TeamWox SaaS Agent: How to Organize Cloud Service?

Introduction

The TeamWox business management system is designed to optimize business processes and data exchange in a company to provide better interaction with clients. The ideology of the collaboration system development is aimed at reducing cost of ownership and minimizing expenses in its operation.

All you need to do to start using TeamWox groupware is to download the collaboration software and run the installer on a computer with Microsoft Windows. No other software is required. Installation takes 5-10 minutes if you have prepared the environment - a dedicated domain name and a static IP address.

Any business management system is a critical element in any company, in which it is actively used in everyday team work. If use of such collaboration system or access to it is impossible to some reason, this can stop the team work of all the company's employees.

TeamWox collaboration software includes the arsenal of tools to ensure its trouble-free operation: automated backup, automatically received updates, monitoring of network connections, system Journal and the system operation statistics.

Using the available TeamWox features and tools, IT professionals must implement the following:

  • setup, monitoring and maintenance of trouble-free operation of the computer where the TeamWox server is running;
  • configuration of the network environment (local network and Internet connection);
  • restoring from a backup in case of hardware failure;
  • renewal of subscription for an SSL certificate.

The above actions and measures are required not only for the TeamWox collaboration system, but also for any other critical software. These actions require additional expenses and work of skilled professionals.

The meaning of SaaS (Software as a Service) suggests that companies deliver all concerns for the trouble-free operation of this software to SaaS vendors. You only pay for leasing of the software, while the SaaS vendor will provide its maintenance.

TeamWox collaboration software is an excellent system to provide in the SaaS format. We have developed the free of charge TeamWox SaaS Agent, which allows you to quickly and effectively organize SaaS services based on TeamWox groupware.

We've made every effort to provide companies with easy installation, configuration and use of TeamWox Business Management Software. We provide SaaS vendors with the same convenient and highly efficient product. With this agent, it will be extremely easy for you to install and maintain multiple TeamWox servers on one computer.

Before proceeding with the installation and use of the TeamWox SaaS Agent, we'll describe the peculiarities of the architecture of TeamWox based SaaS solutions.

Architecture of TeamWox SaaS

TeamWox Groupware - is an application that includes a web server (does not require any separate IIS or Apache servers), business logic (modules) and access to data (to databases and file storage). The TeamWox server runs as a service on computers with Microsoft Windows XP SP2 and higher.

TeamWox collaboration software is intended for serving one company and all its employees. Each instance of the TeamWox server is installed through an installer into a separate directory, where all files required for system running are also copied. Each instance of the TeamWox server runs as a separate service, as a separate process isolated from other programs. Each instance of the TeamWox server has its own file storage and a database isolated from other programs.

The above principles of operation mean that each instance of the TeamWox server is isolated from other instances of servers installed on the same computer. When organizing TeamWox SaaS, there is no need to use virtualization software.

Migration of an instance of the TeamWox server from a client's computer to the provider's server platform is carried out with minimal expenses due to the fact that each TeamWox server works with a separate isolated set of files and a separate database.

TeamWox SaaS Agent: Installation

TeamWox SaaS Agent is a web server that runs as a service. To use it you will need any modern web browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3.5+, Opera 10+, Google Chrome 3+, Apple Safari 4+.

The TeamWox SaaS Agent can be downloaded at: http://www.teamwox.com/en/download (1,4 Mb). It is a standard interface of the installation wizard for Windows. During installation, you will be invited to view the license agreement and select the directory on disk to install the TeamWox SaaS Agent to.

Depending on your operating system, a 32-bit or 64-version of the product will be installed.

After the installation, TeamWox SaaS Agent is running and available at http://localhost:88/. For authentication, a user with login 'admin', password 'admin' and access only in the local IP address and local subnet 192.168.xxx.xxx is automatically created.

The interface of the web page is divided into two parts: the upper part is navigation, the lower one is the workspace:

  • Instances - management of TeamWox servers;
  • Accounts - changing the list of SaaS administrators;
  • Settings - settings of the agent and the environment;
  • Journal - viewing the system logs.

Initial setup

Prior to install TeamWox servers for clients, you will need to set up the environment:

  • set the list of SaaS administrators;
  • specify the domain and port number, on which the TeamWox SaaS Agent will operate;
  • indicate parameters to install a new instance of the TeamWox server - path to the directory on the local disk and IP address;
  • install or generate a server SSL wildcard (multi-domain) certificate;
  • specify configuration for automatic registration of a domain on the DNS server;
  • configure parameters of live update and set up proxy.

1. Administrators of SaaS

After you install and start the TeamWox SaaS Agent, a user with login 'admin', password 'admin' and authorization allowed from only local IP address is automatically added. The list of users is displayed on the Accounts page.


