First Look - Manifold Server - Introducing Manifold Server, Manifold's new, high speed, fully parallel, multiuser spatial database. Covering in the first 15 minutes the essentials of launching Server, using Server to share data, and connecting to Server from Manifold, the video continues to show different options and key advantages of using Server.
See how to make multiple, simultaneous connections to Server, to share the same data between multiple users at the same time. Launch multiple Server instances on the same machine to share different constellations of data and databases.
Launch queries for server-side execution for breathtaking speed and performance. Connect to databases within Server through automatic tunneling. Connect from the same client to multiple Server instances on different machines to use dozens of threads on different machines for parallel computation and rendering. Amazing!
I heard Manifold already is a database system. How is Server different? - Every Manifold session, including the free Viewer, is a fully parallel database system as well, but Manifold desktop sessions are oriented towards single-user connections to projects through the Windows file system. More than one desktop Manifold session can connect to the same .map project at the same time, so long as the connections are read-only, with significant limitations compared to Server that result in lower performance for multiuser connections.
When desktop Manifold sessions connect to a Manifold project as a read-only data source, multiple users on multiple different machines can use data and layers from the project at the same time, but they would have to connect to that project through Windows, using Windows file system shares to reach projects on a different machine. All processing would be executed locally within each user session, including the entire rendering pipeline and execution of all queries. For a query involving a big table, that would require sending the entire table from the host machine to each desktop session. No caching or other optimization is done between different user sessions when desktop Manifold sessions connect directly to .map projects.
Server is desighed for multi-user connections and is reached through an IP address, which allows connections between clients and Server for locations anywhere in the world, without being limited to local Windows file system shares. Server also provides vastly better peformance by executing queries server-side, setting up rendering server-side, and caching and optimizing between client sessions. A query involving big tables only sends results through the network, which are typically much smaller than the big tables involved in the query. That greatly reduces the amount of data that has to be sent through networks and greatly enhances performance when incorporating data shared by Server into client projects.
Server also provides data source tunneling, while ordinary Manifold sessions always must form direct connections to all data sources. Data source tunneling allows use of data sources that otherwise might not be reachable in a direct connection. Tunneling also allows Server connections to only those databases desired within a project hierarchy that could involve many nested levels and thousands of components and databases.
How many Manifold client sessions can connect to a Server instance? - That depends on the projects involved, what the users do, the speed of the network connections between clients and Server, and the hardware used for clients and Server. The limited version of Server in Manifold 9 Universal is limited to 20 connections, so it will handle fewer clients than the unlimited version of Server in Manifold 9 Server that provides unlimited connections. Keep in mind that when a user client session connects to Server, the client session will often utilize more than one connection, since each data source in the served project requires a connection. Most organizations will therefore step up to the unlimited version of Server provided by Release 9 Server licenses even for small workgroups.
Use Manifold 9 Server licenses to take advantage of manycore CPUs that provide many threads at low cost. For example, Server running on a Threadripper machine that has plenty of RAM and 64 CPU cores will be able to handle many more clients than Server running on a four core Ryzen 3 machine. Organizations with a few dozen users and Server instances running on typical desktop computers with eight to twelve cores and SSD storage in typical GIS work should expect good results from the unlimited version of Server. Organizations with many users, or with users running many intensive jobs simultaneously should consider more powerful hardware and taking greater care to run Server instances on multiple computers.
Can I launch Server as a service? - Yes! That's a key advantage of running Manifold 9 Server edition.
Can Manifold Release 9 Professional launch Server? - No. Release 9 Professional licenses can connect to Server as clients, but a Release 9 Professional license cannot operate Server to share data outbound to other machines or users.
Our office expects to have three or four Manifold Release 9 users, and we would like them to be able to use data shared by Manifold Server. Should we choose Release 9 Universal or Release 9 Server? - That depends on how you plan to use the product. There are many combinations of licenses that will work. Each user who will be working with Manifold and connecting to Server as a client must have at least a Release 9 Professional license on their computer. Computers that host Server to share data must have either a Release 9 Universal or a Release 9 Server license.
