myAvail's Application Structure

myAvail is the name of the entire CAD/AVL system that Avail delivers. The myAvail application is the primary presentation layer that rides on a foundation of a Microsoft SQL Server database, Windows services, Windows IIS modules, and other supporting applications. This section provides a description of the database, various applications, services, and other embedded third-party software. myAvail has many optional features and configuration options, which affects the specific software that Avail installs in your system. This guide explains the entire scope of possibilities.

To see how modules communicate see Public Facing Features section.

The following diagram provides a visual presentation of myAvail’s components. The following color and shape coding scheme apply to the diagram:

  • Items in a “cloud” shape are centralized off premises contracted services
  • Items in the Public Facing area and connected with a dashed line are usually on the public side of the Network
    • Avail refers to the Public Facing components collectively as myStop®
    • Signs have the option of a wired or wireless connection on the Local Area Network
NOTE: The myAvail and DataPoint applications that this section reviews are browser-based applications. Avail officially supports only Microsoft Edge version 40 and higher as your default browser. Please note that the installation of myAvail in its “out of Browser” mode requires Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer version 10 and higher be available.

Things to Consider about Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine

All myAvail databases are built on MS SQL 2012 R2 server(s). There are up to six databases that Avail creates depending on optional packages. Descriptions of these databases are below:

  • One database serves as the repository of all data that vehicles collect and process along with much of the configuration data and other supporting data.
  • There are two required supporting databases. One is for communications data and the other is for user configuration.
  • The schedule data import process uses another database for interim database.
  • When properties choose to implement the optional Data Warehouse feature, it requires a separate database. Avail recommends that you run this database under its own instance of SQL Server.
  • Configuration of myAvail’s VoIP feature occurs in a standalone database, which can be in the same SQL Server instance as the other myAvail databases.

No user requires administrator privileges. All users are assigned access that is appropriate to the user’s permission level. MS SQL is typically installed on a dedicated server instance. Performance of the database is critical to the overall system performance. Avail strongly recommends that the server and instance of SQL Server supports myAvail’s databases alone. All other applications which utilize a SQL Server database should have a separate server and instance of the SQL Server engine.

Things to Consider about Applications

For the purposes of this document, an “Application” is defined as software that users launch as needed and then closed by users when they complete their work. This consideration takes precedence over the tools used to implement the application. For example, DataPoint and myAvail are IIS modules and are referred to as applications because users launch them.

Things to Consider about Services

A Windows Service is a program that operates in the background. A Windows Service must conform to the interface rules and protocols of the Service Control Manager, which is the component responsible for managing Windows services. Services can be configured to start when the operating system starts and run in the background for the entire Windows session.

Avail strongly recommends that Avail code be installed on servers that your property dedicates to the Avail system. However, when that is impractical, please consult closely with Avail Support as there can be incompatibilities between software installed by Avail and other software.

All Avail services are designed to start and stop automatically on start up or shut down of the server. However, please be sure to follow the defined server start up procedure (see How to Shut Down and Start Up myAvail) because there are dependencies between services that run on the various Avail servers. Failure to follow the startup procedure can cause myAvail to fail.

NOTE: Restarting services may be requested to resolves problems. Properties that use the Avail Hosting Option do not need to do this task. However, other properties must have an IT administrator capable of performing this task.

Things to Consider about IIS Modules

A Windows IIS (Internet Information Service) module is a program that operates in a browser or in the background. An IIS module requires that the IIS option be installed as part of the operating system. myAvail requires version 7 or higher. IIS modules can be configured to start when the operating system starts and run in the background for the entire Windows session. Many software products use IIS and each one can require a specific version to work properly. Consequently, Avail strongly recommends installing only Avail products on servers.

Microsoft IIS is used for web server functionality for myAvail and myAvail TIDS service. myAvail is hosted on an internal-only site, and myAvail TIDS is the public-facing site.

NOTE: Originally, Avail developed myAvail using the Microsoft Silverlight platform. When Microsoft announced the end of life for Silverlight, Avail immediately began the design, planning and implementation efforts for the transition to HTML5. The new myAvail CORE module manages the HTML5 functionality.

Things to Consider about Third-party Software

Avail strongly recommends installing Avail code on servers dedicated to the Avail system. However, when other software needs to be installed with Avail products, please consult closely with Avail Support.

Avail uses specific versions of different types of third-party software. There is software, such as the DDS WiNG, which provides very specific functionality and is unlikely to be included with other products. There is more widely used software, such as the Apache/Tomcat software or PRTG. While other products use these programs, it is unlikely. Avail also uses Microsoft software that non-Avail products often use.

Avail tests all third-party software to determine which versions are fully compatible with the version of myAvail that is installed on your system. If you install non-Avail products on an Avail server, that can change the versions of the third-party software, which can cause incompatibilities with myAvail. Additionally, every time myAvail is updated, we ensure that all third-party software packages are at the most recent fully compatible version, which can cause incompatibilities with non-Avail software.

NOTE: The myAvail VoIP solution uses an open source product for the key function of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). This product is based on the Asterisk software PBX. These products have critical resource needs and have complex network requirements. Avail strongly recommends these products be installed on a dedicated server.

Things to Consider about Contract Services

myAvail uses centralized contracted services for SMS (text) messaging and email services. These are internet services, therefore connection to the internet by the Avail servers is required for these services to function. Use of Contract Services usually incurs processing charges from the provider, which can be tied to the maintenance and support agreement or provided as a monthly billed service. In the event an active maintenance/support agreement is allowed to lapse, availability of these services can be compromised. If the maintenance and support agreement is no longer active, please contact Avail’s support contract specialist for information about continuing these services.

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