Altium Designer Documentation

Information for IT Departments Regarding Altium Concord Pro

Created: February 3, 2021 | Updated: March 25, 2021

While installation and use of Altium Server Technology - in the form of Altium Concord Pro and its related services - is detailed across other pages within this documentation site, the aim of this page is to provide a single, detailed resource for an organization's IT department. A place to come for answers to typically asked questions regarding this technology, including:

  • What are the hardware requirements to install Altium Concord Pro?
  • What is installed?
  • What programs and processes are running?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • What ports are used?
  • What protocol is used for communications?
  • How is data backed-up?

The following sections provide detailed answers to these and other questions, including a high-level overview of the architecture and data flows.

Hardware Requirements

Altium Concord Pro should be installed on a PC running one of the following officially supported Operating Systems:

  • Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition (64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition (64-bit)

Altium Concord Pro cannot be installed on a PC running a 32-bit OS, nor a 64-bit OS that does not support Windows Authentication (Core, Home, Starter, and Base editions). The following is a summary of supported Operating Systems:

  • Officially Supported: Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition 64-bit (Recommended), Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition 64-bit (Minimum).
  • Recommended only for Evaluation: Windows 10 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit - Ultimate or Professional versions in each case. Due to being limited to 10 concurrent websockets in use through Concord Pro's browser interface on such an OS.
Altium Concord Pro relies on a number of Microsoft runtime components for successful operation and access, in some situations these may not be present on the target machine. If you receive an error message about a missing library (DLL) when you attempt to sign in to Altium Concord Pro, it indicates that there are missing Microsoft runtime components. Obtain and install the relevant Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package for your OS.

The following are the recommended system requirements to install and run Altium Concord Pro. Note that these recommendations are for 5 concurrent users.

  • OS: Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition (64-bit)
  • RAM: 16GB+
  • Processor: Intel® Xeon® processor or equivalent (4 or more cores)
  • Disk space: 200GB
To ensure a smooth experience with Concord Pro's Web Interface, ensure you have the latest version of a supported browser installed (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari), that WebGL is enabled for it, and that the video drivers for your computer are up to date.

The following are the minimum system requirements to install and run Altium Concord Pro. Note that these recommendations are for 5 concurrent users.

  • OS: Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition (64-bit)
  • RAM: 8GB+
  • Processor: Intel Core i3/i5 processor or equivalent (2 or more cores)
  • Disk space: 200GB
To ensure a smooth experience with Concord Pro's Web Interface, ensure you have the latest version of a supported browser installed (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari), that WebGL is enabled for it, and that the video drivers for your computer are up to date.

Altium Designer Requirements

To fully access and appreciate the features and technologies associated to, and installed with, the latest release of Altium Concord Pro, you should also use the latest release of Altium Designer.

Installation & Other Software

Due to the observed unpredictable behavior of antivirus software, it is recommended to disable such software during the installation of Altium Concord Pro.

If the computer is also running Microsoft Exchange Server, you might receive an HTTP Error 503 error when you first attempt to log in. The installation of the Exchange Server can change the Internet Information Services (IIS) configuration in a way that conflicts with Altium Concord Pro. To resolve this, the following changes must be made to the applicationHost.config file:

<handlers accessPolicy="Read, Script">
...

<add name="kerbauth" image="C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Bin\kerbauth.dll" preCondition="bitness64" />
<add name="WSMan" image="C:\Windows\system32\wsmsvc.dll" preCondition="bitness64" />
<add name="exppw" image="C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\ClientAccess\Owa\auth\exppw.dll" preCondition="bitness64" />
<add name="cafe_exppw" image="C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\FrontEnd\HttpProxy\bin\exppw.dll"  preCondition="bitness64" />

...
</handlers>

For information about the ApplicationHost.config file, refer to this article. For information on editing the file, refer to this article.

Additional Software Installed or Configured

  • Internet Information Services (IIS). For correct operation, Altium Concord Pro requires, at minimum, version 8.0 (IIS 8.0) to be installed. Installation of Altium Concord Pro will simply install the version of IIS native to your operating system:
    • IIS 10.0 - Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition (64-bit), Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition (64-bit) and Windows 10 (64-bit)
    • IIS 8.5 - Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
  • Firebird 2.5 database engine
  • .NET Framework 4.5.2
To ensure a smooth experience with Concord Pro's Web Interface, ensure you have the latest version of a supported browser installed (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari), that WebGL is enabled for it, and that the video drivers for your computer are up to date.

IIS Configuration

As part of IIS configuration, the ISAPI Extensions feature is enabled. This feature can be found in the \Internet Information Services\World Wide Web Services\Application Development Features section of the Windows Features dialog - accessed from Window's Programs and Features window.


