Altium NEXUS Documentation

Advanced Topics for Altium NEXUS Server

Created: March 18, 2021 | Updated: March 31, 2021

Info for IT Departments

Many companies require that their IT professionals install and set up their Altium NEXUS Server instance for them. Documentation is available for providing a single, detailed resource for an organization's IT department. This is a place to come for answers to typically asked questions regarding this technology, including:

  • What are the hardware requirements to install the Altium NEXUS Server?
  • 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?

LDAP Sync

To simplify the process of connecting to and accessing company networks, the Altium NEXUS Server facilitates directory services support through its browser interface.

This offers domain user synchronization based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), which queries the network’s central LDAP server to retrieve domain user group and role membership information. Authenticating domain users through established directory services in this way offers the potential of a single login for access to all company systems, including the Altium NEXUS Server.

The NEXUS Server LDAP synchronization queries the network services on a user role basis, where role membership information is gathered for NEXUS Server user access authorization. Polling the domain membership through the LDAP service (synchronizing) allows the system to respond to a domain user configuration change within a synchronization cycle.

An LDAP Sync allows the administrator of an Altium NEXUS Server to leverage the network domain’s existing username and password credentials, so that user credentials do not have to be created manually one at a time on the Users page of the NEXUS Server's browser-based interface. When setup correctly, the Users page will automatically populate with user credentials, enabling any user listed to sign into the Altium NEXUS Server using their regular corporate network username and password.

When signing in to your Altium NEXUS Server, to use your Windows login credentials - taking advantage of the NEXUS Server's support for Windows Authentication - enable the Use Windows Session option (browser interface), or Use Windows Session credentials option (Sign in dialog in Altium NEXUS).
The Altium NEXUS Server supports both Standard LDAP, and LDAPS (LDAP over SSL).

Private License Service

For organizations that require their Altium NEXUS installations to remain offline - isolated from the internet - the convenience and flexibly of on-demand software licensing can be provided by a localized Private License Server, rather than from the internet-based Altium Licensing Service. The NEXUS Server installation provides just the ticket, through its local Private License Service. It can be configured as a central, or local License Server, and can serve both Altium NEXUS and Altium NEXUS Server licenses over a local network. In addition, a server administrator is able to take full control over the offline leasing of license seats, configure licensing for use by specific roles, and configure a license for Roaming, and much more.

The server's PLS can be configured and used in different modes of operation, as summarized below:

  • No PLS mode - the server's standard configuration, where its acquired licenses are not made available (served) on the network.
  • Local PLS mode - both Altium NEXUS and Altium NEXUS Server licenses that have been acquired by the server are served over a network by the server's (local) PLS service.
  • External PLS mode - the server connects to, and uses, an external PLS service (such as a remote server PLS that has been set up as a central license server) in place of its own PLS service.

Data Acquisition

Altium facilitates the ability for an organization to copy the content they need, between nominated source and target managed content servers - a process referred to simply as Server Data Acquisition. By acquiring design content, ownership is placed firmly in the hands of the receiving organization, who are free to make local modifications and maintain the content as they desire moving forward. And by keeping a link between the acquired data and its original source, intelligent handling of the data can be performed, including notification when the source of any copied content is updated. And no matter if additional releases have been made to an item locally, there is always the possibility to revert to a previous revision from the original source server - all by keeping a link back to the item's original source, or Origin.

Acquisition is performed using the Content Cart dialog. Access to this dialog is made from within the Explorer panel. While browsing the source server from which you wish to obtain data, right-click on the revision of a supported Item type that you wish to acquire (or a folder of components, for example), and choose the Operations » Add to Content Cart command from the context menu.


Network Installation Service

The NEXUS Server platform provides a dedicated Network Installation Service. This service, allows an organization to perform installations, or updates to Altium NEXUS, over their local network. The main goals of the Network Installation Service are:

  • To improve speed of updates - people will download data inside of the local network.
  • To remove dependency on Internet access for update functionality - it could work in isolated networks, without access to global internet.
  • To provide the ability to control versions and updates in a centralized way.
  • To support performing push installations, using Microsoft's Active Directory Group Policy.

The service is accessed through the Installations page of the server's browser interface. Typically you would acquire the products and extensions that you need from Altium's Cloud Repository into your local NEXUS Server, then craft a deployment package for installation across your network. Subsequent updates can be configured automatically, or handcrafted manually for ultimate control over what gets installed on your designer's machines.

As well as being able to download and store products and extensions inside your local NEXUS Server, you can also use this interface to download products and extensions outside of the Server. This ability is included so that you can easily copy an installer onto a portable drive or optical disk, for those situations where the target PC is not accessible over your Local Area Network.

Local Version Control Service

The NEXUS Server installation provides localized (and centralized) version control, courtesy of its Version Control service. This service provides version control possibilities right there where you need them, locally, without searching, or paying for, external VCS management software.

A new installation of the NEXUS Server 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 the server'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 the server'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 your server from 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).

By defining design repositories in this centralized fashion, an organization can fully control which repositories its designers can access and use.

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