The first thing to do is add users who will have access to the administration of SaaS through the web interface. Then you must remove, block or change the password to the default user 'admin'.

To add a new user click on the "plus" icon located in the header of the Accounts tab.

The Login field is required. In the New password fields the user password should be entered. A user's full name should be entered in the Full name box. It will be displayed when viewing the system logs. In the Comment field, you may enter additional information - the user's position, phone number, email address, etc.

To access TeamWox SaaS Agent from a limited number of computers, set the list of allowed IP addresses separated by commas in the List of allowed IP addresses field. It is recommended to enable SaaS management only inside a provider's local network. An empty list means that connection from any IP addresses is allowed.

If these fields are field out incorrectly, appropriate notifications will be shown in the dialog.

To change a user's data or password, and to disable or remove a user from the system use commands of the context menu that appears when putting the mouse cursor on the line with the user data.

To return a disabled user to the system, set a new non-empty password for the user in the data editing dialog.

In order to prevent the total blockage of login to the system in case all users are deleted or disabled, a default user 'admin' will again be added to the system or the user password will be reset to 'admin'.

2. Domain and port of TeamWox SaaS Agent

TeamWox SaaS Agent is a web server, which is accessed through a web browser. After the installation, the default address is http://localhost:88/

At the beginning of the Settings page, in the first two fields specify the domain and port number, from which administration will be available. Press Save at the bottom of the page to save the changed settings. For the changes to take effect, restart TeamWox SaaS Agent - click the Restart link located next to domain and port fields.

3. Selecting a folder and IP address to install TeamWox servers

Choose a location on one of the disks to install new instances of TeamWox servers. Enter the path to the selected folder in the Install Path field in the New TeamWox server installation section. By default, instances of TeamWox servers will be installed in the folder [TEAMWOX SAAS AGENT INSTALLATION PATH]/instances.

The specified value will be automatically inserted in the appropriate field in the new TeamWox instance installation dialog.

In the Server IP field, select the computer IP address, to which each of the installed TeamWox servers, as well as the allocated domains will be bound. After start TeamWox SaaS Agent automatically selects the first IP from all addresses available on the computer.

At the specified IP address, an SSL certificate will be installed, which is required to provide operation over a secure encrypted HTTPS protocol.

Click Save at the bottom of the page to save the new settings.


4. Installing a multidomain SSL wildcard certificate

The TeamWox groupware system uses a secure HTTPS protocol for exchanging information between the server and a web browser. This requires the installation of a SSL certificate that supports multidomains (certificates like *.company.com)

A normal SSL certificate has a restriction - only one certificate can be installed on one IP address. If you install multiple copies of TeamWox servers in the SaaS system, use SSL wildcard certificate (e.g. a certificate issued for the domain *.saasdomain.com).

SSL wildcard certificate is issued for servicing all the subdomains of a specified address. Simply install one such certificate to one IP address to service all the instances of TeamWox servers.

To learn how to apply for a wildcard SSL certificate, please read the following article: http://www.teamwox.com/en/groupware/articles/27/collaboration-system-ssl-certificates.

From the TeamWox SaaS Agent, you can generate a request to the CA (Thawte, VeriSign, Comodo, etc.) for a SSL wildcard certificate in the format of Certificate Signing Request (CSR).

Click the Request link at the bottom of the New TeamWox server installation section. In the appeared dialog, in the Wildcard domain field enter the domain name that will be used to provide SaaS services.

In the drop-down Key field, you can select the length of the certificate encryption key 1024 or 2048 bits.

Fill out contact information in the following fields:

  • Organization - the company name;
  • Organization unit - department;
  • E-mail - e-mail address;
  • Country - country, in which the company is located;
  • State - region or state, in which the company is located;
  • Locality - city.

After you fill out all the fields press Continue to generate a request in the CSR format.

If you've made any errors while filling out the form, they will be shown in the dialog box.

As soon as the generation process is over, a text CSR request will be shown in the dialog box. Copy this request and send to a CA following its instructions.

The Certification Authority will send an answer to your query in a text format. Using the reply, install the server wildcard SSL certificate to your computer.

Click the use the response link at the bottom of the New TeamWox server installation section. Copy the response of the CA into the text box and click Install.

If the certificate has been successfully installed, the dialog box will close and information about the installed certificate will be updated.

The SSL certificate field of the New TeamWox server installation section will contain the names of the domain and company, to which the certificate has been issued.

A provider may allocate several computers, to which instances of TeamWox servers will be installed. The SSL wildcard certificate should be installed on every computer.

After you have received a response from a CA and installed the certificate is on one of the computers, you don't need to re-request the certificate and carry out the steps above for each SaaS server.

