Multi-Store Remote Automation Setup
Reference Number: AA-00276 Views: 3893 Created: 2012-12-07 13:09 Last Updated: 2013-10-21 15:00 0 Rating/ Voters

This article describes how to connect two or more stores together sharing the same database and optionally automating the process on a daily schedule. (This requires a purchase of a copy of Artisan POS Plus and the Multi-Store Feature Pack for each site, including the main site.)

Going Remote for the FIRST time.

  1. Your should already have Artisan set up on at least one station at your main site (001).
  2. At the Main Menu click on System Administration.
  3. Now Click on License Keys.
  4. Make sure you have entered all the license keys for ALL sites, including the new one(s).
  5. The first step in "Going Remote" is to manually get the data to the other site (usually via Dropbox)
  6. At the Main Menu click on Remote Operation.
  7. Select Prepare Data to Take to a Brand New Remote Site.
  8. Verify that the new site has never used this Artisan data before by answering Yes to the question.
  9. Select the site that your are trying to set up. (This would not be site 001.) 
  10. Enter the location where you are going to put the files to transfer. This article will be using Dropbox; however, it could be a removable storage device such as a USB Flash Disk.(that you carry back and forth) You can double-click in the Drive Directory box to open a file browse window. If you are using something other than Dropbox then the directory path or instructions will vary, for Dropbox you will have something like this in the below image.
                                           

  11. Once the upload is done, a window will appear to inform you that the remote transfer is complete.

Loading Data at the New Site for the First Time

  1. Select Start with Real Data from the "Welcome to Screen"
  2. Select Work Remotely Using Data Prepared on Another Station.
  3. Enter the directory path where your remote file is stored. (If Using *Dropbox* From Step 10 Above). Use the same Dropbox instructions to ensure your remote file is in the correct location. You have to use the same account log in information as Site 001.
    Once the data has been loaded, you are ready to begin operation at this site. You will notice the words "Remote" in the bottom left hand corner of the Artisan Screen from the Main Menu.
Automating the Process - Using Scheduled Tasks

We recommend using Windows built-in Scheduled Tasks manager for Automation of Artisan Remote Task.
Before Proceeding A Few things have to be Adjusted in Artisan and in Windows.   

Windows 7 Click on Start > Control Panel >  Hardware and sound (depending on your setting you May not have this) > Power Options

At the Remote Site(s) you will be creating 2 scheduled tasks: One will send the data back to the main site, the other will retrieve the refreshed data.

  1. Click on the Windows Start button and then select All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Select Create a Basic Task to start the Add Task Wizard. 
  3. In the Name field  -  "Artisan Remote Send" (this sends data to main site) then select  Next => and Next again leaving the Triggers on "Daily".
  4. On this screen select the time you want the data to be sent from this site back to the main site. This should be after the store is closed and nobody will be using Artisan about 1-2 hours after the maximum closing time. Select Next.
  5. The Action on this screen should be Start Program. Select Next.
  6. In the Program/script field select the Browse button=>go to the Desktop and select the Artisan icon. Select Next.
  7. Now select Finish and this task is complete.
  8. Now right click on this Scheduled Task and select Properties. Select the Actions tab. Click on the Action in the box to high light and select Edit.
  9. Click on the text in the Program/script field and  and use your right arrow key to go to the end of the text, put a space and then add the location for your file, in our example we are using Dropbox so it will read - "C:\Program Files (x86)\Artisan POS 3\POS Plus\artisan.exe" C:\Dropbox\Artisan\Remote

  10. Enter the user name and password when prompted, and then Next.
  11. A user name and password are required in order to use Scheduled Tasks. It is highly recommended that you only have one user configured - but you must have at least one with a password. If this is not possible or if you do not want to create a password for the computer, then you need to use nnCron.
  12. Check off Open Advanced Properties for this task and then click Finish.
  13. In the Run box, Add "remote send ftp://mystore@certek.biz" after the "artisan.exe". Replace the text "mystore@certek.biz" with the user name that you have been given by your FTP service provider.

At the Main Site you will only be creating 1 scheduled task.
  1. Change the word "SEND" to "REFRESH" in step 5,
    Change the time to start to 1 AM in step 7 and
    Change the word "SEND" to "REFRESH" in step 11.

Note: The specific times are a guideline; you may have to spread them out or make them closer. The idea is to keep them from overlapping. The more sites you have, the tighter the schedule needs to be. You just need to allow plenty of time for each task to complete, knowing that it may fail on the first try and additional time will be spent during each retry.

WARNING: Windows XP and later may have Automatic Updates turned on. Installing Windows Updates may cause your computer to reboot. Make sure the Automatic Update schedule (which defaults to 3AM) doesn't conflict with your remote automation schedule.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Can I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) instead of FTP?
A. Yes, but over time this method has too many vulnerabilities. Low cost VPN routers have proven insufficient. We don't recommend this solution.

Q. Can my data be synchronized during the day?
A. Yes, but it requires exiting Artisan on all stations. This is too inconvenient for most. We look forward to future versions without this restriction.

Q. What if my Internet connection fails during the night?
A. Artisan attempts to re-try if a connection fails, but a long outage can cause problems. The issues depend on what part of the cycle has successfully completed. If necessary, you can tell Artisan to "Reactivate Current Remote Data" at each affected remote site.

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