Requirements

Open mSupply Requirements

Open mSupply runs on a number of platforms and for a basic installation has very modest hardware requirements. The client can be a web browser, an android tablet or a PC running windows or mac OS. The server requires a little more memory and processing capability, depending on the number of users. It can run on windows, mac or linux operating systems.

Hardware Requirements

General hardware recommendations

  • In environments with regular power outages, it is highly recommended to procure Laptop machines rather than desktop machines. Laptop machines will almost always be the best solution in terms of both cost and effectiveness for these reasons:

    • In environments with poor quality electricity supply, laptop computers will generally be more reliable than desktop computers with UPS protection. In such environments UPS batteries will normally die within 2 years. Laptop batteries have better power management and the batteries last longer
    • Even when the battery runs out on a laptop, the power management will normally cause the machine to shut down gracefully.
    • Laptop computers have built-in microphone and camera for provision of support
    • Laptop computers have built-in Wi-Fi adaptor for network connection
    • Laptop computers are smaller and lighter than desktop computers, and so are less costly to ship.
  • A connected printer is not absolutely necessary in every situation, but for most situations it is a requirement. An ink-jet or laser is preferable.

  • Buy hardware for which good after sales support is available

  • Buy brands with a reputation for quality (even if it means buying a slower/older machine)

Windows, Mac, and, Linux hardware requirements

Hardware requirements vary widely depending on what you want to use Open mSupply for. Here's a rough guide:

Recording stock transactions is a core Open mSupply activity. Most stock transaction data is numeric. It is essential that Open mSupply Windows or Mac hardware include a numeric keypad, either as part of a wide keyboard, or as a dedicated external numeric keypad.
MachineTechnical MinimumRecommended
Windows client machine for use with server64 bit processor
Windows 10
4 Gb RAM, 300Mb of disk space
64 bit processor
Windows 10
8 Gb RAM, 500Mb of disk space
Linux client machine for use with server64 bit processor
Linux distro and minimum version TBD
4 Gb RAM, 300Mb of disk space
64 bit processor
Distro TBD
8 Gb RAM, 500Mb of disk space
Windows server64 bit processor
Windows 10 Pro or Win server 2019
8 Gb RAM
50 GB HDD/SDD volume with daily backups to an external volume
Attached to a Smart UPS (see below) 64 bit processor
64 bit processor
Windows Server 2019+
32+ Gb RAM
4 x HDD/SDD volumes, 3 configured as RAID1 or RAID5 with hot spare
Daily backups to the fourth volume plus daily off-site backups
Attached to a Smart UPS (see below)
Linux server64 bit processor
Linux distro and minimum version TBD
8 Gb RAM
50 GB HDD/SDD volume with daily backups to an external volume
Attached to a Smart UPS (see below) 64 bit processor
64 bit processor
Distro TBD
32+ Gb RAM
4 x HDD/SDD volumes, 3 configured as RAID1 or RAID5 with hot spare
Daily backups to the fourth volume plus daily off-site backups
Attached to a Smart UPS (see below)

Mobile / tablet requirements

You are able to use a browser on a tablet to connect to an open mSupply server, and the only requirement here is a suitably fast tablet with a browser such as chrome or firefox.

For a stand-alone, offline, solution a mobile application is also available for android devices.

Recommended Specifications: In short, open mSupply mobile runs on Android tablets (not on phones as there is too much data to use well on small phone screens). The application requires at least Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

MinimumRecommended
Display size9.8 inches10.1 inches
Resolution768 x 1024 pixels800 x 1200 pixels
Android version5.08.1
ProcessorQuad-core 1.3GHz
Memory1.5 Gb RAM

In order to provide support, the device must also be compatible with MDM (Mobile Device Management) software and support google services. Please contact mSupply Foundation for details.

Please contact us for testing and / or advice before making a large hardware purchase.

Smart UPS

A 'smart' UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) detects when the battery power is about to run out and sends a notification to software on the server which triggers a graceful shut down of the computer. To enable this, there needs to be a cable connection (normally USB) between the UPS and the computer combined with software running on the computer.

In our experience, the primary cause of computer hardware failure is data corruption due to ungraceful shutdowns. This happens when power to the computer is cut instantly, without any notification to the computer to shut down gracefully. If the machine is 'protected' by a normal UPS, then this can still happen when the battery power runs out. Even if the machine is notionally protected by a 'smart' UPS, there are a number of circumstances where this UPS protection fails:
  • Cable connection and software can fail.
    • Cable becomes disconnected
    • Software isn't configured correctly
    • Software doesn't start up
  • UPS batteries degrade (normally within 2 years of installation in environments with regular power cuts) and there is too little capacity to run long enough for the computer to shut down gracefully after receiving the notification from the UPS

Laptop computers tend to be much more resilient to power failure:

  • A laptop's built-in 'smart' UPS is very reliable
  • The internal batteries last much longer than UPS batteries
  • Even if the laptop internal battery degrades, the 'smart' function appears to work much more reliably than a standalone UPS communicating with a 'tower' computer.

Here are some additional advantages of laptops vs. desktop machines:

  • Lower cost of freight:
    • To send the machine to site
    • To send spare parts for repair on-site
    • To retrieve the machine from site for any repairs that can not be undertaken on site
  • It is standard to have features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and camera included by default and this may not be the case with desktops

A concern with laptop computers is security. It is easier to steal a laptop computer from an office than it is to steal a desktop computer. For this reason, laptops are normally configured with a physical locking feature such as Kensington lock slot.

Because Open mSupply is dealing with lots of numbers (quantities of stock), it is highly recommended to have a keyboard with a numeric keypad. Smaller laptop computers (14“ screen or less) will not have this. Smaller laptop computers normally have an impractically small screen. It is therefore recommended to procure a laptop computer with a keyboard that includes a numeric keypad - which will necessarily entail a larger screen.

Useful productivity accessories for laptop computers include

  • External mouse (not wireless - batteries replacement is expensive and environmentally irresponsible)
  • External keyboard (not wireless - batteries replacement is expensive and environmentally irresponsible)
  • External screen

Backup system

Once you start using Open mSupply, it is of crucial importance that you have a method of backing up your data. In a default installation, Open mSupply stores all its data in a file that rapidly becomes large. You need, therefore, to have a high capacity removable storage device. We strongly recommend the use of an external hard disk using either firewire (IEEE 1394) or USB2 to facilitate off-site storage of backups.

  • If not using our internet backup service, you need to be able to store backed up data off-site to prevent the risk of loss by fire, theft, etc.

Antivirus

Windows based operating systems are particularly prone to malware if precautions are not taken. We recommend the following precautions:

  • Install a reputable anti-virus program, including web protection if the computer has access to the internet
  • Disable USB ports - refer to this site for suggested methods

Ensure that access to passwords to allow exceptions to the above two measures are kept secure.