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Installing LIMS under Citrix or Remote Desktop Services
The information in this article applies to LIMS 4.x.
Typical LIMS multi-user installations use traditional client/server architecture. That is, the LIMS front end software is installed locally on each LIMS workstation sharing the back end database from a shared folder on a file server. This architecture is simple, proven, and economical and it works well for many. Application processing is distributed to each LIMS workstation and the data sharing and concurrency issues are handled by the file server.
Thin client computing is an alternative architecture with a number of benefits for applications such as LIMS. This article provides detailed instructions to install LIMS under Citrix Presentation Server or Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services (formerly called Terminal Services), two popular thin client solutions.
“Thin client computing” describes a computing architecture where both the application software processing and data access are performed by a central server system. The clients are “thin” since they do not perform any application processing – their only task is to exchange user input and output such as screen images, keystrokes, and mouse clicks. All application processing and data access is performed by the server.
Since only user input and output communication occurs between client and server, the communication can occur over relatively slow interfaces including the Internet, wide-area networks (WAN) and even dial-up networks. Consider thin client architecture under any of the following conditions:
- You have more than five LIMS workstations.
- The size of your production LimsData database exceeds 100 MB.
- You have noticed degradation in performance as the number of concurrent users increases or the size of your LimsData database increases.
- You need to provide LIMS access from multiple sites while sharing the same LimsData database.
- You need to provide remote access to LIMS, for example, while employees travel or from home.
- You are frequently troubleshooting workstation software problems.
Follow the steps below to install LIMS under Citrix Presentation Server or Remote Desktop Services. The instructions assume a new installation from an electronic distribution downloaded from our web site. If you do not have an electronic distribution file simply copy all files in your current server \LIMS\Setup folder to C:\LIMS\Setup on the new server.
Download the two LIMS electronic distribution files to your hard drive then double-click each file beginning with the larger file LIMS-400-Access2010Runtime.exe and follow the instructions to extract the contents to folder C:\LIMS\Setup. After the second file’s contents are extracted, the LIMS Setup program will automatically begin.
Accept the default C:\LIMS folder for both the LIMS software and database. This will install both the LIMS back end database and the front end software in folder C:\LIMS. The Access 2010 runtime is installed in folder C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14.
In the C:\LIMS folder create new user folders for each LIMS user, naming the folder with the same name as the user’s Citrix/Remote Desktop Services login:
Copy the LIMS front end software file LimsCode4.mde and files lims4.ico and LIMS Users Guide.pdf from folder C:\LIMS to each of the user folders created in step #2. To avoid confusion, delete LimsCode4.mde from C:\LIMS since everyone should be running their own copy in their own user folder. This will catch any problems with unedited shortcuts (see below).
Edit the Target property of the LIMS desktop shortcut and change the path to LimsCode4.mde from:
Repeat the Target property edit above for the LIMS shortcut on the LIMS menu on the Start button’s All Programs menu.
Give all LIMS users full permissions on C:\LIMS.
After completing the steps above you should have the following new server folders:
|C:\LIMS||(LimsData4.mdb back end database)|
|C:\LIMS\Setup||(LIMS installation files)|
|C:\LIMS\Examples||(example database and Excel templates)|
|C:\LIMS\user1||(user folder with LimsCode4.mde)|
|C:\LIMS\user2||(user folder with LimsCode4.mde)|
|C:\LIMS\user . . .||(user folder with LimsCode4.mde)|
|C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14||(Access 2010 runtime)|
To start LIMS, log on to Citrix/Remote Desktop Services using one of the users with an LIMS user folder then use the LIMS desktop shortcut. Use the login name ‘LimsAdmin’ and password ‘ChangePswdSoon’ to log on. The first time you log on you will be prompted to open an LIMS database. Select file LimsData4.mdb in folder C:\LIMS.