Installation of Altium Concord Pro enables the Windows ISAPI Extensions feature, part of IIS configuration.

The following application pools are installed on the IIS server:

  • Altium Concord Pro
  • Altium Concord Pro - Applications Registry Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - ARK Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - BOM Management Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Collaboration Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Comments Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Configuration Discovery
  • Altium Concord Pro - Data Acquisition Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Data Storage Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Discovery Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - EIS
  • Altium Concord Pro - Event Dispatching Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Git
  • Altium Concord Pro - Identity Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - LicenseManager Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Managed Flows
  • Altium Concord Pro - MCAD Collaboration Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Network Installation Management
  • Altium Concord Pro - Network Installation Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Notifications Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - NTLM Authentication
  • Altium Concord Pro - Part Catalog Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Plm Sync Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Projects Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Search Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Search Templates Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Security Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Settings Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Simple Lock Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Tasks Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Team Configuration Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Vault Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Vcs Service
  • Altium Concord Pro - Web Review
  • Altium Concord Pro - WebSocket Service
Note that not all services are available through Altium Concord Pro. Such Server technology - including Managed Flows, Network Installation, Tasks, and Team Configuration - is disabled through the Altium Concord Pro licensing.

Verification that Altium Concord Pro is running can be performed from the Windows Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager panel - accessed from Window's Administrative Tools window. Simply check to confirm each of these application pools are in the Started state.


Altium Concord Pro-related application pools running on the IIS server.

Default Installation Paths

The following is a list of default installation paths when installing Altium Concord Pro:

  • Altium Concord Pro Installation Folder - \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium Concord Pro
  • Firebird Installation Folder - \Program Files (x86)\Firebird\Firebird_2_5
  • Firebird Database - \ProgramData\Altium\ConcordProData\DXPSERVER.DAT
  • Revision Files Folder - \ProgramData\Altium\ConcordProData\Revisions
  • Search Index Data Folder - \ProgramData\Altium\ConcordProData\SearchData

Default Ports

The following default communication port numbers are used by Altium Concord Pro:

  • HTTP Port - 9780
  • HTTPS Port - 9785
  • LDAP Service Port - 9791
The LDAP Service Port is not, in actual fact, used. For standard LDAP (with URL 'ldap://'), the port from this URL is used. For secure LDAP (with URL 'ldaps://'), the port 636 is used.
  • Websocket Port - 4649
  • Firebird Server Port - 3050
  • SVN Port - 3690

The first three in the list can be configured during initial installation, on the Altium Concord Pro Configuration page of the Installer.

If a port is already used, the Installer will search for the next available, and use that instead.

When choosing a port, note that it must not clash with any ports used by other applications - if a port is currently in use, you will be notified by the installer.

The HTTP Port is served by IIS and used by Altium Concord Pro applications. It is the main port, and should always be open. The Firebird Server Port is used for, and by, the Firebird RDBMS. By default it is binded only to localhost. It SHOULD NOT be exposed externally, for security reasons. Users do not interact with this port directly. Both ports provide regular HTTP interaction (request/response). Both ports can be customized. The HTTP Port can be changed during installation. While the Firebird Server Port can be changed manually, it is not recommended to do so.
With respect to the HTTP communications port, if you have legacy Vault technology (Altium Personal Vault) running on the same PC, ensure that the communication ports are unique. A legacy Altium Personal Vault uses the port 9680. Altium Concord Pro cannot be installed alongside a legacy Altium NEXUS Server, legacy Altium Vault 3.0, or an Altium Infrastructure Server (i.e. on the same PC). In the case of the NEXUS Server/Vault, you can upgrade to Altium Concord Pro (as though updating to a later version of that NEXUS Server/Vault).

HTTPS Protocol Support

For those that require an additional layer of security for exchanging data with Altium Concord Pro, the Server provides for secure communication over networks using the HTTPS protocol to protect the privacy and integrity of the data.

The port number used for secure server connections is defined during the installation process, on the Altium Concord Pro Configuration page of the Installer. Use the default port (9785) or enter an alternative.

The configuration and server bindings for Altium Concord Pro can be accessed from the Windows Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager panel - available from the Administration Tools window (Control Panel\System and Security\Administrative Tools). Select the 'Altium Concord Pro' entry in the panel's Connections\Sites list, and choose the Features View tab.


Access configuration and server binding settings for Altium Concord Pro.

The available ports and server names for Altium Concord Pro are shown as selectable links in the Actions pane. Use the links to note and test the server connection protocols, or access the current name/port bindings by selecting the Bindings link in the Edit Site section of the pane.

