Alternative Teamwork setup using Terminal Services

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Alternative Teamwork setup using Terminal Services

Overview

For scenarios in which the network connection between workstations and the project server hosting the project, does not present an optimal latency (i.e specifically when having the central server at the cloud or someplace where the connectivity is not as optimal as in an on-premise network), you may choose to rely on Terminal services enabled at the host.

You can rely on Windows Remote Desktop services in order to allow workstations to do a remote connection to that server, and use Bizagi Studio to open that hosted project and work on it, and use a central IIS for the Work portal (applies to a .NET platform).

 

The following image illustrates this concept:

 

teamwork_03

 

Technical requirements

For the configuration regarding the project server providing Terminal services, the following technical requirements must be met:

A Windows server operating system capable of providing Terminal services (i.e the Remote Desktop Session Host role).

Make sure this server has the necessary CAL license to support the number of process analysts that will connect to it.

Enabled RDP for workstations to connect to the central server.

You may configure the RDP port number used, or you may optionally involve an additional Remote Desktop Gateway service to provide HTTPS connection between the workstations and the Gateway (involves additional hardware).

Enabled TCP port number specific of your database service (e.g, 1433 by default for SQL Server, 1521 by default for Oracle, or similar) for access from the central server to the database.

A domain admin account to install Bizagi Studio.

A local admin account at the central server to create the Bizagi project (or further administration tasks such as to upgrade the project's version, or deploy the processes to another environment). Users connecting to the created project to work on the implementation do not need administrator rights but an authorized entry at the Bizagi group.

 

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If you want to scale-out your solution to support a really large number of process analysts working simultaneously on the processes implementation, then you may include additional servers having Bizagi Studio installed, and use its connectivity features.

In this setup and when involving a Remote Desktop Gateway, you would balance the load of users connecting to N number of Bizagi Studio client machines, which in turn connect to the central server hosting the project.

In other words, you use an additional tier of Bizagi Studio installations, and mix the setup by using as well Bizagi Studio connectivity features, as described at Teamwork collaboration through Bizagi Studio.

 

If this is your case, consider the following requirements to make sure the communication between Bizagi Studio installations (between Bizagi Studio as client and the Bizagi Studio hosting the project at the central server):

Enabled TCP port number 5679 to send and receive information.

 

What you need to do

You will first need to explicitly define:

The database server having a SQL Server or Oracle instance installed.

For doubts about the required configuration for this server, refer to Database server requisites.

The server to be the central server, hosting the Bizagi project and providing Terminal services (Remote Desktop Services).

It is recommended to use a different dedicated server to host your Bizagi project, though you may use the same Database server to use Bizagi Studio and host your Bizagi project according to the characteristics of your implementation.

Defining if you need a Remote Desktop Gateway.

Which users will be working on this project, by connecting from their workstations to the central server.

Within the definition of the number of users connecting to the project, consider if you need to scale-out your servers (should not be necessary unless planning to have a really large number of process analysts working simultaneously on the processes implementation).

 

For the above teamwork collaboration setup based on Terminal services, these steps are carried out:

For a teamwork collaboration setup, these steps are carried out:

 

1. Install the database server

2. Install the IIS in the project server

3. Install Bizagi Studio in the project server

4. Create the Bizagi project at the project server

5. Include authorization entries at the central server for your users

6. Enable Remote Desktop services in the central server

7. Connect to the server through Remote Desktop, from each of the workstations

 

Procedure

Follow these steps to achieve teamwork collaboration through Terminal services.

 

1.  Install the database server

First you need to install a database server where the collaborative project's database is going to be stored.  See the database requisites.

 

You can choose either SQL or Oracle. The database server can be installed in the same physical central server, or in a separated server. We recommend, if possible, to use a separated database server, so you can perform maintenance and security task easily for each server.

 

Make sure you have the following features checked:

 

Component

Feature or element to install

Check

Comments

Install a database engine

 

see Database prerequisites

Install a database engine

SQL Server 2016 or 2017

Set up the collation

Use case-insensitive (CI), not a turkish collation. We recommend SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS

enable TCP/IP for the database instance

 

Define authorized login accounts. See Advanced configuration of SQL login accounts.

Define the security of the SQL logins.

 

2.Install the IIS in the central server

Each environment  has as a result of your process automation one Work Portal. The Work Portal is a web-based application that must be run in the Internet Information Services (IIS). Review the IIS configuration.

