- 1 Prerequisites before installing INSIGHT
- 2 Installing INSIGHT
Prerequisites before installing INSIGHT
Insight must be installed on an IIS server. The minimum hardware requirements for the server are:
- 2 Cores (2.5GHz)
- 4GB RAM
The higher recommended specifications are:
- 4 Cores (2.5GHz)
- 16GB RAM
The server hosting Insight must have the following:
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Web Edition (or above)
- IIS7 (or above)
- Microsoft.Net Framework 4.6.2
- SIMS Workstation Components
NOTE: It is important that on the IIS server the order of installation is Windows -> Webserver software -> .net software
IIS7 / IIS7.5
- Common HTTP Features
- Static Content
- Default Document
- HTTP Errors
- HTTP Redirection
- Application Development
- ASP .NET
- .Net Extensibility
- ISAPI Extensions
- ISAPI Filters
- Windows Authentication
- Management Tools
- IIS Management Console
- IIS Management Scripts and Tools
- IIS 6 Management Compatibility
- IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility
IIS8 (Server 2012 and 2016)
1. On the Start page, click the Server Manager tile, and then click OK.
2. In Server Manager, select Dashboard, and click Add roles and features.
3. In the Add Roles and Features Wizard, on the Before you begin page, click Next.
4. On the Select installation type page, select Role-based or feature-based installation, and click Next.
5. On the Select destination server page, select Select a server from the server pool, select your server, and click Next.
6. On the Select server roles page, expand Web Server (IIS), then Web Server .
7. Expand the Application Development node, and then select ASP.NET 4.5.
- The following additional features are added:
- .NET Extensibility 4.5
- ISAPI Extensions
- ISAPI Filters
8. Click Next, then on the Select features page, click Next again.
9. On the Confirm installation selections page, click Install.
10. On the Installation progress page, confirm that your installation of the Web Server (IIS) role and required role services completed successfully, and then click Close.
11. To verify that IIS installed successfully type the following into a web browser: http://localhost
The local CONNECT.INI file in %Program Files%\SIMS\SIMS .net additionally must not be a 'redirect' type - it must be an 'end-point' type, explicitly specifying the server instance and database name.
If you are also installing PARS, or migrating PARS and Insight to new servers, you should install PARS first. For information about installing PARS, see
To encrypt traffic between the server and client and to enable https for Insight, an SSL certificate will be required. This can be purchased in advance of installing Insight (the URL that will be used for Insight and the name of the server that Insight will be installed on will be required).
An SSL certificate is not required when installing Insight initially and can be acquired after installation.
To associate the certificate with the site, first follow the instructions from your certificate provider both to apply for and receive the certificate.
Once you have acquired an SSL certificate, the Insight traffic can be encrypted by following these steps:
- Open IIS Manager. Under the Sites folder, select the Insight site
- On the Actions panel, click the Bindings option in the Edit Site section
- A Site Bindings window will open. Click the Add button
- Another window will open to Add Site Bindings. Set the Type to https and the SSL certificate to your certificate. The port over which traffic is secured is usually 443
If port 443 is already in use, you can enter the host name of your Insight site so that port 443 can be shared. The host name is the Insight URL that is used outside of the school, without any page extensions or https prefix e.g. Insight.MySchool.co.uk
The SIMS Agent process
Once you are sure your site is securely available externally, you may have to update your SIMS Agent service configuration.
Insight runs a service called SIMSAgent to collect data from the SIMS database and store it in the Insight database. It is important for this service to run correctly so that the data in Insight is correct.
By default the agent will try to use a "localhost" address to contact the web site. Depending on your web site SSL and proxy setup this may no longer be allowed, and so the service may need to be informed of the updated address.
Use a text editor such as Notepad to open the following file C:\inetpub\wwwroot\INSIGHT\bin\SIMSAgent.exe.config
There is a "hub" setting that shows a URL that the service will use to access Insight.
Make sure that the URL specified can be reached using a browser on the server. If not it is unlikely to be the correct address, but it might also be that proxy reconfiguration is required.
If connecting to the specified address is only possible via a proxy, please ensure that your proxy details are correctly configured within the simsagent.exe.config file, ensuring that the proxy address is given as a valid URI and any credentials are accurately given.
If you have had to make changes to the configuration then use services.msc to restart the InsightSIMSAgent process with the new settings.
A single SIMS user account is required by Insight to access the SIMS database. The username and password of each account need to be entered during installation. If the passwords for these accounts are changed, the credentials entered in the Insight service controller will need to be changed also. Therefore using accounts for which the passwords do not change will require the least amount of maintenance.
