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Aras Innovator Installation: Let’s make this easy

By December 13, 2023December 19th, 2023No Comments

Aras Innovator is a powerful PLM platform designed for flexibility, scalability, and security. Although the task of managing product lifecycle for which it was designed is one of significant complexity, installing Aras Innovator is a relatively simple process compared with many other enterprise-level software products. Even so, installation can be made difficult if the pre-install environment is not correctly prepared, and the installation process itself does contain a few “gotchas” to be aware of. This article is intended to help make the work as painless as possible. 

Note: We are working with the latest subscriber release of Aras Innovator. At the time this article was published, Innovator 28 is available for download from the Aras Subscriber Portal. Innovator 23 is also available for download from the Aras website for non-subscribers.This installation  focuses on performing a basic, no-frills installation with all components on a single machine, and no domain accounts are required. 

Installing Prerequisites 

Aras provides specific installation documentation based on the version being installed. Subscribers can access the necessary documentation from the Subscriber Portal or in the package supplied by Aras. For non-subscribers, the installation guide for Innovator 23 can be accessed here and covers the following three prerequisites to address prior to installing Innovator: 

  1. a. Web Server (Internet Information Services, or IIS)
  2. b. Database Server (Microsoft SQL Server, full or express)
  3. c. File Server

In addition to the prerequisites, the Aras Innovator Platform Specification document should also be reviewed to understand the hardware and software expectations of the underlying infrastructure. You can find the document for Innovator 23 here, or in the package supplied by Aras for Innovator 28. 

Note: Innovator 28 supports SQL Server 2022, Innovator 23 supports up to SQL Server 2019.

Web Server (IIS)
Since Innovator is a web-based framework, the web server provides the services necessary to serve up content to the client browser. It is important to note that IIS is not active in a default Windows environment; it must be enabled. Along with IIS, there are several features and role services that must also be installed. Below are the steps for enabling IIS and the required features in the Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 environments. Windows 10 is a great environment to use to do an evaluation but should not be considered for production use or a multi-user environment.Web Server (IIS) 

Since Innovator is a web-based framework, the web server provides the services necessary to serve up content to the client browser. It is important to note that IIS is not active in a default Windows environment; it must be enabled. Along with IIS, there are several features and role services that must also be installed. Below are the steps for enabling IIS and the required features in the Windows Server 2022 and Windows 11 environments. Windows 11 is an adequate environment to use for evaluation but should not be considered for production use or a multi-user environment. 

Windows Server 2022
The screenshots below were taken from Windows Server 2022.  

Note: For Windows Server 2012, .NET 4.5 will be in place of .NET 4.7, and in Server 2016 .NET 4.6 will be in place of .NET 4.7. If you are using Windows Server 2019 or 2022, select the options for .NET 4.8 as indicated below. 

  1. Open Server Manager and click Manage → Add Roles and Features.
  2. In the Server Roles section, check the box for Web Server (IIS). If you get a secondary window that requests to add features required for Web Server, click Add Features:
     

3. In the Features section, make sure the following are checked:

a. .NET Framework 3.5 Features – This is not strictly needed for a default install of Aras Innovator, but there still could be add-on components that may require it.

b. .Net Framework 4.8 Features

i. Include ASP.NET 4.8

4. In the Role Services section, make sure the following are checked:

a. Web Server

i. Common HTTP Features

1. Default Document

2. Directory Browsing

3. HTTP Errors

4. Static Content

                5.  HTTP Redirection

 

ii. Health and Diagnostics

1. HTTP Logging

2. Request Monitor – Useful for troubleshooting a slow or unresponsive IIS worker process, as it allows you to capture information about the HTTP requests executing in a given process.

iii. Performance

1. Static Content Compression

iv. Security

1. Request Filtering

2. Windows Authentication

v. Application Development

1. .NET Extensibility 3.5 (if you chose to install .NET Framework 3.5 above)

2. .NET Extensibility 4.8

3. ASP.NET 3.5 (if you chose to install .NET Framework 3.5 above) – If prompted, choose to add all features required to enable this service)

4. ASP.NET 4.8 – (If prompted, choose to enable all features required to enable this service)

5. ISAPI Extensions

6. ISAPI Filters

b. Management Tools

i. IIS Management Console

ii. IIS Management Scripts and Tools

iii. Management Service (check this only if you want to be able to remotely manage IIS without having to log into the server itself)

5.  On the Confirmation section, click Install. Note if the server does not have the required source files for all above features, it may need to obtain them from Windows Update, so access to the internet or a Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server may be required.

