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Im an IT assistant at a CNC milling company and we use a program called made2manage. Its an ERP (enterprise resource management) software. Each license is something like 5k and instead of giving each employee there own copy of the software he has everyone that uses the program connect to a server that has a copy of m2m on it. Its slow when there are a bunch of people connected to it. But I guess they dont want to buy more licenses.

Is there a better way to do something like this? How bad of a practice is this?

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Depending on the license terms, this may in fact be in breach of the license agreement. Some software is licensed per user, so you need as many licenses as there are people using the software, regardless if it is only installed on 1 server. You don't make it clear how many licenses you actually have, but this sounds like it might be some way of "getting round" buying more licenses. – Ben Pilbrow Jun 17 '10 at 20:38
Are you more curious about the potential license issue, or are you concerned about running applications from a Terminal server? We are not lawyers, I don't think we can offer you useful advice on if you are breaking a license agreement, and what the risk is. – Zoredache Jun 17 '10 at 20:47
@Zoredache not really worried about that, just wondering how bad of a practice this is? People complain about it being slow all the time. The guy above me running the network has no degree in IT or certs that i know of, he kind of just transitioned into his job. So alot of stuff is done, 'wrong' here and with the emphasis at school on following standards in a production environment, it bothers me :) – Jordan Jun 17 '10 at 20:55

Run performance monitors like perfmon or taskmanager when there is low use and run it again when there is high use (maybe early morning and again in the afternoon). Compare the results during the different times and it should tell you whether or not your server hardware is an issue.

Like zored said, it's a pretty common practice but if your hardware is below specs then things will run slow. Some ERP software require a strong server especially if the database is run on the same server as the application.

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+1 for actually taking measurements. – sleske Jun 17 '10 at 22:42

Running stuff of a Terminal server is somewhat common. We have several special cause applications licensed for a limited number of concurrent users that we run on a Terminal server combined with a limit to the number of users.

Since, it is performing badly, it sounds like your Terminal server may be below specs, you may need to do some investigation and bump up the hardware allocated to that system. Or, at least change user limit on the server so that only a reasonable number of people can connect and still have the application perform at acceptable levels.

Assuming the usage is within the license terms, I don't think there is anything wrong with the practice.

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It may actually be illegal, depending on what the license reads. If it says "CPU" or "machine" then you're clear. If it says "seat" then you are in violation of the license, regardless of how many machines it's installed on.

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Nah, I don't think so. Im not sure how many licenses he has. Lets say 10. Once you have 10 people connected to the remote machine it wont let the 11th person that connects and trys to start the software continue. The reason he dose this is because if he installs the software on everyones machine he needs a key and he cant use the same key on more than one machine, obviously. – Jordan Jun 17 '10 at 20:44

The server with TS and the M2M client software - it's not also the SQL Server for M2M, is it? Because if it is, then that's your problem.

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Having software and DB share one server is not usually a problem in itself. The hardware just needs appropriate specs (though of course using two servers is one way of scaling). – sleske Jun 17 '10 at 22:43
No. Having something like SQL (uses all the RAM it can get its hands on) and an application-mode terminal server (needs to appear "snappy" for interactive desktop apps) is usually a problem, in itself. – mfinni Jun 18 '10 at 2:06

I'm an IT Manager administering Made2Manage with 55 concurrent licenses with a SQL 2000 backend. The above server setup is not untypical of most m2m installs. things affecting m2m performance:

  1. improperly configured server.sql or server below specs
  2. not setting users up to disconnect sessions when not using the software
  3. users accessing the SQL tables in m2m directly using Excel (easily possible) and they could be joining tables/creating pivot tables, etc. and they no little about sql.

m2m can run virtualized - just a thouht there

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Also depends on what version of M2M you are operating with. V6.0.x is running with quite a bit of Visual Foxpro (VFP) code for the forms and reports. It interfaces with VFP tables that have been upsized to MS-SQL server but much of the behind the curtains in V6 is still VFP. - An issue as Microsoft stopped supporting VFP in 2009.

M2M V7 is still using VFP but not as much. Their next major release is due out at the end of 2014 and support is saying there are no more VFP hooks in it. That's great for performance, bad for continuity. This means any code, custom form, and many of the reports will have to be recreated - (not to mention the data migration). A side note, the licensing issue in V6 is concurrent. They have structured it to allow terminal services on the floor, on multiple shifts. In addition, shop Floor Manager has no license limit.

I have looked looked into upgrading to the latest and greatest, and am not convinced that I want to stay with M2M. Odoo (OpenERP) has made some solid growth in their application, and as long as we are going to have to clean up the mess that is V6.0.x I'm leaning that way.

If you are looking to just keep the monster running - look at a utility called SQL Check. It can show real time performance and show you some processor/disk/memory hogs.

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