Updated November 2023
Minotaur Software does not include hardware with our systems. We are software specialists and are happy to work with your chosen hardware provider to ensure the optimal experience using our program. Below are hardware requirements, so you can evaluate existing equipment to determine if you need to invest in additional hardware when moving to the Minotaur system.
Server Requirements: Minotaur runs in a Server 2022, 2019, 2016 or 2012 network environment. 32GB of RAM is the minimum but 64GB is preferable for long term growth. A higher Processor clock speed is best with enough cores to support your users depending on the environment you will be using. Most disk reads are from RAM now, so the more RAM and the faster it is, the better your server. Typically, you want as much RAM as the size of your in-use tables, plus RAM for system and user use, if running other applications on the server as well. SSD for disk storage are the norm now.
Server Details: Included in the above is the following: at least 1 GB of available server memory per 10 simultaneous users. This is in addition to the memory required for the server operating system and any other applications running on the server. Further, if you will be running Minotaur’s handheld warehouse management system or plant floor applications, you should add another 8 GB for each 5-users to accommodate the extra overhead. You will need to have Windows 2022, 2019, 2016 or 2012 running on your network with enough client access licenses to cover all the relevant workstations on the network. Some aspects of the Minotaur solution (such as handhelds, tablets, weigh scale interfaces, and off-site users) utilize Microsoft terminal server licenses which are not supported by Small Business Server (2012 Essentials), as that installs itself as a primary domain controller (PDC). If you have a PDC, you will also need a server that can support Microsoft terminal server licensing (unless using the program without any terminal server requirements). Note you will need to purchase the Microsoft terminal server licenses for users that will be scanning, and that will be accessing Minotaur from outside your office (the location where the server is). You may purchase these licenses from Microsoft or through your hardware provider. Typically, they are sold in packs of 5.
Cloud Servers: We do have customers using cloud SAAS (server as a service) providers. Being part of CAI, we can offer these managed services if you do not wish to have an onsite server. Our new customers are split between choosing an onsite physical server vs a cloud server. If you wish to run Minotaur in the cloud and not on a physical server at your business, all users would access the program over the internet via terminal server; so, you will require a reliable consistent high speed internet connection and purchase a terminal server license for each connected user. We recommend you invest in a backup internet solution as well, to ensure your staff always have access to the program.
Workstation / laptop / tablet
Based on a typical workstation running one Antivirus program, three Office Suite applications (eg. Word, Excel and Outlook) and an internet browser window (e.g. Chrome or Edge), we recommend using Workstation computers running Microsoft Windows 10 or newer, (note the program can work on many previous Windows versions), with minimum 8GB (16GB is better) of RAM and 5GB of free Hard Drive space.
The Minotaur program uses Actian pSQL (formerly called Pervasive) as the database manager. You will need to purchase the Actian pSQL database management software program for the appropriate number of users and have it installed on your network in order to run Minotaur. The current version of Actian pSQL, is version 15, also called Actian Zen v.15. You can purchase this program online directly from the US provider Goldstar Software with a credit card. We can install a 30-day free trial of the database when we install the Minotaur program on your server and you can purchase the license and apply the license key anytime in the 30 days after we install it. Minotaur will install and configure Actian pSQL for you prior to installing Minotaur against the service hours you purchase.
Note that the database software does not have an annual fee. You are purchasing that license and it can be transferred to a new server as well. Sometimes customers will purchase a newer version of the pSQL program periodically if there are new features you want to take advantage of or if you are buying additional user licenses to expand their system and therefore need additional database licenses as well. Upgrading may happen if, at that time, additional licenses for your existing version are no longer being offered and a newer version is available.
For Handheld or off-site users: Tablet or handheld computer scanners require the ability to connect to a Microsoft server and ability to connect to the internet (for off-site users) or to your internal network using WIFI. Microsoft Terminal Server licenses will need to be purchased for the server for your scanning, scale station and offsite users even if your server is located onsite. These users will also need a version of terminal server access on their device. We are currently recommending Android as the operating system of choice for new scanning or tablet devices along with an rdp (remote desktop protocol) app.