 

For the IIS to work you need to activate the following Windows Features:

 

Component

Feature or element to install

Check

Install the web server (IIS), turning the following windows features on

 

See Bizagi server requisites

Web management tool

IIS 6 Management compatability

IIS 6 management console

IIS metabase and IIS 6 configuration compatability

IIS Management console

IIS Management scripts and tools

IIS Management service

World wide web services

Application development

.NET Extensibility 3.5

.NET Extensibility 4.6

ASP

ASP.NET 3.5

ASP.NET 4.6

ISAPI Extensions

ISAPI Filters

Common HTTP features

Default document

Directory browsing

HTTP Errors

Static Content

Performance features

Dynamic content compression

Static content compression

Security

Basic authentication

Request filtering

Windows authentication

IP and domain restrictions

 

3.Install Bizagi Studio at the project server

Install Bizagi Studio by running the installer with administration rights at the project server.

Carry out the installation steps as described at Quick start setup, but this time you may skip the option to install a bundled SQL Server instance and use the corporate instance of your database server.

 

The SQL credentials will be used from the different workstations connecting to the central server. Make sure that the SQL connection string used is one that workstations can resolve. It can be a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) .

 

You may verify access to your database if you will be using a SQL Server instance:

 

install04

 

4. Create the Bizagi project in the project server.

Upon a completed installation, create a new Bizagi project in the central server, as described at Creating a new project.

Recall that in order to create a Bizagi project, you need a server admin account.

 

If you already have some progress on an existing project, it is still best that you create a new project at this server.

Then, you may easily import your progress by creating a backup of your existing project's database, and restoring this backup into the new project's database.

 

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If you are using a SQL Server database, and you are relying on advanced configuration of SQL Server login accounts, make sure you create the project by specifying the use of an authorized login account.

You will need a Process administrator login account or an account with higher privileges, as described at Advanced configuration of SQL Server login accounts.

 

5. Include authorization entries at the project server for your users.

At the project server, make sure you add as users all project developers' accounts into the Bizagi group.

Notice that this group is created automatically by Bizagi's installation and by default, only the server administrator is included.

 

To add users or active directory groups into this group (Bizagi), browse the local management options to locate the local user and groups item.

Right-click on the Bizagi group to use the Add to group.. option:

 

WorkingRemote01_BizagiGroup

 

Then choose specific users or active directory groups which will be authorized to open the project:

 

WorkingRemote02_BizagiGroup

 

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You may also rely on Bizagi Studio security feature, in order to define authorization options of who can work in which processes.

For more information about this option, refer to Bizagi Studio security.

Bizagi allows you to add individual users or active directory groups.

 

6. Enable Remote Desktop services in the central server.

Make sure that the central server that will be hosting your Bizagi project has the Terminal services role enabled (renamed as Remote Desktop Services).

To do this, use the Server management window to use the Add roles option:

 

TerminalS_RD01

 

Note that this scheme is not designed for the Administrators login, but only for those users to work with Bizagi Studio (and use other options such as launching the IIS Manager).

 

TerminalS_RD02

 

Specifically enable the Remote Desktop Session Host role.

 

TerminalS_RD03

 

Note that this feature is available in Windows Server operating systems (i.e Windows 2012, 2008) and that you should enable this role before having installed Bizagi.

 

TerminalS_RD04

 

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Before proceeding, make sure you acknowledge the implications in this setup, such as having the CAL licenses for your users, considering if you will use a Remote Desktop Gateway additionally, and considering the supported Remote Desktop client versions.

Note that you should define the authentication method, and if you will use certificates or further security settings for your environment (i.e setting authorized users who can use remote access at the server's level, using a different port number other than the default one 3389 used in RDP, etc).

 

7. Connect to the server through Remote Desktop, from each of the workstations

Connect to the server by using the Remote Desktop client.

Note that if you are employing a Remote Desktop Gateway, then this access is done first to the Web access options via HTTPS to connect by using from there, the specific Remote Desktop client.

 

TerminalS_Connect

 

To open the project, open Bizagi Studio and select the Connect to project section at the main window.

 

Working_in_Bizagi_with_your_team1_1

 

Select the central server hosting the project (if you are not scaling out the solution, then the project should be local), and then select the project.

Then click Finish.

 

Working_in_Bizagi_with_your_team2_1

 

 

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If you are using a SQL Server database, and you are relying on advanced configuration of SQL Server login accounts, make sure you connect to the project by specifying the use of an authorized login account.

You will need a Process analyst login account or an account with higher privileges, as described at Advanced configuration of SQL Server login accounts.

 

Once the project loads up, you will have ensured that the setup is complete.

From this point on, process analysts may connect to this project by simply using the shortcut appearing in the Bizagi Studio splash window:

 

TerminalS_Workstations_1

 

Important

In this setup, it is important to acknowledge that deployment of processes (promoting and publishing the processes from the Development environment to a Test or Production environment), as well as upgrading your Bizagi version needs to be done at the central server.

It is not recommended to perform such tasks (deployments, project upgrades) from user workstations.