A Universal license includes Manifold Server, but in a limited form that is suitable for individual users or smaller workgroups. The version of Server in a Universal license must launch from a Command Prompt window, is limited to one instance, and can handle up to 20 connections (individual users normally will use more than one connection). The unlimited version of Server in a Release 9 Server license can launch as a Windows service, can run an unlimited number of instances, and can handle an unlimited number of connections. The unlimited version of Server in a Release 9 Server license also provides the Manage Services dialog, which greatly simplifies launching and administering Server instances.
Small workgroups or individuals can use a Universal license to install Manifold Server, but that requires more skill and effort than simply using a Manifold 9 Server license. For that reason, most organizations almost always immediately step up to using Manifold 9 Server even with very small workgroups.
If you take that strategy and you plan on having four users, you could acquire three Release 9 Professional licenses and one Release 9 Server license to get Server in unlimited form. Three of the users can work with Professional licenses, and the fourth user can host Server on the same machine on which they also are running Manifold for desktop use.
However, because Manifold offers quantity discounts, a more cost efficient strategy is to get the 4x Manifold 9.00 Professional + Manifold 9.00 Server product. That provides four Release 9 Professional licenses plus one Release 9 Server license for only $775. Because of the quantity discount you get five Professional licenses instead of only four, yet the total cost is $55 less than buying unbundled licenses.
You could then operate four Professional licenses on various user machines, and still be able to install Server on a fifth machine whether somebody uses that server machine as their desktop machine or not. Or, you could run three users with Professional, with one user using the Server machine as their desktop, and have an extra Professional license to dedicate to a notebook computer that's used away from the office.
The Universal alternative to the above is to buy the 5x Universal bundle for $780. That would allow you to install and use the limited form of Server on five different machines, and also use each of those five machines for a desktop user. There are scenarios where that makes sense for expert users who want to distribute serving to five different instances on five different machines. However, most organizations which are running four users with access to Server will strongly prefer to keep it simple and to run the unlimited form of Server. They'll use the 4x Professional + Server bundle.
If the budget is tight but you still want to use at least the limited form of Server with three users overall, you could go with two Professional licenses and one Universal license for a total of $485. Over time you could then add Professional licenses or Universal licenses, and eventually add an unlimited Release 9 Server license. You'll end up spending significantly more than the 4x Professional + Release 9 Server bundle, but the expense will be stretched out over time.
If I buy one Release 9 Server license, does that include user licenses to run Manifold on other machines? - No. Manifold Server operates on one machine to share Manifold data from that machine to regular Manifold licenses that are running as clients on other machines. You still have to buy Manifold licenses for those other machines. Release 9 Server does allow you to launch Manifold in a desktop session on the same machine that is running Server, but it does not provide extra licenses for other machines.
For example, if you buy a single Release 9 Server license you can install that on a single server machine. You will then be able to run Server on that machine and you could also launch Manifold in a regular desktop session on that server machine at the same time that Server is running to share data. You can run as many instances of Server as you want, but all on that one machine. If you have ten users on ten other machines, you'll need to buy and to install ten Manifold licenses, one on each of those other machines. Note that Manifold Viewer is free and that Viewer can connect to Server as a client. If on some of those ten machines Viewer will be enough for the work the users on those machines do, they could use Viewer.
Super fast speed brings a new level to "ease of use" - GIS is way easier when everything happens fast, even with bigger data, and you don't have to wait around for many seconds or minutes for jerky web interfaces or slow desktop software to do what you want. Do in seconds what takes minutes or hours in other GIS packages. Life is too short for slow GIS!
Manifold provides hundreds of vector and raster geoprocessing tools that with a point and click run ten, fifty, or even one hundred times faster than Spatial Analyst or other Esri toolbox equivalents. Manifold plays well with Esri to make it easy to add Manifold speed to your GIS workflow, or to use Manifold as your primary GIS for even greater productivity.
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