Using DWOS at Multiple Sites

There are several options to for running DWOS from multiple locations, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. DWOS is designed as a client-server application which that DWOS comes with a server application and a client application. The server application is typically installed on one server that all users can access while the client application is installed on each user's computer and connects to the server to access the data. This architecture is depicted in the figure below.

What does this mean for me?

To operate DWOS at multiple sites we have a couple of options:
  1. Single Site
  2. Independent Sites

Single Site

In a single site deployment, the DWOS Server is installed on a server that all clients, including local and remote can access. This is the most common way of deploying due to ease of setup and a single server to maintain and backup. In order for this to work for remote sites or remote employees, they must be able to connect to the DWOS server. Since the DWOS server resides on the primary sites network it will not be accessible by anyone externally for security reasons. There are two commons ways of allowing access:

1. VPN
VPN allows a secure tunnel to be created between the two sites and the two sites act as if they are physically on the same network. VPN access is safe and a very common way of connecting clients. The benefits of a VPN is the security and sharing of resources. With the VPN you can share network resources across the two connected networks, including printers, shared drives, and connection to servers that are normally always internal, like active directory or exchange. The downfall to this solution is the complexity and cost of setting up a VPN if your business does not have one now. The cost has greatly decreased over the years and the primary piece of hardware you need now is just a firewall(s) that can support VPN connections.

2. Firewall Redirection
Firewall Redirection is similar to how a cloud based product would work by basically opening up the firewall ports used for the DWOS Client to connect to the DWOS Server. This would allow traffic to flow from the internet to the DWOS Server. The primary site hosting the DWOS Server would behave as normal and would not be aware of the difference. The primary sites firewall must be capable of redirecting port based traffic from the internet to the DWOS Server, which is supported by most all firewalls on the market today. The benefits of this solution is the simplicity and cost. The downside is security, though this can be mitigated to an acceptable level by utilizing a few common tricks like not using well known ports and restricting what IP addresses can connect to your server. This method is typically faster than VPN, but not as secure.

Single site deployment provides the simplicity of a single server to maintain, backup, and upgrade. However, site reliability and system uptime can be impacted in a single site deployment if the server connection goes downs and a remote site is unable to connect to the primary site. Then the remote site will not be able to utilize the system, i.e. DWOS, until  the server is back on-line. Another issue with single site may be speed, this will be more dependent on the connection speeds at the primary and remote sites.

Independent Sites

If you deploy DWOS as independent sites then each site will operate completely independent of each other. The advantage of deploying each site as an independent DWOS server is speed and no single point of failure. Though on the downside you will have to purchase hardware, maintain, and upgrade each site individually. Another issue is the sharing of data; while processes, parts, and other items in DWOS can be exported to a file and shared between sites, not all data is inclusive in an export. Also, when trying to export data from a DWOS client into your QuickBooks accounting system you will need simultaneous access to both Quickbooks and DWOS. This can be accomplished by either of the defined single site solutions, VPN or Firewall, but may be a little tedious for the user importing the invoices;  however it is an acceptable method.

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