The target audience for this document is IT professionals who are considering or planning an installation of IrisBG in a multi user environment. Its purpose is to give you a brief overview of the architecture, requirements and installation of the IrisBG software package.

Architectural Overview

IrisBG consists of the following software modules:

  • Main Desktop Application
    The main desktop application is a native Windows 32/64 bit application built on Windows .Net 3.5. The application communicates directly with a SQL Server database which can be hosted locally or on the IrisBG Cloud Database Hosting Service.
  • SQL Server Database
    IrisBG has been designed with database vendor independence in mind. Currently, the software has been tested and is supported for all editions of Microsoft SQL Server, version 2008 R2 or later.
    The database can either be hosted in your own local network or using the Cloud Database Service.
  • IrisBG Handheld (optional)
    IrisBG Handheld is an App built for Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets. In addition to the App, users will also need to install the App Manager on a Windows Desktop computer to manage the dataflow between the App and the main system.
  • IrisBG Mobile (optional)
    IrisBG Mobile is built for handheld devices using Microsoft Embedded Handheld (AKA Windows Mobile) with Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 3.5 and Microsoft SQL Server Compact. In addition, IrisBG uses native software components from Motorola to integrate with Motorola barcode scanners (AKA Symbol).
  • Garden Explorer and Index Seminum websites (optional)
    The Index Seminum and Garden Explorer websites are built with Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 and Ajax technology. Currently both modules have been tested and support Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). The websites can be either be hosted by us or on premises.
  • Web Map Service (optional)
    The Mapping module requires a connection to the internet to access internet hosted map providers such as Google and Bing. To integrate your own base maps with IrisBG and Garden Explorer, the maps need to be hosted on a WMS compatible map server such as GeoServer or ArcGIS Server. Maps can either be hosted via the IrisBG Map Hosting Service or on premises.
Local network database

Requirements and Recommendations

Main Desktop Application

  • Microsoft Windows XP or later, 32 or 64 bit. Windows 7 or 10 recommended. 64 bit Windows is recommended for users who need to process very large datasets.
  • 100 MB of free disk space for installation.
  • 200 MB of free disk space for SQLite Map tile cache, if mapping is used.
  • Microsoft Excel 2007 or later for reporting.
  • Microsoft Word 2007 or later for label templates and reporting.
  • Internet connection. Some features such as mapping, IPNI validation, Garden Explorer Upload and Web Search, use internet. The firewall must allow HTTP traffic.
  • Cloud Database Service Connection. Stable internet connection which allows outbound traffic on port 1433. For more details, Visit the requirement page.

Locally hosted Microsoft SQL Server Database

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 or later (Older version upon request). All editions are supported, including the free SQL Server Express Edition and Microsoft SQL Azure.
  • Mixed authentication mode is recommended.
  • Storage Requirements:
    • Between 1GB to 10GB. More if a large amount and/or very high resolution images are to be stored.
      • A plant collection of 10.000 accessions and 5.000 taxa will consume between 50 and 100 MB of disk space, excluding documents and images.
      • If images are downscaled to 3 megapixel (Default), expected disk requirement is 1GB per 1000 images.
      • If a large amount of high-resolution images are to be stored, it is recommended to enable SQL Server FILESTREAM support to improve performance and disk management.
    • Please note that IrisBG can integrate with an external URL based Digital Asset Management System.
    • For users of MS SQL Express edition, please note that this database is limited to 10GB of disk use and 1GB of memory.
  • No IrisBG related work is needed on the SQL Server database after installation is completed. All user accounts are managed within the application and any upgrade to the database is handled by the software upgrade process. Please make sure you have a robust backup/maintenance plan in place.

IrisBG Handheld (optional)

  • For details about requirements and recommended devices, consult the IrisBG Handheld help.
  • The IrisBG App Manager, installed on a Windows desktop computer, require Windows 7 or later and .Net Framework 4.6.1.

IrisBG Mobile (optional)

Garden Explorer and Index Seminum Websites (optional)

  • Microsoft IIS 6.5 or later.
  • Our hosting service includes website monitoring, software upgrades and general maintenance. If you are considering hosting the websites yourself, this is only recommended for institutions with in-house expertise in managing Microsoft IIS and ASP.Net websites.