Export the certificate saving it on a local disk to a *.pfx file. To do this, click Export the certificate at the bottom of the New TeamWox server installation section. In the appeared text field enter a password to protect the certificate. To download the certificate file press Enter on your keyboard or link Export the certificate to the right of the text field.

After exporting install the certificate on each computer, which will be used to provide SaaS and on which TeamWox SaaS Agent is installed.

On the Settings page, at the bottom of the New TeamWox server installation section click Change.

In the dialog window, select a file to export the certificate by clicking Browse ... In the Password box enter the password that you have specified when exporting the certificate.

Click Install to install the certificate.


TeamWox SaaS Agent can generate and install a self-signed SSL wildcard certificate.

When using such a certificate, you can test the infrastructure of computers when organizing SaaS services, and learn the possibilities of TeamWox SaaS Agent.

Click Generate on the Settings page at the bottom of the New TeamWox server installation section.

In the appeared window, fill out the form like you filled out the certificate request form. In the Password box enter a password to protect the self-signed certificate.


5. Setting up integration with the DNS server

Installing the TeamWox server requires registration of the domain, which was specified when allocating a license, on the DNS server. Users will enter the domain name in the address bar of their browser to access and work in the TeamWox system that has been installed for their company.

TeamWox SaaS Agent is designed to reduce the time required for the installation of TeamWox servers, which will be used to provide services in a format of SaaS.

When you install a new instance of the TeamWox server, the domain, to which the application for a license is issued, must be registered, or the DNS server of the service provider must support automatic domain registration through the HTTP API.

On the Settings page, in the DNS integration section, set up the type of the DNS server. In the dropdown list of the Server field specify type of server, and in the text field indicate the address (domain or IP) and port of the DNS server. Click Save at the bottom of the page to save the new settings.

Select External DNS, if domain name is registered before installation of a new instance of the TeamWox server starts. For example, the domain is registered with the registration of an application, or the company has software for automating provider services.

If your DNS server doesn't have HTTP API,  also select the External DNS mode.


TeamWox SaaS Agent has a built-in DNS server support Simple DNS Plus.

Select Simple DNS Plus. In the Server text field enter the address and port number of the server Simple DNS Plus. In Login and Password enter login and password to access HTTP API.

Select the Custom type for integration with the DNS server that has HTTP API, but does not have support in TeamWox SaaS Agent.

Set parameters for HTTP API query, which allows to register a domain on a DNS server. In fields of Server, Login, Password configure access to HTTP API.

In the Method field select the request mode HTTP API - GET or POST.

In the Query field enter HTTP API query. Use the following macros in the query:

  • #HOST# - the domain that you want to register;
  • #IP# - IP address, to which the domain will be bound;
  • #LOGIN# - value specified in the Login field;
  • #PASSWORD# - value specified in the Password field.

If #LOGIN# or #PASSWORD# macros are not used in the query string, but fields of Login and Password are filled, then the basic authentication will be performed after connecting to a DNS server to send the query. This type of authentication is used by the DNS server Simple DNS Plus.

Here is an example of domain registration for the Custom type.

For example, the following template is specified in the Query field:

/registerdomain?login=#LOGIN#&password=#PASSWORD#&host=#HOST#&ip=#IP#

In Login 'admin' is specified. In Password 'some_password' is set. For the instances of TeamWox servers, IP '87.87.87.87' is indicated. TeamWox server with domain 'loan.teamwoxsaas.com' is installed.

The following query will be sent to the DNS server:

/registerdomain?login=admin&password=some_password&host=loan.teamwoxsaas.com&ip=87.87.87.87

Upon request of providing companies, we will expand the list of types of DNS-servers that are supported by TeamWox SaaS Agent.

6. Configure live update of TeamWox SaaS Agent

TeamWox SaaS Agent supports free automatic updates, so its features will be continually expanded.

On the Settings page, in the Automatic update section you can disable or enable automatic update. After agent installation, the option is enabled by default.

In the night time, it checks for updates of TeamWox SaaS Agent and a new version of the installer for the TeamWox server. To check this manually, click Check for updates and upgrade

Since the agent does not contain the TeamWox server installer, after the first launch it automatically downloads the latest version of the TeamWox installer from the server www.teamwox.com (~ 33 MB).

If you use a proxy server, then in the Use proxy server section, set the parameters to access the proxy server.

To do this, check the checkbox next to the title of the Use proxy server section, and in the Server field enter the address of the proxy and port. If you require authentication, enter the username and password in the fields Login and Password respectively.

Installing a new instance of the TeamWox server

After you have set up the environment of the SaaS server, you can start to deploy separate TeamWox servers.

Attention: It is impossible to install TeamWox servers without the initial configuration of the environment described above. If the SSL certificate is not installed, or the domain registration is not configured, servers will not be installed.

