11-01-2011 10:48 AM
Whenever someone asks about storing ACT! data on a NAS device, I generally see the standard mantra repeated, that it is not possible because the database has to be on a local drive. While this may have been true in the past, I don't think it is the case today.
The solution I have been using is to set up an iSCSI target drive and corresponding LUN (logical unit) on the NAS. The LUN can then be mounted on the desired PC with the aid of the iSCSI Initiator, which is included in Windows XP and later. The benefit of this is that the resulting volume is recognized as a local drive, not a network drive. Since it is treated like any other local disk, you can (as far as I know) put just about anything on it that you would install locally. In particular, ACT! databases sit on it very nicely. On a small LAN here I have had ACT! set up this way for over a year and it has proved very stable and effective.
Most of the NAS manufacturers now support iSCSI. Personally I use (and like) Synology but have no doubt that others are good as well. With the Synology software it is very easy to set up an iSCSI target and the whole process only takes about 20 minutes. The instructions are clear, including help on connecting to the target from a client PC.
So far, our implementation of ACT! using iSCSI targets has been quite cautious. Only the ACT! databases have been stored there and then shared in the usual way, as if they were on a local drive. This achieves our aim of having centralized data soorage for the network - in our case on a mirored RAID DiskStation. Our experience is that most SMBs with peer-to-peer networks have similar requirements.
In theory there are, of course, many other scenarios for using iSCSI in a LAN or remotely. It is possible, for instance, to connect different PC's to the same target. I have not yet explored these areas myself and would certainly have concerns about possible sharing violations.
With our limited testing I can't be absolutely sure that this approach causes no problems for ACT! If anyone has any comments or concerns about issues we may have overlooked, I'd appreciate it if you would post them here.
If the method does work, it would be nice if Sage could officially endorse it. At the moment it seems that Sage Support has to advise enquirers that ACT! data cannot be stored on a NAS, which I think is no longer true.
Rather a long post! Thanks for listening.
11-01-2011 12:13 PM
In my opinion, so what. It's still not a true server and the local host system is still doing the server tasks. All you have is an external local drive because no one exlse can connect directly to the database on the NAS.
11-01-2011 06:07 PM
As long as it appears as a local drive.... that's it.
With virtualised servers, many of them are using NAS or SAN type tech for their drive volumes. As long as they appear as a local drive it'll work. Least-ways, that's my experiance.
11-02-2011 12:40 PM
We've been using and recommending iSCSI as a viable solution with ACT! for years. We have yet to run into any issues.
As always... make sure you have a backup other than the iSCSI device.
It is a great solution on many levels.
01-01-2013 09:00 PM - edited 01-01-2013 09:01 PM
I am interested in learning more about how you can set up an ACT! database on a network attached storage device. Can you provide a link to instructions on how to set up such a database? Have you encountered any issues with multiple users or remote use? Also, I see your post is approximately a year old. Have you encountered any new issues with your current array? Hardware/software issues? Thanks a ton.
ACT! 2012 Premium
07-08-2013 03:45 PM
The whole key is to make sure your NAS is a viable iSCSI target. You then need to install some additional microsoft software to be able to detect and connect to the iSCSI target.
Once connected, it will look like any other hard drive connected to your computer. You can then store your ACT! database and shouldn't have too many problems.
It is still a good idea to have another backup system in place since your NAS is stored locally.
Also, most NAS that you would buy at Best Buy, FRY's, Staples etc... are not valid iSCSI targets. You'll need to spend more than $800 to get a decent NAS that will work that also acts as a iSCSI target.
11-24-2014 09:17 AM
Curious...were you able to get this running on a NAS? I just bought a synology NAS and hope to use it for that. I have ACT Premium 2011
11-24-2014 09:56 AM
The version of ACT! is unimportant. You need to configure the NAS as a SCSI target.