Last Updated: 2020/Aug/08
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 Requirements: Minotaur runs in a Server 2019, 2016, 2012 and 2008 (now end of life for Microsoft Support) network environment. 32GB of RAM and 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. 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, you should add another 8 GB per each 5 user block to accommodate the extra overhead. You will need to have Windows 2019, 2016, 2012 or 2008 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.
Cloud Support: We do have customers using cloud SAAS (server as a service) providers. Having an onsite physical server is an option. Note however that if you wish to run Minotaur in a private cloud and not on a physical server at your business, all users would be accessing the program over the internet via terminal server; so, 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 actually happened twice when other local businesses have done digging and cut the line).
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, we do still fully work on some previous versions, with 8GB (16GB is better) of RAM and 5GB of free Hard Drive space.
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 14, 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 optimally 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 can last as long as you run that server. Sometimes company’s 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 additional user licenses to expand their system 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 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 your 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. Our system continues to function with Windows mobile 6.5 devices, however that program is end of life and Windows is not planning to make available a mobile Windows specific operating system option moving forward, hence the switch to Android. We are happy to work with you or your hardware vendor of choice to review the specifications of units you have already or those 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 you are hoping to not have to replace them or 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 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.
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 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. 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 our in-house IT specialist, Al Tuplin, firstname.lastname@example.org