Web Map Server (optional)

  • The WMS should support the Web Mercator projection (EPSG:3857).
  • If the maps are to be used on the Garden Explorer website, the WMS service must be accessible via the internet.

Installation Process

This is a simplified summery of the installation process. More details can be found on our installation page.

Locally hosted SQL Server Database

  • Attach the database files we have supplied to your database server.
  • Create a separate database login for the IrisBG software.
  • Run a sp_change_users_login script to associate the new database login with the IrisBG database.
  • Configure a backup schedule.

Main Desktop Application

  • Install MSI installation package.
  • Run software to prepare an encrypted database configuration file using the database connection editor.
  • Make a copy of the database configuration file to be used on subsequent desktop installations.
  • Upgrades
    • New releases are made available between 2 to 4 times a year.
    • If you decide to upgrade, install the MSI package on the individual PC's.
    • Any changes to the database schema will be handled automatically by the software.
    • Users with an old version cannot login until they upgrade.
    • For tips on how to distribute the installation to several computers, visit this thread on our forum.

IrisBG Handheld

  • The App is installed directly from relevant App store. The IrisBG App Manager is normally installed on a few computers. For more details, visit the Iris Handheld Installation Page.

IrisBG Mobile

IrisBG Garden Explorer and Index Seminum Websites

  • Installation guides are supplied upon request.

Cloud Database Service vs Local Network Database

When is a Cloud Database Service likely to be the best option?

  • If you do not have resources in your institutions to setup and manage a local SQL Server Database, a Cloud Database Service is often the most cost effective and convenient option.
  • If you are planning to use IrisBG from different locations that are not integrated in one computer network, using a Cloud Database Service will make it possible to work on the same database using the Internet as your infrastructure.

When is a Local Network Database likely to be the best option?

  • If you already have a local SQL Server database installed in your network and have resources in your institution to manage the server, it will in most cases be sensible to carry on using your local SQL server.
  • If your internet connectivity is unreliable and/or very slow, try to find out if anything can be done to improve reliability before you consider the Cloud Database service. You will find links to network testing tools on our requirement page, in the “Cloud hosted database service” chapter.
  • If you are planning to install IrisBG on one single PC and it is very unlikely that you will ever need to install IrisBG on other PC's, a local SQL Server Express installation might be the best option. However, with a software licence for one concurrent user, it may in some cases be worthwhile to install the database on a server. This setup also gives you the option to install the software on different PC’s.

Other Considerations

IrisBG licence model

  • The IrisBG licence model is based on concurrent usage. The software can be installed on as many desktops as you like. The licence is only limited by how many users are logged in at any given time. Administrators can reset sessions if users have forgotten to log out.
  • The license model for IrisBG Handheld and IrisBG mobile is per device.

User access levels

  • User access levels are managed on the Authorization/User Accounts screen and Role Types screen. This is also where forgotten passwords are reset if IrisBG authentication is used.

Integrated Network authentication.

  • IrisBG supports network authentication with LDAP compatible directory services.
  • This feature is switched on after installation on the Maintenance/Configuration screen by supplying values for Domain, Single Sign On [Y/N], Port and Secure [Y/N].
  • Each user is identified by the “Logon user” field, in the Management/Personnel screen (This can be different from the IrisBG initials).
  • If Single Sign On is enabled, users can start the software without having to enter user credentials or a password. The user is identified by their network credentials.
  • The predefined user named “admin” will always use IrisBG authentication.
  • More details are found in the integrated help or the User Guide, available from our download page.

Optional Free Software Solutions

A number of free optional software solutions are available from the Download Page.

  • IrisBG Microsoft Excel Add-in used to prepare data for import.
  • IrisBG Microsoft Word Add-in used for enhanced formatting of plant labels.
  • Esri ArcGIS IrisBG Sync to upload IrisBG planting data to an Esri ArcMap layer.
  • IrisBG Batch Jobs to automate data uploads to Garden Explorer, data imports and data exports.
Last Updated 12 Oct 2018
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