Multiple Location Options
Open Dental can be successfully used when multiple locations are involved. Before deciding your strategy, you must determine your needs.
The different options are discussed below:
For shared network folder replication strategies, see Shared Network Folder Replication.
Virtual Private Network (VPN): In all of the discussions and diagrams below, it is assumed that locations are connected by a VPN. In our diagrams, various network routers and switches are generally omitted for simplicity. Also not included in the diagrams are the shared A to Z folders. A network administrator is usually involved in setting it up. Open Dental support technicians do not set up network specifics.
To see data at another location, there are a few options:
Option 1: Use Remote Access to connect to either a server or a workstation at that location. This usually works best if only a few locations are involved.
Option 2: Use the Central Enterprise Management Tool to interact with all database from a central location.
Single Database - Share Data
Consider your options and the advantages/disadvantages of each before making a strategy decision. Also see Connecting Workstations to a Database for more description about each option below.
Option 1: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
In this example (figure 7) a single server hosts the database and functions as the RDP server.
In this example (figure 8) more servers are added to support a large number of thin clients.
Option 2: Direct Connection. A disadvantage of RDP is that it does not support some local hardware such as digital radiography. So, on workstations where images are being captured, a full direct connection may be needed.
Option 3: Middle Tier. For better security and speed, all thick clients would connect via the Middle Tier.
Private Cloud: Any of the configurations above could also be done with the server(s) in a datacenter rather than at a dental office. For example, a simple configuration could be done as follows:
Single Virtual Database With Replication
It also has the following disadvantages:
One-Way Replication: This is the simplest configuration. The slave can be used to run complex reports that would bog down the main server, or for pausing to make clean backups. This is a very safe configuration that will not result in corruption. Anyone considering replication is encouraged to run this configuration for a number of months to get very familiar with the administration.
Daisy Chain Replication: This is a more complex configuration where the replication forms a ring. All the databases together are referred to as a single virtual database. In this configuration, each location can continue to function normally even if the internet connection goes down. The data from the other locations will not be fresh, but an office typically doesn't care as much about that data. Once the internet connection is restored, the replication quickly updates the database with current data. This kind of replication is supported very well by Open Dental.
A Windows cluster is different. We have seen Open Dental work in a Windows cluster setup, although we cannot currently provide technical support to assist with such a configuration.
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