December 1, 2005 | Mark Paradies

Tech Support Thursday: Database Details

Hi again everyone, time for this week’s Tech Support Thursday.

Today I’m going to lay down a few basics on how the TapRooT System Software uses databases, the difference in database rollouts between Individual, Workgroup, and Enterprise installations, as well as some troubleshooting tips!

What Kind of Database Does TapRooT System Software Use?

The TapRooT System Software version 4 uses a MSDE database for Single and Workgroup installations. This stands for MicroSoft Database Engine.

What does this database engine accomplish?

The database engine allows us to use full SQL structures, queries, and routines that scales from single user to enterprise installations. If this sounds complicated, don’t sweat—in essence the MSDE package provides you with a database outlet, and that this database engine allows TapRooT to run as it should.

What are the benefits and limitations with Single User and Workgroup installations?

Well, as you can see here:


Workgroups run a single installation of the database engine on a client, and all clients connect to that machine. We suggest no more than 8–10 users, because of the strain on the client machine.

There is also a 2GB database size limit associated with MSDE, but this has—to my knowledge—never actually been met or exceeded by a client. Generally there is 10MB worth of data on a clean install, and each incident adds a few megs to that database. It would take a very long time to create 2GB worth of incidents!

How does Enterprise differ from the Workgroup and Single User versions?

The Enterprise installation of TapRooT System Software allows us to use Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (or above) to create a TapRooT “instance”. This is exactly what happens on a Single User installation, except that MSDE only provides one “instance” per machine (the full-blown SQL Server can handle up to 16 per machine) and there are no size limits.

Databases ran on MS SQL 2000 are accessible from any client machine in the organization with network access to that server. We have no suggested limits on Enterprise installations, precisely because there are none! There are no size limits, no worries about multiple simultaneous connections, the only thing that limits the ability to scale TapRooT System Software throughout your organization is the quality and robustness of the server hardware.

In other words, if you want TapRooT everywhere in your business, the sky is the limit!

Any database troubleshooting tips?

The most asked question regarding accessing databases for Workgroup or Enterprise clients is the inability to ‘see’ the database itself. There are a few tips you can use in these situations:

Make sure you can access the server. This includes both ‘ping’ and ‘NETBios’ access. In other words, you should be able to see the server machine in your “Network Neighborhood” section of Windows.

Check datalist.xml. ‘datalist.xml’ is the file that determines which database server or instance the local installation is looking at. You will find this file in the C:\Program Files\Taproot directory. You’ll see a line much like the following:


*Note – Yours may differ slightly based on the current version you are running

The most important thing to note about this install is the “SERVERNAME=” field. Since I’m running a single-user installation, (local) would be correct, as that refers to my own machine. However, with Workgroup and Enterprise installations, (local) would be replaced with something like SQLSERVER2, or whatever the machine that is hosting the TapRooT database is called.

Again, if you cannot reach ‘SQLSERVER2’ or whatever name your server happens to be, then you may be having network problems or issues unrelated to the TapRooT System Software.

What if I have more comments or questions?

Well, comments are always welcome below. As for technical problems or issues, if you have a single-user installation you can use the Contact Us form. If you have a corporate licensing agreement, please see your IT Department. They should have the TapRoot System Software Administrator’s Guide which should be able to work through most of the issues that occur during installation, as well as issues regarding connectivity.

Thanks for reading, see you next week!

Software - Technically Speaking
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