Microsoft offers a free rdp app on the Google Play store. There are other inexpensive rdp app options, such as Jump and Parallels, which are less than $20 per device. When sourcing hardware, we suggest you look for devices where the keyboard configuration on the handheld scanners has an Escape key, a Tab key, an Enter key and a Scroll Bar in addition to the numbers and/or letter keyboard.
Currently, our Managed Services Team can support symbol and AML scan guns (meaning our IT support staff know those models well to be able to remotely provide configuration assistance and set up/trouble shooting support). Other models can be used but you would need to speak with your hardware provider for assistance in configuring or troubleshooting the scan guns.
It is valuable to have you and your hardware provider speak to us to ensure that existing or new purchases will work optimally with the Minotaur software you purchase.
Touch Screen Weigh Scale Minotaur Interface Hardware
When using Minotaur on industrial computers on the production floor connected to weigh scales and labeling equipment, the Minotaur program will monitor the weight on the scale from the scale indicator using TCP/IP (ethernet). We can connect you with companies that sell industrial touchscreen PC’s that are wash-down and made for harsh manufacturing environments, if you don’t have compatible existing hardware or if introducing computers to the plant floor is new for you. For using Minotaur with existing scale indicators that don’t have TCP/IP built into them, it may be possible to use inexpensive converters that can convert serial output to TCP/IP. Or, you may need to replace the scale indicator to a newer model.
Please note that different scale indicator brands send output from the indicator in different formats. Minotaur has been used successfully with the following scale indicator brands and models:
Each touch screen workstation will require terminal server access from the touch screen computer unit as well as appropriate remote desktop server licensing. Note that if using a server with a Domain Controller, Microsoft recommends that a domain controller not be used to host terminal server sessions due to potential security and performance issues. Please have your hardware provider talk to us about options.
It is ideal if all printers are network printers and installed on the server and shared to who ever needs them. Then, all RDP users (handhelds) have a direct connection. All workstations would send the job to the shared printer, and the server would control access and print queues. If a user needs or wishes to use a local printer, how they would interact with the printer depends on if they are connecting directly through the local area network or through RDP. If RDP, a printer redirect is needed. If connected locally, local printing should work for the user when the device they run Minotaur on is connected to that printer, either wired or wirelessly.
Minotaur uses Windows printing so no changes to the labels should be needed if you switch printer brands.
Label Formatting and Printing
The Minotaur system can produce barcode labels from a variety of places in the system such as at receiving, before, during or after production, at shipping, etc. We format these labels to your specifications using support hours you purchase with your system. These labels can include a variety of linear one dimensional and two-dimensional barcodes (QR codes), with formats such as GS1 GTIN-14 (SCC), GS1-128 (code 128), as well as labels for retail finished goods with GTIN-12 (UPC), including logos, nutritional information, etc. We can also produce SSCC skid labels and MH10 labels if you are using our EDI abilities to create ASN shipping documents for your larger customers. For scanning with Minotaur, we recommend your label printers be network printers with 300 or 600 dpi (dots per inch), for optimal scanning.
You may choose to set up a cloud backup service or you can create backups locally and we recommend you store them offsite. This is not just for a disaster such as a fire, it is also helpful should you become victim to ransomware where you may choose to roll back to before the system was infected and reenter up to current day. Generally, backups are run off hours, however the Actian pSQL program does have a live backup feature, to backup open files correctly. Having some type of back-up solution and testing it regularly is extremely important as the Minotaur program is storing your valued business information.
Emailing from the System
Minotaur forms (such as Minotaur invoices, PO’s, cheques, etc.) are typically set up to appear on screen prior to printing (although they can be set to directly print if you prefer). Users can then choose to simply view the form, print it to a variety of available printers, or create a pdf document of the form and email it. While you can print to a pdf creation program, if you use pdf Creator as your pdf program, you can choose the MAKE PDF button in Minotaur. Minotaur reports will display on the screen for viewing and/or printing. Users can highlight information and copy and paste it into another program or to the body of an email as needed. Alternatively, you can create a PDF of the report and attach it to an email.