Atlas SQL Alias Manager

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The SQL Alias Manager, or SAM, is an application created by Atlas to manage DBC files. It comes packaged with all Atlas products (e.g., Ares, ILLiad, Aeon). The Atlas SQL Alias Manager is used in the process of creating and maintaining database connection (DBC) files referred to as SQL Aliases. These aliases are used by Ares when performing any database operations. Connections between the versions of Ares that use the .NET framework and the SQL Server are managed using the SQL Alias Manager.  

The SQL Alias Manager shows available products and DBC files listed on the left with database connection information for the selected DBC file in the middle. Logon accounts for Shared Server systems are listed on the right.

If your workstation has both Ares and either ILLiad or Aeon installed, you may have two versions of the SQL Alias Manager installed. As of Ares 5.0, a new version of the SAM has been issued. Either version of the SAM will work for any Atlas product; however, there are some differences between the two versions to understand. See the SQL Alias Manager Versions section below for more details.

SQL Alias Manager Versions 

SQL Alias Manager 1.3

  • Installed with Ares v5.0.
  • Creates and sets the default DBC at either the machine or user level.
    • Setting a DBC at the machine level- works the same as in SQL Alias Manager 1.2.3 by requiring administrator privileges.
    • Setting a DBC at the user level- does NOT require administrator privileges; therefore, individual users will be able to configure their workstations without assistance from IT staff. Setting the DBC file location will have to be performed for each user of the workstation since the default DBC configuration for one user will not be set as the default for other users. It is recommended to save the DBC in a location accessible to all users (e.g., C:\Users\Public) so it will only have to be created once.

SQL Alias Manager 1.2 

  • Installed with all previous versions of Ares prior to v5.0.
  • Creates and sets the default DBC at the machine level only. Once the DBC is configured and set as default for an Atlas product on a machine, all users of that machine will be able to use the client.
    • Setting a default at the machine level- requires administrator privileges; therefore, only IT staff will be able to configure DBCs. 

The .DBC File

A DBC (Database connection) is a file with a .dbc extension which tells your ILLiad/Ares/Aeon client(s) how to connect to your servers. The SQL Alias Manager creates the logon dbc file which stores the SQL server connection string, ILLiad site information, and password. This file is encrypted and it can only be opened using the SQL Alias Manager. If you have already specified this file using the SQL Alias Manager, it will automatically open the next time you open the SQL Alias Manager. You can have multiple logon dbc files on a machine and each one you've opened in the SQL Alias Manager will be listed. If a default DBC is not configured, opening the client will result in an "Unable to connect to database error".  

If a DBC file will be used by multiple users of a machine, it MUST be saved in a location that all users can access. We still recommend saving the DBC for per-user installs in a location that all users can access so the DBC only has to be created once.  

Location of the .DBC File 

The location where you save this file will be stored in the registry and will be used by all the different Ares components on that machine that use the Alias Manager. The current default DBC file for the machine is displayed at the bottom of the Alias Manager in the status bar. To select a specific DBC file to use for the system, choose it on the list on the left and hit the Set Default button in the ribbon.

Please note: Even if you install the Client at a per-user level, you may prefer to have a system administrator open the Atlas SQL Alias Manager, select the .dbc file, and click "Set Default (Local Machine)" to set the default connection options for all Ares Client users on a machine.

As of Ares 5.0, there are two different locations we recommend for the DBC files to be saved; depending on whether the file is for a single user or all users of a machine:

  • Per-Machine: under C:\Users\Public (doesn't require admin credentials), or C:\Program Files (x86)\Ares (NOTE - you'll need to run SQL Alias Manager as an administrator to do this).
  • Per-User: If you don't choose to put the DBC file in a location accessible machine-wide, we recommend storing it under the My Documents\Ares folder (will not be accessible to other users and doesn't require admin privileges).  

Enhanced Security

Since the SQL Alias Manager encrypts the logon dbc file, a staff user can't see any passwords saved in the file. Opening the file in the Alias Manager will not display the passwords and will also not allow the copying of the passwords using the clipboard.

Creating a New Database Connection

Each computer that will be using the Ares Client will need the SQL Alias Manager (SAM) installed and configured in order for Ares to work. The SAM will be installed by default when installing the Ares Client and a shortcut will display on the desktop.

If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8, you will need to open the SQL Alias Manager using the Run as Administrator feature. Do not double click the Alias Manager icon to open it. Instead, right-click on the Alias Manager icon and select Run as administrator.
  1. Right-click on the SQL Alias Manager icon and select Run as Administrator.
  2. Click the New button on the ribbon interface. A menu will appear.
  3. Click Ares to create a new profile for Ares.
  4. In the middle Database Connection column, fill in your Ares server address.
  5. Fill in your Ares Database name. The default is AresData.
  6. Leave the Connect Timeout checkbox blank. This will be populated with the default values when the profile is saved. Also, leave the Username and Password fields blank unless instructed otherwise by your database administrator.
  7. If your SQL server supports SSL, you can check the Secure box. This will encrypt the connection to the SQL server.
  8. Click Save to save the profile alias. Atlas recommends saving the file as your databasename.dbc (e.g. Aresdata.dbc) in the folder where the client program files are saved. The default is C:\Program Files(x86)\Ares\logon.dbc. Please see Creating a New DBC File for more information.
  9. After saving the alias, click the Set Default button to set that alias as the default alias to use on that computer.

DBC_PerUser.png

Setting an Alias for the Web Pages

This step is exclusively used when setting up a locally hosted server, not for desktop Client installation.

Ares uses the dbc file exclusively to connect to the database so an additional .dbc file needs to be created for the web pages. After updating Ares, create a new dbc file for the web pages. This file should be located in the same folder as the ares.dll, which is by default inetpub\wwwroot\ares.

Removing an Alias

Because the aliases are directly attached to .dbc files, removing an alias can be done simply by deleting the associated .dbc file.

Using an Alternate Username and Password

If you have configured your Ares server with a different username/password or if your server has multiple sites, you will need to enter that different username/password in the fields for the alias. Atlas can provide you with those alternate values as needed. Otherwise, the default values assigned while making the alias will work best.

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