The SIMS user account must have all of the permissions on the Class teacher and Curriculum Manager templates as well as the following permissions:
Group manager > User defined
Students > Attendance
Students > Registration
Students > Student Exam Results
Students > Timetable and Academic Classes
School Management > Home School
Admissions > Admissions - Common Data
Downloading the Service Pack
Service packs for Insight are available via the TASC Software website, www.tascsoftware.co.uk. An account is needed to access the website. Accounts can be created by our support team who are available on 01902 824281.
The downloads button at the top of the page is used to access service packs for various products. The Insight service packs are used to installed and/or update Insight.
Running the Service Pack
The service pack should be run on the IIS server that is going to host Insight. If all prerequisites have been met the Service Controller window will open. There are a number of nodes on the left hand side.
The service pack may require you to enter the SA username and password for the SQL instance that hosts SIMS. The Data tier tab will also need to have the location of the connect.ini file for the SIMS installation on the IIS server (the server that Insight is being installed onto).
If there is a tick next to the Data tier tab, on the left of the service pack window, then the information for that tab is correct.
The Insight application needs to be added to a site in IIS. This action is handled on the Application tier tab of the service pack.
The existing sites from IIS will be listed. The Insight application can be added to one of these sites, or a new site can be created. New sites can be created using the plus button above the list of sites. New sites require a name, port number and physical location on the IIS server (typically C:\inetpub\wwwroot\INSIGHT). An SSL certificate can also be added here.
The application is added to a site by selecting the site then clicking the plus button above the Application section.
At the top of the window there is a section for SIMS account details. The details of the SIMS account mentioned in Prerequisites should be entered here. The Scale field is the number of concurrent connections that can be established to the SQL server using that SIMS user. The default, 10, is a good setting for most schools. Increasing this number will open more access points during peak times but will also increase the strain on the SQL server.
There is a PARS link option which must be selected if PARS is going to be used at school. When this option is selected, Insight will also need to be given a URL to access PARS.
- Please Note
This PARS Link option requires that you have PARS AUTOMATION installed and running in order to be enabled successfully.
The settings can then be applied to the web server by clicking the Begin button. Once the process has finished running, the server's default web browser will open and attempt to access the Insight website.
Keep Alive service
The Keep Alive service "prods" the web site to keep the application loaded in memory on the web server. To use this feature, click on the Install button, and then, when the service is installed, click on the Start button.
Once the service pack has finished running Insight will open in a browser. The default log in details after installation are:
- Username: admin
- Password: password
If the default starting page of Insight does not open it may be because the software referred to in the NOTE at the top of this page has not been installed in the correct order. This can often be fixed by re-installing the .NET framework:
Go to: Start > Run
In the Open field box enter %windir%\microsoft.net\framework\v4.0.30319\aspnet_regiis -i
Some technical configuration can be done immediately after installing Insight. Preferences are set once, and are used identically by all users of the system. Preferences are accessed in Insight via:
Manage > Preferences
The preferences page is broken down into sections. The following sections can be configured immediately without any further knowledge of Insight.
Insight needs the school's SMTP server details if it is going to send emails. Emails are sent from Insight for a variety of reasons such as sending passwords to parents and notifying staff of user activities.
This section must be completed in order for Insight to check its licence details with our servers. If the proxy is incorrect, Insight will stop working when the licence needs to be renewed.
Entering DEFAULT for the proxy name will use standard Internet Options.
If the school has specific proxy settings then those will need to be entered instead. The proxy should be entered in the form 10.0.0.1:8090.
Insight can be used to send SMS messages. The SMS messages are sent via TextAnywhere, a third party provider. Enter the TextAnywhere account details into the SMS section to enable Insight to send SMS messages.
Configuring External Route
When you are happy that your users and preferences are configured, you will need to ensure that a route is configured from outside to the Insight IIS server. Although the details will change according to the environment your Insight server operates in, the principle remains the same. Your school will have a static IP address that it presents to the Internet, and you will have to forward requests to this address, on the port chosen for Insight when installing, to the internal network address of the Insight server on the same port, for example:
Assuming your schools external IP address is 22.214.171.124, and your Insight server's internal network address is 10.0.0.20, and that Insight is installed to listen on TCP port 1590, the forwarding rule would be 126.96.36.199:1590 is to be forwarded to 10.0.0.20:1234.
This rule would normally be configured either at the school's main incoming router, or you may have to put in a change request to your LA to have this facility enabled - again, details will vary according to circumstance.
When you know the external address you will be using, you can either embed this in your schools main web site as a link, or distribute it as is.
As a final note, it is strongly suggested that you install and use an SSL certificate on the Insight server, and also that it is not a self-signed certificate, unless you will be also using the server as a root certificate authenticator.
Although not authoritative, the example below may help you to with this stage.