Altium NEXUS Documentation

Maintenance of Altium NEXUS Server

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

Health Monitor

An Altium NEXUS Server installation includes a web-based Health Monitor. Accessed by an administrator through the Health page of the NEXUS Server's browser interface, it delivers a visual summary of the state of the host machine and the NEXUS Server storage system.

As well as the quick visual summary of the server's health, the page also provides the ability to download all log files in a single Zip archive, as well as facilitating the creation of a status report – again, conveniently archived into a Zip file – that can be passed to Altium's Support, and thereafter to the Developers.

The Altium NEXUS Server installation also includes a standalone Health Monitor tool that can be launched on the computer hosting the NEXUS Server, using the desktop shortcut that is created when the NEXUS Server is installed. Alternatively, the Health Monitor tool can be found in the \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\Tools\HealthMonitor folder as the avhealth.exe executable. Note that the folder also includes a simplified command-line tool: avConsoleHealth.exe. In this standalone variant, the Health Monitor operates as an independent entity that queries the NEXUS Server and its host system, and is therefore able to deliver crucial data and information even in the unlikely event that the NEXUS Server is not fully functioning. It provides additional features beyond those available in the web-based Health Monitor.

The standalone Health Monitor is aimed at IT departments and covers, in general terms, the following critical areas:

  • NEXUS Server Environment – the state of the hosts PC’s hardware, such as its hard disks, memory, CPU and the adequacy of its performance.
  • NEXUS Server Backend – the state of the server’s supporting database, file storage and repository.
  • NEXUS Server Services – the state the server’s range of services, hosted as IIS Application Pools, such as the Identity, Authorization and License Manager services.

Backup and Recovery

Over time, your NEXUS Server will accommodate a growing, and impressive amount of data. The value of this data cannot be overstated, for it is a mixture of source data that can be re-used in future design projects, as well as data from which past, current, and future products are fabricated and assembled. It is data that has been released and ratified under the highest scrutiny, and stored securely with the utmost integrity. And as with all valuable data, longevity of its integrity is ensured by being able to perform a backup.

The NEXUS Server installation caters for the archival of your server data through the provision of a command-line-driven Backup & Restore tool. The tool's executable – avbackup.exe – is located in the \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\Tools\BackupTool folder, for a default installation of the NEXUS Server.

Restoring a backup is only possible to the same version of server from which that backup was made. In this respect it can be a good idea to keep the installer for that server, and corresponding license files, with the backup Zip archive.
Backup and restore using this tool is currently only supported for a NEXUS Server installation using a Firebird database as its backend. For an example of backing-up and restoring a NEXUS Server that uses an Oracle database for its backend, see Backup Process with an Oracle Backend and Restore Process with an Oracle Backend respectively.

Proxy Server Support

For a company that accesses the internet through a proxy server, proxy configuration information can be defined for an Altium NEXUS Server - post installation. This enables NEXUS Server Services to successfully connect with internet-based services through the company's proxy server, as and when required.

Proxy configuration information is entered into the [Proxy] section of the LocalVault.ini file. For a default installation of the Altium NEXUS Server, this file can be found in the following location: \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server.

  • Proxy server information is defined in the INI file after the NEXUS Server has been installed. IIS (Altium NEXUS Server-related application pools) should not be stopped before editing the file, but must be restarted after changes have been made and the INI file saved, in order for the changes to be applied.
  • While accessing the internet through secured protocol (HTTPS) is supported by a Proxy Server itself, use of a Proxy Server with HTTPS schema through the Altium NEXUS Server installation is not supported. For example, if you want to acquire some components through Altium NEXUS's Manufacturer Part Search panel – connected through HTTPS – all will work fine. But if you want to specify a Proxy Server through the NEXUS Server in the format https://myproxy:3128, this proxy will not work.

Command Line Server Management Tool

The Altium NEXUS Server provides a Command Line tool to cater for the following aspects of NEXUS Server Configuration:

  • User Management – allowing the NEXUS Server to be preloaded with bulk user and role configurations derived from company systems or records, thereby avoiding a need to individually create the entries through the NEXUS Server's browser interface. The tool supports the import of Users, Roles, and user-role membership data from standard comma-delimited *.csv files.
  • Part Choice Indexing – allowing you to manually perform a re-indexing of the Part Choices for your managed components, sourced through user-defined Part Sources (connections to local parts databases).

The tool – avconfiguration.exe – is included with your NEXUS Server installation and can be found in the \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\Tools\VaultConfigurationTool folder.

Even though the tool can be used for automated user management, the recommended approach is to use LDAP synchronization functionality.
Part choice re-indexing can be setup to occur automatically. Configure this using the Indexing part choices every field, when defining a custom database part source. Part sources are defined by a NEXUS Server administrator on the Part Providers page (Admin – Part Providers) of the NEXUS Server's browser interface. For more information, see Configuring a Custom Database Part Source.

CSV Component Database Importer Tool

The Altium NEXUS Server installation includes a CSV Component database importer tool that can be used to bring component data into the NEXUS Server from a file exported from an enterprise system, such as a company ERP or PLM system. Implemented as a configurable batch (*.bat) file, the desktop tool imports component data from a target spreadsheet file (*.csv) into the server as determined by existing server templates or a dedicated configuration file.

The command line tool can be found in the \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\Tools\CSVImport folder of the NEXUS Server installation. See the csv-import.bat for information on the command line syntax used with the tool, or simply execute the batch file without attributes for more detailed information.

Notes:

  • The tool and its supporting Java runtime folder (JRE8) may be copied to and run in any location, including on a different networked machine to the NEXUS Server host machine.
  • The tool may need to be run with elevated (Administrator) privileges, depending on where it is located.
  • The tool syntax is case sensitive, as are references in Server Templates and any configuration files used.

Source file format:

The CSV data importer tool requires the source comma-delimited CSV file to use UTF-8 character encoding. If the file uses other encoding formats such as ANSI or UTF-8-BOM, the importer will not parse extended characters (such as µ) correctly, or may not accept the *.csv source file.

If creating a basic CSV file for testing purposes, note that some versions of Windows' Notepad do not save in a compatible UTF-8 format. If in doubt, an alternative text editor such as Notepad++ can be used to create and save UTF-8 encoded files, and is also useful for checking the encoding format of *.csv files exported from a source enterprise system.

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