Which type of database to use in InfoWorks ICM: Standalone or Workgroup?

Some InfoWorks ICM users often see error messages when they try to open their database (DB) or a network. These likely are signs of database corruption. The database restauration is difficult, time consuming and sometimes impossible. Then, this article will review the conditions to use the 2 available types of database in InfoWorks ICM in order to limit the database corruption and the loss of time. The two available database types are:

  • The Standalone database
  • The Workgroup database

The Standalone DB is represented by an .icmm file whereas the Workgroup DB is represented by a .sndb folder. It is important to note these two types of DB are totally independent from the type of licence (floating or standalone). These two types of DB are available whatever type of licence is used. For the users who might already use the wrong type of DB, taking huge risk of DB corruption, a part of this article details step by step how to convert a standalone DB into a Workgroup DB.

Standalone VS Workgroup

          Standalone database

A Standalone database (DB) is dedicated for a single user working independently. All the data from the DB is only accessible to this user. Only this user have all the rights and permissions on the DB. Another user will not be able to work with the data and would only be able to view the data. This part is the first key point.

Another key point is that the Standalone DB must be stored on a local drive of the user computer. It should not be stored on a server or a network drive. If a user tries to do so, there will be no error message. Nonetheless, the user will take huge risks to corrupt the DB, especially if a micro disconnection happens during the commit process.

If a user works independently but wants to store the data on a server or a network drive, the Workgroup must be chosen.

Note: using a Standalone DB is not a break to exchange data or results. The transportable DB will have to be used.

          Workgroup database

Unlike the Standalone DB, the Workgroup database manages multiple users. Several users can have access to the same DB. A conflicts manager allows to securely have several users working on the same network. Moreover, this type of DB allows to securely store data on a network drive or on a server.

Create a new Workgroup database

To create a Workgroup database, there are two steps:

  • Installing the Workgroup Data Server
  • Creating the Workgroup Database

Workgroup Data Server installation

          What is the Workgroup Data Server?

The Workgroup Data Server is a server component, which manages access to Workgroup databases from InfoWorks ICM and InfoNet Clients. The Data Server is designed to improve the performance and reliability of database operations in a Workgroup environment. The advantages of using a Workgroup Data Server are:

  • Less network traffic:
    • Only modified data is sent between Workgroup Client and the Workgroup Data Server.
    • Data is compressed.
  • Better performance:
    • The Workgroup Data Server is the only process accessing the data, so it can be located on a local disk on the machine running Workgroup Data Server.

The same Workgroup Data Server can be used for many different databases. The Workgroup Client (user interface) communicates with the Workgroup Data Server with TCP/IP. The default port is 40000. It can be modified with a configuration file.

          How to install the Workgroup Data Server

The Workgroup Data Server can be downloaded on the same web-platform to download InfoWorks ICM. You must use your own login and password to access the download. For each new version of the Workgroup Client, the same version of the Workgroup Data Sever should be installed. The Workgroup Data Server is available in 32 and 64 bits. We recommend to use the 64 bits version, as for the Workgroup Client.

Workgroup Data Server installation

Once the installation file is downloaded, it should be executed on the machine hosting the DB to install the Workgroup Data Server. Be careful, it is important to install the Workgroup Data Server on a local drive. By default, the installation is done on the main hard drive. This location can be modified but must stay a local drive.

          Workgroup Data Server configuration

It is possible to configure some parameters for the Workgroup Data Server. These options are set in a simple text file called snumbat.ini. The Workgroup Data Server installer does not install a default version of this file. You will have to create it yourself if you want to change the default settings. The file should be located in the directory where the Workgroup Data Server is installed, the directory containing the file snumbat.exe, which is normally “C:\Program Files\ Innovyze Workgroup Data Server”

Note: with standard Workgroup Database, it is not necessary to use a snumbat.ini file. It is used only if you want to change the default parameters.

The following table indicates the key words and values to use in the configuration file.

Keyword Use Value
Port Specifies the TCP port number to listen on. The default value is 40000. TCP port number to listen on.

 

DataPath Specifies the data directory SNumbatData for the WDS Data Store. For best performance this should be on a local drive. Path of the folder
LogToFile Choose where to find the log output.

The default settings is 0.

0: log output is sent to the ‘Windows Event log’

1: log output is sent to a file called snumbat.log in the root of the WDS Data Store directory.

LogLevel Specifies the log level treshold. Each level adds more details.

The default settings is 2. We do not recommend setting a higher value.

4: errors only

3: includes warnings

2: includes start-up/shutdown information

1: includes general information about usage (to log file only)

0: includes debug information (to log file only)

DisableReverseDNS The Workgroup Data Server uses reverse DNS to lookup the name of incoming connections. If reverse DNS is not setup for your network this lookup might add a second or two to each connection to the Workgroup Data Server. Settings this paramater to 1 will disable the lookup.

The default settings is 0.

0: Active Reverse DNS

1: Disable Reverse DNS

AllowDatabaseCreation Allow the creation of the database.

The default settings is to allow database creation by clients.

0: Creation disallowed

1: Creation allowed

Only the Workgroup Data Server needs to have access to the files in the DB (files within the .sndb folder). For a better performance, they have to be stored on a local drive of the machine running the Workgroup Data Server. In other words, the Workgroup databases must be stored on a local drive on the computer running the Workgroup Data Server (keyword DataPath).

Create a Workgroup database

The default location for the Workgroup databases is C:\ProgramData\Innovyze\SNumbatData. For each database, there is a .sndb folder identified by the name of the database. Be careful, the files within the folder representing the database must not be modified out of the user interface.

Once the Workgroup Data Server is installed, you can create a Workgroup DB from the user interface. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Open the user interface.
  2. Go to File > Open > Open/Create master database…
  3. Choose the type Workgroup.
  4. Enter the name or IP of the server, which will host the DB.
  5. Choose the communication port (40000 by default if not changed in the configuration file).
  6. Click on Connect. A message should indicate that the connection was successful.
  7. Create or browse the database by clicking on New or by choosing from the list menu.

Create database

How to convert a Standalone database into a Workgroup database?

With the following steps, you can convert your Standalone database into a Workgroup database:

  1. Install the Workgroup Data Server on the machine that will be hosting the database. The installed version should match the Workgroup Client version.
  2. In option, configure the Workgroup Data Server to use a different port or the location of the database (by default C drive).
  3. If the point 2 is used, you should restart the Innovyze Workgroup Data Server service.
  4. In the user interface, create a new Workgroup DB (see previous paragraph).
  5. Open the Standalone DB as another database (File > Open > open another master database)
  6. Copy the database objects from the Standalone DB to the Workgroup DB to finish the transfer. You can also transfer data from a transportable DB.

Key points

  • The database types (Standalone or Workgroup) are independent from the type of licence. It is the location of the database and the number of user which will determine the type of database to use.
  • The Standalone database is dedicated to a single user and must be stored on a local drive (not on a server and not on a network drive).
  • The Workgroup database should be chosen when there are several users or when the location of the database is on a server or a network drive.
  • To use a Workgroup database, you should install the Workgroup Data Server on the machine hosting the database.
  • The Workgroup Data Server should be install on a local drive.
  • The Workgroup Data Server is a server component, which allows the communication between the user interface and the database.