FundRaiser on your Network
Not sure about the difference between "networkable", "multi-user", and "client/server"? See below for a plain-English explanation.
For those of you with local-area networks (LANs) who need to have more than one person running FundRaiser at the same time, you'll want to consider the multi-user version of FundRaiser Select or Professional. (FundRaiser Basic is not available in a multi-user version. It can be installed on a network, but only one user can access it at a time.)
The multi-user version employs "record locking", so that up to five users can be operating the program at the same time without concern for what others are doing. You can also run the regular (single-user) version on a network, but you must coordinate your usage with other people because only one person can be in the single-user version at any one time.
For those who need more than five users in FundRaiser at a time, or who want the increased security, speed, and stability of a client/server version, we can offer it in sizes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 or more users. We chose the Advantage Database Server by Extended Systems for its reliability, low cost and simple operation. The prices given in Pricing for the client/server version of FundRaiser include both the FundRaiser program and the client-server engine as a single package.
What does Multi-User mean exactly?
First, let's get the licensing issue clear, and then define a few terms... All versions of FundRaiser come with an organizational license. This means that you can run FundRaiser on as many computers as you wish so long as all copies are used for the benefit of the purchasing organization. Therefore, you can buy one copy and run it at home, and on several computers at the office. Now, on to those terms...
- A Network is two or more computers that are connected together so that they can share files and/or printers.
- Networkable or Network-compatible means that a program can be run across a network... it can be installed on one computer and run from another. This is especially useful for database programs like FundRaiser because it means that everyone using the program will be working on the same set of data. All FundRaiser programs are networkable.
Without networking, each computer would have its own copy of the program with its own set of data. Then when one person makes an update, it is NOT seen on the other computers. So, typically, only one person is allowed to update (everyone else just does lookups and reports), and that one person gives everyone else a backup copy of her data at the end of the day.
With networking, everyone can be sharing the same database. So one person's update will be seen by everyone else.
- Single-user means that only one person can be using the program at any one time. If someone else wants to use it, the other person has to first close the program. This is fine for some smaller organizations. FundRaiser Basic is single-user only.
- Multi-user means that more than one person can be using the program at the same time. The program uses a series of "locks" to maintain order, but the users of the program usually don't see any of that. They just use the program as if no one else was in it. This is great because anyone can make updates and additions, and the other users will see those changes without having to do anything special. Both FundRaiser Select and Professional are available in 5-user multi-user versions. (5-user means that a maximum of 5 people can be using it at any one time.... It can be installed on any number of workstations on the network, but only 5 can use it at a time.)
- Client/Server is essentially a heavy-duty multi-user system. Like the multi-user approach, the data is loaded on one central computer, called the Server. However, when a user runs the program, it does not open the files directly. Instead, the server opens the files on behalf of the client (the user at the workstation) and provides whatever data from the files that they need. When the user makes changes, their program sends those changes back to the server, which inserts it into the data files for them.
FundRaiser Client/Server also offers the following benefits:
- Data integrity. If a workstation on a multi-user system crashes or locks up, it can cause the data that it shares with the other users to become corrupt. At best, this will cause other users to lock up. At worst, data will be lost. Most often, it is only the index files that become corrupt. Even when the data itself becomes damaged, it can usually be fixed without loss of data, but it is still annoying and time consuming.
With c/s, the workstation never really has the files open itself, so the data is never affected by a lockup or crash. And, if the server itself goes down, it has built-in failsafes that will automatically restore the data back to the last complete transaction.
- Speed. Because only the data that is needed is sent to the client (workstation), there is less traffic across the network wires, so everything goes faster. Much faster.
- Remote Access. Access FundRaiser from home or on the road from your laptop using Terminal Services. The Client/Server license is required for remote connection.
- Security. Additional security measures can be taken on the server to protect the data against intrusion or theft.
Both FundRaiser Select and Professional have 1, 2, 5, 10, 25-user (and more) client/server versions.
We use the Advantage client/server engine from Extended Systems. We chose it because it is simple, low-cost, and very easy to install and maintain. Read this Client/Server White Paper for a somewhat more technical explanation of Client/Server. The document is in pdf format, which requires Adobe Acrobat to read.
Read about how ClientServer helped the Siena/Francis House.
Using FundRaiser Software on Your Network
FundRaiser Software is fully 'network-able', meaning that it can be installed to a single location on a Local Area Network (LAN) and accessed from other computers on the network. Our software is used successfully in many different network environments. However, since networks vary greatly, we cannot guarantee that our software will work within your particular network. We encourage prospective customers to install the evaluation copy of the software for testing on your network prior to purchase. If you experience network problems we can offer advice, but you will need to get help from your local network technician.