A Binding, including its protocol port number, can be edited from the Site Bindings dialog via the Edit button.


Configure bindings through the Site Bindings dialog.

Note that the server name localhost only applies to the local machine, so PCs other than the one that is hosting Altium Concord Pro need to use the actual (server) name of that host machine to connect.

To confirm the name of the host PC on which Altium Concord Pro is installed and running, on that machine go to Control Panel\System and Security\System and note both the Computer name and Full computer name (its qualified domain name) - the latter will be that used by Altium Concord Pro for secure connections over the network.


Checking the name of the PC on which Altium Concord Pro is running.

For PCs that are not part of a Domain (configured as standard Workgroup PCs) the Computer name and Full computer name will be the same.

If you have edited the server's site bindings to use a Port number that is different to the default value, this change will need to be reflected in the server's LocalVault.ini file. This file can be found in the server installation's root folder – typically \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium Concord Pro – and its port references are accessed when connections are made to the server by Altium Designer.

For example, if you have changed the server's site binding to use the standard 443 port for HTTPS connections, update the corresponding HttpsPort=9785 line in the LocalVault.ini file to HttpsPort=443.
See example.

To establish a secure connection to Altium Concord Pro:

  • From Altium Designer - use a HTTPS prefixed server address and the configured HTTPS port. By default, this is https://localhost:9785 when using the PC that hosts Altium Concord Pro, or https://<computername>:9785 for a remote connection (where [computername] is the host machine's Computer Name or qualified domain name).
Altium Designer includes the required security support to accept a HTTPS connection to Altium Concord Pro without intervention.
  • From a Web Browser - enter the address of the local service (https://localhost:9785) or the host computer name equivalent (https://<computername>:9785).
Altium Concord Pro currently offers a self-signed Identity Certificate for secure connections, which you can choose to accept in your browser to proceed. Some browsers (for example Firefox) offer the option to permanently accept the certificate, so that further action is not required.

When Reconfiguring Site Bindings

If you have added a new IIS Site Binding for the server, or edited an existing Site Binding entry (see above), the server PC should be restarted to correctly establish the new configuration. Typical Site Binding changes might be editing the Port number for a host entry, or adding a new binding for a domain alias.

When it is not practical to restart the server host machine, the alternative process is to restart the server service on the IIS platform – Restart under Manage Website – and also restart the Altium Server Pinger service (a Windows service).

Run the above starting process if you receive a 'SignalR Hub "healthmonitorHub" not found!' error message when attempting to run the server's Health Monitor feature.

Protocol used for Service-to-Service Communications

SOAP over HTTP.

Service Architecture – Overview

Altium Concord Pro installs a number of core services, as well as browser-based management consoles, and an Explorer (also browser-based). In order to access any of these services, a user's identity must be recognized and authenticated. Altium Concord Pro comes with one predefined user (Username: admin, Password: admin). The Users page of Concord Pro's browser-based interface can be used to add and manage more users. There is no limit to the number of users that may be registered to access and use Altium Concord Pro, but there is a limit on simultaneous connections, as determined and enforced by required licensing.

The same user can be accessing Altium Concord Pro concurrently in different ways (e.g. connected through Altium Designer AND signed-in through an external Web Browser) and it only counts as a single connection from the licensing perspective, when access is made from the same PC. If the same user accesses Altium Concord Pro from different PCs, each different PC access will require a separate connection (so extra seat of a Connector Access License).

Altium Designer uses an unencrypted channel (SOAP over HTTP) for communicating with the following services:

  • Collaboration Service
  • Comments Service
  • Data Acquisition Service
  • Data Storage Service (DSS)
  • Identity Service (IDS)
  • Notifications Service
  • Part Catalog Service
  • Projects Service
  • Simple Lock Service (SLS)
  • SVN (through the SVN:// protocol)
  • Vault Service

All other services communicate with each other.

The majority of services require access to the same Altium Concord Pro database, in which to store data applicable to them. The following are examples of the data stored by some of these services:

  • Part Catalog Service - stores supplier and manufacturer items, price and quantity history changes, etc...
  • Identity Service - stores users, roles, licensing configuration, and session information.  
  • Vault Service - stores its structure (folders, items, revisions, content types, lifecycle states, etc...).

Actual documents are stored on the file system, in the Revisions folder (\ProgramData\Altium\ConcordProData\Revisions).

The Part Catalog Service also requires a direct connection (without a proxy) to the Internet, for real-time price updates.

