Q&A: Installation

General Minimum System Requirements

 

Question

Why is it necessary for me to meet or exceed the minimum system requirements?

Answer

PowerSchool places great importance in the development and continued evaluation of technical specifications for use with PowerSchool. Creating an optimal environment composed of adequate hardware and networking components better ensures the satisfactory performance of the application and allows PowerSchool support staff to eliminate issues encountered within the application.

PowerSchool staff tasked with product development, quality assurance, and performance perform rigorous testing and evaluation of the application and database within many technical platforms to determine what hardware and network specifications will be minimally sufficient and optimally preferred for Windows and servers.

Meeting or exceeding the minimum system requirements will allow customers to enjoy the full support and technical expertise of the Technical Support department by eliminating issues not associated with the actual operation of the company's products.  For this reason, PowerSchool staff associated with the deployment of the application and/or database will not perform any installation to an environment not meeting our strict standards.

 

Question

Where can I find the documented minimum system requirements?

Answer

The minimum system requirements for PowerSchool can be found on PowerSource here.  It will be important that you are familiar with your student and staff population and intended choice of gradebook functionality, as these determinations will influence the appropriate document and requisite elements of your server(s).

 

Question

How can I tell which requirements apply to me?

Answer

The system requirement documentation is segregated according to your district Enrollment.

 

Question

I am a small school.  Why should I have to meet the minimum system requirements?

Answer

The requirements are established to ensure that PowerSchool runs appropriately for all customers regardless of size or needs.  Where appropriate, the minimum system requirements make allowances for customer size according to student and staff population.

 

Question

How much hard drive space is required?

Answer

The amount of hard drive space necessary will depend upon the number of students currently enrolled as well as the approximate increase of students that is anticipated.  The formula used to calculate the necessary hard drive space can be found within the system requirements documentation.  

 

Question

What is an image server?  Why is it necessary?  What must I provide for the image server?

Answer

An image server is a virtual asset that is dedicated to the rendering or processing of the images found within PowerSchool.  These images are the .gif files located within the application's directory that contribute to the look and feel of PowerSchool.  Common images include the logos and command buttons visible throughout the application.

Customers are not required to procure a dedicated server for the images, and it is not necessary that a separate image server meet the same system requirements as the production server(s).  The installation and use of Apache is necessary to facilitate the exchange of the pertinent files between servers, and can be downloaded at no cost

PowerSchool requires an image server as a result of substantial performance testing and troubleshooting that indicates a significant increase in performance capability when the rendering of images is segregated from the application.  PowerSchool has determined that the rendering of the images found within PowerSchool in a manner that is segregated from the processing of transactions has a positive benefit to the overall performance of the application.

Customers must provide a subdomain name if the image server will reside on the same server as the application, or a fully qualified domain name ("FQDN") if the image server will reside on a separate server.  Should the domain or subdomain name not already be available from within the customer's network allocation, arrangements may be made to purchase the necessary entry from their Internet Service Provider.

The configuration of the image server is performed by TSG during the installation service, but customers are nevertheless encouraged to review the Image Server Setup

 

 

Windows-specific Minimum System Requirements

 

Question

I am interested in Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter.  Is it supported?

Answer

Yes.  PowerSchool is not aware of any potential conflict regarding the use of PowerSchool or the PowerTeacher Gradebook within this platform.

 

Question

The minimum system requirement documentation indicates that AMD's equivalent to the Intel Xeon is supported.  What is the AMD equivalent?

Answer

Benchtests suggest that the AMD Operton is equivalent in performance to the Intel Xeon.

 

Question

I am preparing a server for a non-production instance for testing and/or training.  Does the server have to meet these same requirements?

Answer

In consideration of the fact that a non-production instance will not have nearly as many users or demand placed on it, PowerSchool does not require customers to procure a server that meets the minimum specifications for a production instance.  However, to ensure that the application and database perform sufficiently, PowerSchool does require that the non-production server meet the PowerSchool minimum system requirements for a all-in-one database and application server.