To install a new instance of the TeamWox server, click on the "plus" icon in the header of the Instances tab.

In the instance installation dialog, enter data to generate a new TeamWox license:

  • Name - the full name of the company that will use TeamWox;
  • Domain - third level domain name, which users will enter in the address bar of their web browsers to start working in TeamWox;
  • Person - person who will contact MetaQuotes Software Corp. if any questions regarding the TeamWox license arise;
  • Phone - phone number of the company that will use TeamWox;
  • E-mail - e-mail of the company, for which the TeamWox license will be generated;
  • Web-site - website of the company (optional);
  • Country, City, Address - address.

Data for server installation:

  • Service name - name of the service, under which the TeamWox server will work. To help you fill out the form and unify the names of services, this field is automatically filled in when you enter the domain name;
  • Install path - the path on a disk where the TeamWox server will be installed. To help you fill out the form and unify the installation paths, this field is automatically filled in when you enter the domain name.

All fields specified in the form are mandatory (except for web site). When you contact us to solve any problems connected with the TeamWox license, provide the information that you have specified in the form.

Click Install to start installation of a new TeamWox server. In the case of any errors in these fields, appropriate notifications will be shown in the dialog.

Information about the installation stages is displayed as messages that appear at the bottom of the dialog box:

and as an indicator icon in the list of installed servers:

If the TeamWox server has been successfully installed, the dialog box will be automatically closed, and an icon of a running server will appear for this server in the list of installed servers.

TeamWox SaaS Agent: Managing and Monitoring of TeamWox Servers

On the Instances page, you can view the list and manage TeamWox instances installed on this computer.

To run a command for one of the servers, use the context menu that appears when putting the mouse cursor on the line with the user data.

The following commands are available:

  • editing;
  • stop;
  • start;
  • restart;
  • uninstalling.

The command of editing allows you to change contact details or edit the directory path after you migrate the TeamWox server. When you click on the appropriate icon, a dialog opens, which is similar to the dialog of a new instance installing discussed above.

When you run the commands of stop, start and restart of a server, the icon next to the server domain is changed to the command indicator:

If you need to install an instance of the TeamWox server that you have installed for demonstration purposes, use the uninstallation command. Click on the uninstall icon to open the dialog, from which you can select the mode of uninstalling.

Select the first safe mode (default), to stop and remove the Windows service, under which the TeamWox server instance is running. In this case, custom data of the TeamWox server will be saved. The record of this server will remain and will be displayed on the Instances page.

Select the second mode to uninstall the server and remove all user data that it stored.

On the Instances page, you can monitor the state of servers. Icons that are shown in the beginning of a line with information about the server, are an indicator of the state of the server.

  • - The server has been started and is running normally;
  • - The server is stopped;
  •  - An error occurred when executing the command;
  • - The server is not installed or incorrect information is specified, which does not allow to monitor the server status.

TeamWox SaaS Agent: Integration with Existing Solutions of Providers

TeamWox SaaS Agent is designed to minimize costs that may occur when providing services of access to TeamWox server in the SaaS format.

Providers who will use the new product may use their own solutions to automate their activities. Integration into existing solutions is implemented by using HTTP API provided by the TeamWox SaaS Agent.

With TeamWox SaaS Agent HTTP API, you can perform all the described steps:

  • Install a SSL wildcard certificate;
  • Configure integration with the DNS server;
  • Install an instance of the TeamWox server;
  • Manage the installed servers.

Note that the web interface of TeamWox SaaS Agent uses HTTP API for operation. Documentation for the HTTP API will be available later.

Conclusion

Using the TeamWox server provided by a SaaS provider is a perfect solution for companies that have no their own staff of IT professionals to serve critical business enterprise management software. Using SaaS, you can reduce costs on IT and implement trouble-free access to TeamWox.

TeamWox SaaS Agent is a new product from MetaQuotes Software Corp., intended for providers who choose to provide services on the basis of the TeamWox groupware.

Preparing a query to a CA, installing a SSL wildcard certificate, automatic registration of domain name on a DNS server, requesting a license for a new server, installing and monitoring it - all of these processes are performed easily and without delay when using our new product.

For providers who are already using business automation software, we offer TeamWox SaaS Agent HTTP API. Using it you can quickly integrate our software with software developed specifically for your company.


Related articles:

  1. TeamWox SaaS Cloud Technology for Service Providers
  2. TeamWox SaaS Agent: A Quick and Free Way to Build a SaaS Cloud
  3. SaaS Version of TeamWox Collaboration System and Its Advantages
  4. Provide a TeamWox in Software as a Service (SaaS) Mode!
  5. How To Quickly Become a Profitable SaaS Provider?

jueves, 26 de agosto de 2010

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