Hardware Requirements

Last Updated: 20181020

Introduction

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 programs. 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

Minotaur runs in a Windows 2008 (approaching end of life), 2012 or 2016 Microsoft Server network environment. The server requires 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, you should add another 8 GB per each 5 user block to accommodate the extra overhead. You will need to have Windows 2008, 2012 or 2016 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, 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.

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. Internet Explorer), we recommend using Workstation computers running Microsoft Windows 7 or higher with 1GB of RAM and 5GB of free Hard Drive space.

Database Software

The Minotaur program uses Actian pSQL (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 13, also called Actian Zen. You can choose to purchase this program through Minotaur, through your hardware provider or online directly from a US provider. We recommend your hardware provider consult with Minotaur’s in-house IT specialist for instructions on setting up pSQL to run Minotaur. If you would like Minotaur to install and configure Actian pSQL for you prior to installing Minotaur, we are happy to do that against the service hours you purchase. Note that the database software does not have an annual fee. You are purchasing that license and it often lasts as long as you run that server. Sometimes people will purchase a newer version of the pSQL program if there are new features they want to take advantage of or if they are buying more users to expand their system.

If you wish to run Minotaur in a private cloud and not on a physical server at your business, with all users accessing the program over the internet via terminal server, you will require a reliable high speed internet connection and a terminal server license for each connected user. We recommend you invest in a backup internet solution to ensure your staff always have access to the program (we maintain a cellular hub at our own office as a backup should our fibre line go down (yes, that has happened). You may also need to purchase a different version of the Actian pSQL software if you will be running Minotaur on a private cloud (called ‘vx’), depending on the set up of the cloud server, so please connect us to your hardware and data centre provider to advise you accordingly. The vx version is also needed if you have multiple servers and wish to move the program around for load balancing.

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 those scanning and offsite users. Tablet, handheld and offsite users will also need terminal server access on their device. We are currently recommending Android as the operating system of choice for new 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.  The keyboard configuration on your handheld computer scanners should have an escape key, a tab key, an enter key and a scroll bar in addition to the numbers and/or letter keyboard. Our system continues to work with Windows mobile 6.5 devices however that program is end of life and Windows is not planning to have a mobile specific operating system option available, hence the switch to Android. We are happy to work with your hardware vendor of choice to review the specifications of units you are thinking of purchasing.

It is important that 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. We will need to remotely test any equipment you plan to use, new or old, for compatibility with our touch screen interface. Together with your hardware supplier, we can review scales technical specifications to determine options for interfacing. In the event that your scale indicator is not compatible with our interface, additional programming or set up costs may apply or new hardware may be required (such as a new scale indicator). 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.

If you have existing intelligent scale indicators and label printers and you don’t wish to replace the software running on them, or if you have other equipment you would like to send information to Minotaur from, we may be able to read an output file from that equipment if it is or can be networked to your server and is able to send the output in a usable file format. We can quote any file read integrations you are interested in. Alternatively, you could scan the labels produced on a disconnected system to populate inventory in Minotaur.

Label Formatting and Printing

The Minotaur system can produce barcode labels formatted to your specifications using support hours purchased with your system. These can include GS1 GTIN-14 (SCC), GS1-128 and GS1 SSCC barcodes, as well as labels for retail finished goods with GTIN-12 (UPC), including logos, nutritional information, etc. For scanning with Minotaur, be sure your label printer is 300 or 600 dpi (dots per inch).

Backup Suggestions

We use internally and can therefore recommend Syncback from 2brightsparks.com, either the SE or PRO version. This program can be set to only back up change files, which makes it efficient, and can encrypt the backups, which helps to protect from viruses. Syncback allows running a program before and after the backup, allowing for the Actian pSQL live backup feature, to backup open files correctly. Having some type of back-up solution and testing it regularly is extremely important as Minotaur is storing your business information.

Emailing from the System

Laser forms (such as Minotaur invoices, PO’s, etc.) are typically set up to appear on screen prior to printing. 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. We recommend using pdf Creator as your pdf program. Minotaur reports similarly display on the screen for viewing 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.

For any further hardware inquiries or to discuss options relating to existing hardware or planned purchases, please call or email one of our in-house IT specialists, Al Tuplin, atuplin@minotaursoftware.com

Contact Us