I uninstall ACT (desktop) to reinstall ACT for Web, will it retain all my settings, custom add-ons, etc?  Obviously, that would make it easier to implement ACT for Web, although better performance would likely result from having ACT for Web on a different computer (or VM), even though it's a bit more difficult to configure.

 

  • If current remote database users switch to using a web browser to access the publisher database, won't they lose the ACT integration with Outlook, along with any custom add-ons they are running in the full desktop ACT?

 

 

Copper Contributor
Posts: 22
Country: USA

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

Most all ACT! settings are saved in the database files, not the program files. You may need to reinstall 3rd party addons.

 

Your layouts, templates, documents, dashboards, etc all saved in the database files.

 

Always remember to back up ACT! anytime you make changes.

 

As far as outlook intergration. Web Act! can handle that for you.

 

Check your custom add on provider for web compatability. I know some addons work with web, but I cannot speak for everyone addon.

Copper Super Contributor
Posts: 48
Country: USA

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

Not sure how ACT for Web can integrate with the remote user's Outlook.  When I connect to the main database via web browser, I believe I'm running the copy of ACT stored on the remote 'server', so my guess is it could only integrate with the server's Outlook, not the remote user.

Copper Super Contributor
Posts: 48
Country: USA

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

An update:

  • Gave up on RDP for reasons I had stated in previous posts (lack of integration, etc.)
  • Actually tried several different VPN solutions and all of them were awful - way too slow.  Tried Windows own built-in VPN support, Teamviewer's built-in VPN and Logmein Hamachi VPN.  All of them were similarly horribly slow.  ACT would take 2-3 minutes to initially load after logging in and even basic simple searches took nearly 30 sec to respond.

Has anyone had any luck getting decent response times using a VPN?  This is the only possibility that allows the remote users to maintain integration with Outlook and access to custom client-side ACT add-ons.

 

Tried ACT for Web and that had the best response times, but essential ACT add-ons won't work (server and client-side).

 

 

 

Bronze Elite Contributor
Posts: 2,547
Country: New_Zealand

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

We have Smart Inbox that will allow the attachment of email against contact records, irrespective of where Outlook is or whatever email client or device you use. Refer http://www.xactsoftware.co.nz/smart-inbox  

Graeme Leo
Xact Software - consultants and developers
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Copper Super Contributor
Posts: 48
Country: USA

Re: Can remote desktop be used to establish multiple connections to a database?

Gleo, would this work where multiple users are using RDP to connect to a server (technically, not a true Windows Server) that's hosting the database (like I had stated earlier)?  It's highly unlikely that we'll ever use RDP because of the massive overhead that's involved (since TS is not available to properly partition process space between the multiple connections).