 

 

Bomgar

 

Question

What is Bomgar?

Answer

Bomgar is a remote desktop control solution used by TSG to view or control a server or client computer.

 

Question

Do I have to be at the server for the support representative to connect?

Answer

No.  Since TSG typically requires remote access to your server for multiple days, including off-shift work, a Bomgar Jump Client will be installed, allowing unattended remote support by the TSG.  In some cases, to establish a remote support connection, a user must be present at the computer (physically or remotely) to grant the TSG representative permissions to connect.

 

Question

What is the Bomgar Jump Client?

Answer

The Bomgar Jump Client is a small application that can be deployed to your server or computer by the TSG representative.  This application allows the TSG representative to establish an unattended connection to your server or computer at any time, eliminating the need for someone to be present.  Once unattended access is no longer needed, the TSG representative will uninstall the Jump Client and will no longer be able to establish an unattended connection.

 

Question

I do not have physical access to my PowerSchool server.  How else can I access the server to allow PowerSchool to connect via Bomgar?

Answer

Several free or commercial remote desktop control applications are available including Timbuktu (Windows and Mac), PCAnywhere (Windows), RealVNC (Windows), Chicken of the VNC (Mac), TightVNC (Windows), and more, allowing users to remotely control another computer. Please note that the above product names and links are provided as a courtesy.  PowerSchool does not recommend any one remote desktop control solution.

 

Question

What is the difference between an attended connection and an unattended connection?

Answer

An attended connection requires that a user be present at the remote computer to grant the TSG representative permission to view or control that computer.  An unattended connection allows the TSG representative to establish a remote support session without requiring a user at the remote computer to grant view or control permissions.

 

Question

Do I have to install any software?

Answer

Yes.  Upon receipt of the Bomgar Jump Client, you will be prompted to install a small application on your computer.  However, once the remote support session is complete, the application is automatically removed.

 

Question

How secure is the remote hosting session?

Answer

Information exchanged between PowerSchool and your computer is encrypted using 256-bit AES SSL encryption during the remote support session.

 

Question

Is remote support limited to a single PowerSchool server?

Answer

No. By installing the Bomgar on mutiple PowerSchool servers, the TSG representative may begin a remote support session with all servers within your PowerSchool infrastructure.

 

Question

How will a remote support session be initiated?

Answer

You will be provided with one of two options for establishing the remote support session.

Email: The TSG representative will provide you with an email containing a link to the Bomgar Jump Client.   You will need to download and install the Bomgar Jump Client on the server TSG will need a connection to.

Web: The TSG representative will direct you to a web site where you can download the Bomgar Jump Client.  You will need to download and install the Bomgar Jump Client on the server TSG will need a connection to.

 

Question

What operating systems must I have to receive remote support?

Answer

Bomgar remote support is compatible with both Windows (Windows 95 - Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008) and Macintosh (Mac OS X 10.3 - 10.6) operating systems.

 

Question

How can I learn more about Bomgar?

Answer

Visit http://www.bomgar.com.

 

 

Oracle

 

Question

I am planning on using backup software to archive my data.  What vendors or programs does PowerSchool work with?  Which are supported?

Answer

Customer data is housed in an Oracle database.  The prominence of Oracle's database solution in the marketplace allows customers to choose from many options of compatible backup programs.  PowerSchool Technical Support will not provide any assistance installing, configuring, or troubleshooting backup software; therefore, customers are encouraged to work in conjunction with guidelines provided by their software vendor and Oracle.

 

Question

My backup software vendor needs to know what versions of Oracle are used.  What should I tell them?

Answer

Oracle Enterprise 11g is used with PowerSchool 7.0.

 

 

Installation Process and Policies

 

Question

Can I install PowerSchool myself?

