We strongly recommend the use of Microsoft Terminal Services. We have experienced very good results by installing the Produce Inventory Control System (PICS), and other WaudWare software on a dedicated virtual server. At WaudWare, we run on a few virtual Microsoft Windows servers running in VMWare on the host servers provided by our hosting partner System Lifeline www.systemlifeline.com. The majority of our customers have also gone the route of Virtual Servers. Most run VMWare, and a few run Hyper-V.
Our recommendation for a dedicated server is based on our experience over the past few years. We have found that installing new software/updates for peripherals such as printers, scanners, cameras, anti-virus, and the like, on the server or workstations where the Produce Inventory Control System (PICS) runs randomly causes problems. These problems are sporadic and difficult to troubleshoot. As technology advances, we believe these types of challenges are likely to increase.
In order to minimize these challenges, we believe that separating mission critical applications such as Produce Inventory Control System (PICS) software from other applications and peripherals is a smart business decision. Many of our customers’ IT professionals agree that separating applications onto multiple servers (possibly on virtual machines) provides better stability for all systems. The trade off for stability of mission critical applications by way of segregation means overcoming complexities in the initial stages, but we believe they are justified for the produce businesses of today.
Accessing the PICS Server via RDP from your client machines can be done in such a way that to the end user it looks like all their programs are running on their local machine.
Did you know we have an "Advice for Systems Running PICS" document which could prove to be very useful to IT Professionals and System Administrators responsible for supporting PICS? We are constantly enhancing and updating this document. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the most recent update.
On the workstations, PICS will run on Windows 7 32-bit. On the server, Windows 2008 32-bit is required. PICS will not run in the 64 bit versions of Windows (yet).
Since PICS is written in FoxPro (one of the fastest databases on the market), speed of index retrieval is extremely important. Therefore Gigabit networks are the best, however it will work on 100 megabit networks.Terminal Services is an even better way to go, because everything is running on the same machine.
Minimal storage is required on the individual user's home folders (TS Session or workstations) as all shared files are stored on the server. The space required on the server or shared data folder will vary with your volume of business, but between 100 and 500 MB per year is a reasonable estimate (these estimates are based on a company that does 100 orders a day and 500 orders a day respectively). If you plan on using document imaging, disk space will be used much more quickly.
PICS can be configured to print to any printer that has a windows driver. Standard reports are designed to print in landscape orientation on 8.5 x 11 paper on laser printers. Forms (Cheques, Statements, Invoices, Pick Tickets etc.) can be modified by the user to print on any printer desired. All forms can be "anchored" to specific printers, which means that they will go to the appropriate printer by default, without the users needing to select it. We discourage the use of dot matrix printers. Wherever possible, print servers should be utilized.
We do not support Microsoft Remote Desktop Printer Redirection. It is our experience that using dedicated network printers (accessible directly from the Terminal Server, or through a print server) provides the most stable printing environment.
Any barcode printer with a windows printer driver can be used. Barcodes can also be configured to be printed on laser printers or other printers (although printing barcodes on dot matrix printers is not recommended). Most brands of barcode readers on the market (that send their data through the keyboard interface) can be configured to work with PICS.