Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Satellite Vault server now available

We're pleased to announce the release of the Altium Satellite Vault, one of the three Vault options that complement Altium Designer 10.

We've been talking about Altium Vaults for a while now, and with this new release those who are part of the AliumLive Subscriber plan now have the opportunity to experience the benefits of Altium Vault technology first-hand.

Altium Vaults, implemented as server-based software applications, are a major innovation for managing and sharing design data. Implemented in the cloud (in the future, with Managed Vaults) or on your network (as is the case now for Satellite Vaults) they allow designers and companies to manage their design and release data in a secure and scalable way.

Vaults form the heart of Altium’s smart data management technologies by providing managed repositories for design data. Data (or Items) in the vault can represent reusable design content, components, released designs for board fabrication and assembly, and more. The items are stored as formal revisions that are ‘released’ (and reused) from the design side of the organization, where their lifecycle can be managed and permission-based access provided to others in the organization.

Early examples of Vaults included our own Hobart and Shanghai Vaults, which are primarily focused on components and PCB design content.

Satellite Vaults now go further. The Altium Satellite Vault server is a downloadable application that can be installed on any network computer, including your local machine. Deployed Satellite Vaults are accessible from within (but not outside) your company network via Altium Designer or a standard browser interface. When connecting to a vault, a user’s credentials and access permissions are confirmed via your company’s account data held in AltiumLive – essentially the same process as when you log into Altium Designer.

Of the three vault options announced by Altium, the Satellite Vault is positioned midway between cloud-based Managed Vaults (hosted entirely within AltiumLive) and the standalone Enterprise Vault Server (hosted locally, with its own identity and permissions server). For companies where a low or moderate number of users need access to network-based vaults, the Satellite Vault server is a very cost-effective path to the data management benefits provided by Altium vault technology.

The unique combination of Satellite Vaults and Altium Designer 10 provides opportunities for companies to manage and distribute their design data in ways that were difficult or impossible before. Vault systems are based on a full lifecycle and revision managed data model (from full design right down to components and models), so highly-verified, reusable content for board-level design becomes a real and practical possibility. Vaults provide a mechanism for you to easily and securely share the right design data with those who need access to them, both inside your organisation and externally via secure cloud-based data publishing.

Because Vaults allow sub-circuits to be captured and their lifecycle managed as unique entities, organizations can manage higher-order design IP as easily as single components. Ultimately, they can build up and draw from their own libraries of design reuse IP, or from Altium’s growing list of reference content, to dramatically speed up the creation of new designs. And because these reusable design blocks continue to be identified as atomic elements within the Vault, powerful where-used features can be applied to track how design items are used across all released designs. If a component should ever cease to be available or a design block becomes obsolete, the impact to the organization can be quickly assessed and contained.

Vaults also allow Altium Designer’s Unified Data Model to be expanded to incorporate the supply chain, bringing greater intelligence to the design process. All Unified Components within the Vault contain a Part Choice List that connects, in real time, to supplier price and availability information which can then be used to target component selection around those that are able to meet time-to-market and price constraints.

The availability of the Satellite Vaults server adds significant value to that already provided by the Altium Subscription plan.

For an annual fee of US$1,500, the Altium Subscription plan provides access to a continuous supply of new software updates and design content, all downloadable Altium software applications (the Satellite Vault server and much more), plus all other services provided by AltiumLive such as the availability of Altium’s advanced bug reporting features.

For those who require a fully enterprise-isolated vault system, the standalone Altium Enterprise Vault Server (EVS) will be available as a separately-licensed software solution to those on Subscription. This forthcoming option is the logical choice for companies where internet access outside the enterprise LAN/WAN is impractical or not possible.

With both the EVS and Satellite Vault options you can create as many vaults as you like, opening the door to a new world of design data management and distribution within your company. User access to those vaults is on an unlimited or per seat basis for the EVS option, while the Satellite Vaults are available to any Altium Subscription plan members in your company.

For Satellite Vaults, it’s worth noting that only those in your organization are able to see and access the vault server and vault contents. While user credentials and permissions are confirmed via AltiumLive’s cloud-based identity servers, your vault data are served and manged within the confines of your company network – there is no web presence, and no visibility to Altium or any other external parties.

For many users Satellite Vaults will be the most cost effective way to harness the data management benefits of Altium Vault technology, yet also enjoy the advantages of regular software technology and design content updates, plus full access to the Altium community and company ecosystem.

For those on the Subscriber plan, the Satellite Vault server installer is available now in the software downloads section of AltiumLive.

For more information about Altium Vault technology and the Satellite Vault take a look at the following resources:

  1. Overview and video
  2. Vault differences and deployment: Opening the Vault doors (PDF)
  3. Vault Server - Installation Tips in the Wiki
  4. Getting started with Altium Vaults (PDF)
  5. More detailed technical information in the Wiki


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