Answer

The deployment of an instance of PowerSchool 7.0 can be performed entirely by a customer.  The process is documented and supported by the Technical Support department.  Customers who have purchased the deployment service from PowerSchool should contact their Implementation Project Manager or TSG to initiate the process.

 

Question

I may modify the IP address(es) of my server(s) in the future.  What do I need to do?

Answer

The network credentials are an important component of the installation procedure and help to ensure the adequate operation of the application and database.  As such, customers are strongly encouraged to make any necessary changes to the network credentials-including IP addresses- before the installation is initiated.  TSG will not be responsible for making the necessary modifications to the configuration of the application or database, nor will additional installations be performed without the customer incurring fees associated with the deployment services.  Customers in this situation will be directed to work with the Technical Support department in order to understand the necessary changes that will need to be made to the application and database configuration following the modification of network credentials.

 

Question

Can I load or refresh my district’s data myself?

Answer

Customers using PowerSchool 7.0 or greater can perform the data population process themselves without any need for PowerSchool intervention.  The process is documented and supported by the Technical Support department. The Technical Solutions Group will perform the associated tasks should customers wish to purchase the service or otherwise be unable to complete it for themselves.

 

Question

What are the benefits of having an additional instance of PowerSchool?

Answer

There are several reasons why it is worth both the time and cost of maintaining a secondary instance of PowerSchool. Rather than using your production instance to evaluate the functionality of a new release of PowerSchool, it is a common practice to update the test instance with the latest and greatest release of PowerSchool to understand the implications of updating the version before you do anything to jeopardize the data or functionality in your live environment.

Furthermore, one of the many advantages that PowerSchool has over its competitors is the ease with which you can customize the content of the application. Rather than making these changes in your production instance, it is far better to work out the kinks in your custom pages and functionality in a test environment before turning it over to your user community. Test environments are often called “sandboxes” for the simple reason that if you do not like what you have built, you can simply tear it down and build it again without any consequences.

Equally important is the fact that establishing a test instance of PowerSchool will allow your staff the opportunity to receive hands-on training without any consequence to the integrity of your data. Your teaching staff will be able to apply the lessons learned during instruction by performing the functions that they will need to know in the classroom…all without affecting your live data.
 

Question

How many instances of PowerSchool am I allowed to have? Is there a limit to how many times my data is updated?

Answer

In addition to your production instance of PowerSchool, you have the option of maintaining as many secondary instances as you wish. However, the Technical Support department will provide troubleshooting assistance for a single non-production instance of PowerSchool.

Additionally, the data from your production instance may be loaded into these secondary instances as often as you wish. Please note however that each provision of the services by TSG will incur a nominal fee.

 

Question

How are the fees determined?

Answer

The fees are intended only to help offset the costs of performing the tasks necessary to fulfil your need. The fee is calculated according to the least amount of time historically required to administer and complete the task. The fee will not fluctuate regardless of the actual amount of time required for the completion of the task, nor will the fee vary from customer to customer.

 

Question

Who should I contact in the event I lose access to my production instance?

Answer

Customers experiencing catastrophic hardware failure necessitating a re-installation of PowerSchool and/or Oracle, or who require a data recovery from a backup should consult with the installation and restore-related documentation on Community or contact TSG if they would prefer to purchase the service.

 

Question

How do I request services from TSG?

Answer

Please contact the Technical Solutions Group at tsghelpdesk@powerschool.com for immediate assistance.

 

Question

How do I submit my Purchase Order for additional services?

Answer

For fastest processing, please fax your purchase order to 916.288.1590. Otherwise, please mail your purchase order to the following address:

TSG Services Billing

PowerSchool

Attention: Sarah Hahn

150 Parkshore Dr.

Folsom, CA 95630.

 

Question

Who should I contact if I have questions about my Purchase Order?

Answer

Please contact Sarah Hahn at 651.460.6334 or sarah.raveling@powerschool.com for any questions specific to the submission of processing of your purchase order.