The following browser-based applications use SOAP API to communicate to the applicable services - they do not require access to the Altium Concord Pro database, nor are any other files required for them to function:

  • User Management - the application behind the Users page and sub-pages in Concord Pro's browser interface.
  • Vault Explorer - the application behind the Explorer page of Concord Pro's browser interface.
  • Catalog Management - the application behind the Part Providers page of Concord Pro's browser interface.
  • Projects Management - the application behind the Projects page of Concord Pro's browser interface.

License Files

Related article: Altium Concord Pro Licensing

Licensing for Altium Concord Pro essentially consists of the following two components, that together comprise a two-tiered licensing system:

  • Server License - this license makes the features and services of the Altium Concord Pro installation available to the organization.
  • Client Access License - this license enables users within an organization to access, and sign-in to the organization's Altium Concord Pro installation.

Licensing for Altium Concord Pro can be handled through the cloud, or locally through license files (*.alf). Acquisition of the latter is performed through the Altium Dashboard (accessed using the DASHBOARD control at the top of the Altium website). From the Licenses tab, locate the applicable license (in the CONCORD PRO grouping of licenses) then click through to the detailed license management page. Once there, click the Activate button to generate and download the associated license file.

The software checks every hour for the presence of valid license files. Without a valid Server License, access to Altium Concord Pro will not be possible. If there is a valid Server License, but no valid Client Access Licenses (no available connections), a single administrative connection is permitted for backup and configuration purposes. In addition, both Server and Client Access Licenses are timed licenses, lasting 12 months. Subscription must be renewed on an annual basis in order to provide continued access to Altium Concord Pro for the users in an organization, as well as to access new features and functionality developed by Altium as part of Altium Concord Pro. If this annual subscription renewal lapses, a single Server and CAL license will be provided to access your data for backup and configuration purposes.

Backup/Restore of Server Data

Backup and restoration of your Concord Pro server data is performed from the command line, in automated fashion, using the dedicated Backup & Restore Tool. This tool - avbackup.exe - can be found in the folder \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium Concord Pro\Tools\BackupTool\ (for a default installation of Concord Pro).

Restoring a backup is only possible to the same version of Altium Concord Pro from which that backup was made. In this respect, it can be a good idea to keep the installer for that version of Concord Pro, and corresponding license files, with the backup Zip archive.
You must run the command prompt in administrator mode to be able to use the Backup and Restore tool.
If you are upgrading your Altium Concord Pro installation to a later version, backup is handled as part of the installation process. However, while the Altium Concord Pro installer includes automated backup of your existing Altium Concord Pro installation, it is always a good idea to make a pre-update backup of your data yourself - taking a redundancy copy off to one side as it were. This provides additional safety, should any unforeseen technical difficulties arise. Additionally, it is advised to test out a new release of Altium Concord Pro on a different machine, before updating your production instance. Use of Virtual Machines can be invaluable in this respect.

Re-Indexing Server Content after Data Migration

To re-index server content, for example after data migration:

  1. Stop all IIS application pools associated to Altium Concord Pro.
  2. Stop the Elasticsearch (AltiumElasticSearch) service. This is performed from the Windows Services panel - accessed from Window's Administrative Tools window.
  3. Delete the content of the SearchData folder, which contains the search indexing data (\ProgramData \Altium\ConcordProData\SearchData for a default install).
  4. Restart the Elasticsearch (AltiumElasticSearch) service.
  5. Restart the IIS application pools associated with Concord Pro.

On finding the SearchData folder empty, Altium Concord Pro will re-index its content once it starts.

Local SVN Design Repository - Storage

A Design Repository that is created through the local Version Control Service has its internal data stored in a corresponding sub-folder in the \ProgramData\Altium\ConcordProData\Repository folder (for a default installation of Altium Concord Pro).

A new installation of Altium Concord Pro provides a single Git-based design repository for accommodating all of your managed design projects - and that's it! This avoids any setup and complexity regarding Concord Pro's local Version Control service. You have a single design repository - Versioned Storage - for all your designers to access and release into. As such, the VCS page of Concord Pro's browser interface becomes purely informational - you cannot add a new repository, and the single Git repository cannot be modified in any way, nor deleted. If you have upgraded to Altium Concord Pro from Altium NEXUS Server 1.0 (or Altium Vault 3.0), then use of SVN repositories will also be enabled, so that you can continue to use your previous (and established) design flow. In this case, you can continue to create repositories through the local Version Control service (SVN-only), or connect to external repositories (SVN or Git).
The \ProgramData\Altium\ConcordProData\Repository folder should not be accessed in any way, other than by IT personnel for maintenance.


Internal data storage location for a Design Repository created through the Altium Concord Pro installation's local SVN-based Version Control Service.

 

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