Multiple Locations

See Advanced Topics.

Open Dental can be successfully used when multiple locations are involved. Before deciding your strategy, you must determine your needs.

Reminder: Open Dental Support cannot assist with network setup. It is recommended to have a capable IT set up and maintain any network settings.

Resources:

Virtual Private Network (VPN): In many 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 Folder. A network administrator is usually involved in setting it up.

Option 1: Separate Databases

Each location has their own server hosting their own Open Dental database.

This option is best when:

Option 2: Separate Databases using Remote Access

Each location has their own server, hosting their own Open Dental database. A Remote Access program would allow users to view data at other locations.

This option is best when:

Option 3: Separate Databases using CEMT

Each location has their own server, hosting their own Open Dental database.

Using the Central Enterprise Management Tool ( CEMT ), users can quickly access the databases at other locations. All locations must be on the same VPN.

This option is best when:

Option 4: Single Database using a VPN

One location hosts a shared database for all offices.

This option is best when:

Option 5: Single Database using Middle Tier

Middle Tier isolates the database, improving speed and security by preventing client workstations from directly accessing the database. The server program sits between the database and the client machines. Workstations are ordinary thick clients running the full Windows version of Open Dental.

This option is best when:

Option 6: Single Database with Terminal Server

One location hosts a single database for all locations. The server creates virtual clones of itself that allows users to use Remote Desktop to remote to each virtual clone, but with limitations and restrictions on what the user can do or see within the connection.

This option is best when:

Option 7: Single Database with Load Balancing Server in Terminal Server

One location hosts a single database for all locations. Rather than directly connecting to the server at the main location, locations access a load balancing server.

This option is best when:

Option 8: Single Database with Direct Connection, using Thick & Thin Clients

One location hosts the database for all location.

This option is best when:

Option 9: Single Database with Open Dental Cloud

Utilizing the Open Dental Cloud service.

This option is best when:

Option 10: Single Database using 1-Way Replication

This option is best when:

Option 11: Single Database using Daisy Chain Replication

The replication forms a ring. All the databases together are referred to as a single virtual database.

This option is best when:

Option 12: Galera Cluster

A Glustera Cluster is not a stand-alone solution, but instead is used in conjunction with other options (e.g. Option 8).

Note:
  • Galera Clustering is only available on Linux, and only supports InnoDB.
  • If you are considering a Galera Cluster for your locations, please contact Open Dental support and speak with the Implementations Team to discuss what version of MariaDB or MySQL will work best.

This option is best when:

Advantages of a Galera Cluster include:

Removable Storage Devices

If you have two locations, but only access data from one location at a time, you could use a removable storage device to take your data with you. See Encryption of Data at Rest and in Transit for recommendations for protecting data in transit. Examples:

This is not a good strategy as it interferes with a proper Backup/Restore strategy (make a copy of the data and run it at home) and your staff can't work until you bring the hard drive back to the office.

MySQL Clustering

Open Dental will not work in a MySQL Cluster because many of the tables have rows that are too long. In a MySQL clustering setup, one database can be spread across multiple physical servers. This is a way to increase the speed and reliability of a database at one location. It is not a way to have one database at multiple locations.

As noted above, a Galera Cluster environment can be used in conjunction with other multiple location options.

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.

Multi-tenant Hosting

If you wish to host multiple customers on the same database server, see Multi-tenant Hosting for isolation information.