Which one?

Since its creation in 1998, mSupply has grown and multiplied as it has been applied to different challenges. The original Free-user (Windows or Mac based) application continues to be downloaded and used regularly. In fact, it comes packed with (almost) all the bells and whistles of some of our most sophisticated installations, but is only suitable for a small, single concurrent user facility.

We need two servers!!!???

The ICT industry is plagued by the practice of using the same term to refer to software, hardware or both combined! As it relates to mSupply in multi-user environments, there is often confusion over two of these:

  • The term 'Server' can refer to:
    • The mSupply computer software which runs the mSupply database,
    • The hardware which the server software is installed on, and;
    • Both the hardware and the software acting together. This is possibly the most common usage. When we say something like “send to the server” we mean send data to the server software operating on the server hardware.

The server hardware can actually be a cloud hosted 'service' rather than physical hardware that you own and try to manage. Sometimes the server hardware is referred to as a 'file server', and this can help to avoid confusion. In any case, for any multi-user mSupply installation, including mSupply mobile, both server software and server hardware are needed, and both of them cost money.

  • Similarly, the term 'Client' can refer to:
    • The mSupply computer software which accesses the mSupply server (software) database on the server (hardware),
    • The hardware which this client software operates on, and;
    • Both the hardware and the software acting together.

Sometimes the client hardware is referred to as a 'client PC' (Mac or Windows) and this can help to avoid confusion. Again, for any multi-user mSupply installation, including mSupply mobile, both client software and client hardware are needed. For mSupply mobile, the client hardware is an Android Tablet - refer Mobile (Android) user guide v2.0 - featuring offline operation.

We are a software company, so when we use these terms, we will almost certainly be referring to our software, but sometimes not. The context normally helps, but please forgive us if we fail to distinguish between these meanings!

So which is the right mSupply product / configuration for you? The key differences between the configurations basically comes down to how the user(s) interact with the database. We hope this table helps in making that decision.

Product / configuration Description Software price implications - refer Pricing
Free-user PC or Mac application - Download here. The database resides on the computer that the application has been installed on. It can be used by only one user at any one time. Free! You still need to register mSupply with Sustainable Solutions, but we don't charge you for it - and we don't sell your contact details either!
Single-user Same as PC or Mac application, but for users who wish to make use of Support1) and Up-to-Date (UTD)2) A software license needs to be procured, generally for about 1/3 of the price of a multi-user client, and then Support and UTD on top of that.
Multi-user For situations where more than one user needs to access the database at one time. The database is hosted on a file server and mSupply server software is installed on that hardware. Users have access to this data through mSupply client software installed on client PCs that communicate to the server through a Local Access Network (LAN). Remote users can access the server through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or similar. A software license needs to be procured for each concurrent client. Support and UTD is optional, but highly recommended. Most of our customers are very happy to pay for these services.
Synchronised Multi-user If the internet connection to remote users in a Multi-user configuration is inadequate, then Remote Synchronisation allows a Primary - Satellite configuration to be deployed. 'Satellite' multi-user servers are installed at remote sites where users operate mSupply on their local store without worrying about the internet connection. In the background, these 'satellite' servers will synchronise their local store data with a 'Primary' server when the internet connection becomes adequate. A software license needs to be procured for each concurrent client for each server. Synchronisation and Web server modules are required.
Synchronised Single-user There are situations where the remote sites (with poor internet access) are just single-operator stores needing to manage and report their stock using the fully featured mSupply client. Procuring the minimum multi-user satellite server configuration for each of these sites would be expensive. A solution was developed that entails installing single-user clients at these remote locations and then synchronising them to the primary server much like the Synchronised Multi-user configuration. Lower cost than conventional synchronised multi-user as the single-user client license is less costly than multi-user client licenses. Synchronisation and Web server modules are required.
Mobile This is a Synchronised Single-user configuration, but the users operate with mSupply Mobile (client) software on Android tablets. This apps has a reduced feature set, but is more than adequate for most Last-Mile needs. Local stock details are synchronised back to the Primary server, and can be monitored and reported on there. Pricing is even lower than for Synchronised Single-User. We see this as the way forward for the medical supply chain in small and remote facilities. Synchronisation and Web server modules are required.
mSupply Customer Interface Allows staff of Customers in your mSupply system to report their stock levels and order stock from a Virtual store in mSupply system. It runs on a browser on any device: tablet, smartphone, net-book, desktop computer etc. Depends on your situation - contact us. Web server module is required.
FrontlineSMS integration with 2G mobile phone mSupply has the ability to integrate with a FrontlineSMS installation. This allows a customer to send their current stock levels to mSupply using an SMS (text) message from any mobile phone. This is particularly useful if, for example, you are a mobile or remote health post or dispensary which doesn't have internet access and only needs to send in information about a few items at a time. SMS module is required

Other modules are available for addition to the basic mSupply application:

Module Comments Software price implications - refer Pricing
FrontlineSMS Allows users to send their current stock levels to mSupply using an SMS (text) message from any mobile phone. This can then be used by mSuppy to determine how much stock to send to the facility. Equal to the price of 1 client license.
Product (drug) Registration Allows integration of product registration (control of what products can be supplied by authorising particular suppliers and products) by recording and tracking the status of supplier's registrations and storing the documentation for easy retrieval. Equal to the price of 2 client licenses.
Web Server Module Allows you to access mSupply data on the server from any networked computer that has internet access.
This module is a prerequisite for several other modules.
Equal to the price of 2 client licenses.
Synchronisation Module Maintains data integrity between a 'primary' mSupply server and 'satellite' mSupply servers. It therefore only applies to situations where there is a multi-mSupply server setup.
Requires the Web Server.
Equal to the price of 2 client licenses.
Tender Management Allows execution of a full tender process including publishing of the tender through a web site, and so allowing tenderers to submit tenders on-line.
Requires the Web Server.
Equal to the price of 1 client license.

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1)
Remote support - almost 24/7. We aim to provide a first response within 2 hrs
2)
Gives you access to the latest software updates, including assistance with upgrading if needed.
  • about/which_one_for_you.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/04/27 00:20
  • by rozanna