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Spotfire Server

The TIBCO Spotfire Server is a server component in the TIBCO Spotfire Platform. When users start TIBCO Spotfire Professional, they are asked to log in to a Spotfire Server. While it is possible to work offline, every user must log in the first time the client is started to set up correct licensing. Spotfire Server also provides capabilities not available in the client: User Services, Deployment Services, Library Services, and Information Services.

System Overview

The following figure illustrates a basic system setup:

Spotfire system overview

The Spotfire Server connects to its database using a JDBC driver. The database server may or may not be physically located on the same machine as Spotfire Server. More information on how to set up the databases is available in TIBCO Spotfire Server Installation Manual.

User Services

The term User Services includes storage of user authentication, authorization, licenses, preferences, profiles and logging. This is all stored in the Spotfire Server Database.

It is nevertheless possible to use an external service for user authentication or authorization or both, such as LDAP, NTLM, X 509 Certificates and Microsoft® Windows® NT Domain. More information about this, and practical guidelines on which to choose, is available in TIBCO Spotfire Server Installation Manual.

Deployment Services

Deployment Services include a centralized solution for upgrading Spotfire clients. Deployment packages can be created and uploaded to the server, and upon starting the Spotfire Professional users are prompted to automatically download and install the latest version.

The information needed by the server to perform this action is stored in the Spotfire Server Database. More information on how to do this, and how to build a deployment package, is available in TIBCO Spotfire Server Deployment Manual.

Library Services

Library Services include a central repository for analysis files. When users set up analyses in Spotfire Professional, they may choose to save them either to file or to the Library. When selecting Library, the analysis file is stored in the Spotfire Server Database.

Information Services

In order to access external data sources and open data for use in a Spotfire analysis, users can create Information Links. These links can be highly configurable: Users can set up connections to a range of databases, and add joins, filters, prompts, and so forth.

The data sources may be databases of various types, such as Oracle, MS SQL, DB2, MySQL, SAS, Teradata and ODBC. Others may be supported after some configuration, provided that JDBC drivers exist for the Spotfire Server to connect through. These Information Links and the components they are constructed from are also stored in the Spotfire Server Database.

Communication

Spotfire end users connect to Spotfire Server using standard web protocols, such as HTTP, and SOAP Web Services. During the Spotfire Server installation process, the administrator may choose whether to use encrypted or non-encrypted communication between the clients and the server. The administrator is also required to specify three ports for communication with the Spotfire Server:

  1. The port the Spotfire Client uses to connect to the Spotfire Server
  2. The port the TIBCO Spotfire Server Management Console uses to connect to the Spotfire Server
  3. The port the Management Console uses to start and stop the Spotfire Server

The TIBCO Spotfire Web Player Server essentially works as a client, and thus connects to the Spotfire Server in the same fashion as any other client. Web Player clients then connect to the Spotfire Web Player Server using standard web browsers.

Server Environment

Spotfire Server is developed using Java™ EE technology. The current version uses Java™ 6. For Windows® servers there is also a native Windows component that can be used to connect to NT domain controllers. The runtime environment consists of a Java-based Apache Tomcat™ Servlet and a Java Server Pages (JSP™) container.

Clustering and Fail-Over

The follwing figure illustrates a clustered Spotfire system:

Clustered Spotfire system

Load balancing is a technique for spreading the workload between two or more computers. The Spotfire Server does not include a load balancer so the customer must provide one if they wish to use this feature.

In a clustered environment, each Spotfire client connects to a single network host, a load balancer, which redirects calls to an available Spotfire Server. It is important that the load balancer is able to communicate with the Spotfire Servers using the appropriate protocol (AJP or possibly HTTP/S), and that it is able to redirect follow-up connections from the client to the same Spotfire Server for the duration of the user session (session affinity). It must also be able to recognize when a Spotfire Server is unavailable, such as when maintenance is being performed, and stop directing traffic to that server. When the Spotfire Server becomes available again, the load balancer must start directing calls to it again. If customers wish to implement their own load balancing solution, these requirements must be met, with special emphasis on session affinity, without which Spotfire Server will not work properly.

To set up load balancing, configuration needs to be done on all the cluster nodes, as well as on the load balancer itself.

System Requirements

Please refer to TIBCO Spotfire System Requirements External link