Windows 11 Professional

1. Start → Search for “Turn Windows Features On or Off”

2. Select all the options noted above for Windows Server, starting from step 3.  Two things to note:

a. The Web Server (IIS) feature is listed as Internet Information Services.

b. Where .NET 4.7 is indicated, use .NET 4.8 instead.

Database Server (Microsoft SQL Server)

Aras Innovator uses a Microsoft SQL Server backend for its database. Below are the features and configuration options to include during SQL installation. This list applies to standard, development, and express editions of SQL Server. Screenshots were taken from SQL Server 2022 Express. You can download SQL Server Express 2022 from here.

1.Once the installer is downloaded, execute, and select “Custom”.

2.  Specify the target location.

3.  Select the New SQL Server standalone installation.

4.  Accept the license terms.

5.  Uncheck the checkbox for Azure Extension for SQL Server.

6.  Under Feature Selection make sure the following is checked.

  1. Database Engine Services – the core install required for SQL to work.

 

7.  For Instance Configuration:  choose “Named instance” and specify a name for the instance. It’s best to use a name that distinguishes this server instance in some way, such as”SQLSERVER2022″. Avoid specifying Aras or Innovator, as a database instance can hold many databases, and may end up being used for other applications. When entering an            instance name, the Instance ID will change to match.

 

8. For Server Configuration:

a. SQL Server Agent – Set to automatic if you plan to create automated SQL jobs, otherwise you can leave it as Manual. Note: this option is not available for SQL Express.

b. SQL Server Browser – Set to automatic if you plan to make connections to the database instance from another computer on the network via the SQL Browser interface (e.g. via SQL Server Management Studio).

c. If you plan to use neither of the above, just leave defaults.

9. For Database Engine Configuration:

a. Specify an Authentication Mode of “Mixed Mode”, and enter a password, which will apply to the default “sa” or system administrator account. Take note of this password for use during installation of Innovator itself. Note: This mode is required. Innovator installation creates some database users that use SQL Server authentication.

b. Click Add Current User to add the currently logged in user as an additional administrator, if it’s not there already.

 

Reporting Services 

In earlier versions of SQL Server Reporting services were included in the installer. In both SQL Server 2019 and 2022, it needs to be installed separately.

If you have installed SQL Server 2022 you can download SQL Server Reporting Services 2022 from here.

If you have installed SQL Server 2019 you can download SQL Server Reporting Services 2019 from here.

In both cases, Aras provides very good documentation on how to configure Reporting Services for the version of Innovator that has been installed. Subscribers can access the necessary documentation from the Subscriber Portal or in the package supplied by Aras. For non-subscribers who have installed SQL Server 2019 and Innovator 23, the Reporting Services guide can be accessed here.

File Server

The File Server will be used to hold the Vault, where user-uploaded files will be stored. There is no configuration required for this since we plan to use the same machine for both the installation and file storage.

Installing Aras Innovator

If you are an Aras subscriber, the installation guide for Innovator 28 can be found in the Documentation folder within the CD Image folder containing the Innovator installation files. If you downloaded Innovator from the Aras website, you can find the installation guide for Innovator 23 here. It provides all the necessary steps for installation so they will not be repeated here. However, there is one requirement outlined in the installation guide that is easy to miss. Both Innovator 23 and 28 require an additional ASP.NET Core Runtime that needs to be installed before proceeding with installation of Innovator. If you do not install the Hosting Bundle, you will see a generic OAUTH error at login which can be quite challenging to diagnose.

  1. Be sure you are logged in as a user with Admin privileges. Not doing so will cause permission issues in the code tree or failure to install.
  2. Make sure the computer has access to the internet. This makes requesting a license during installation much easier.
  3. Open a browser and navigate to here
  4. Download and install the 6.0.6 Hosting Bundle (the link in the green box in the below screenshot).

.

5. Begin the installation of Innovator by running or double-clicking the InnovatorSetup.msi

6. Licensing:

a. Subscribers should have received a License Key directly from ARAS or your Partner. If you have not yet received a License Key, reach out to either Aras Support or your Partner.

b. Non-Subscribers can “Request” a License Key directly from Aras via the Dialog Box below

7. Destination Folder:  Generally, it’s fine to use the default folder. If you decide to change it, avoid using a folder name that includes the version or service pack numbers if you intend to be performing in-place upgrades in the future.

8. Setup Type: Choose Custom Setup and leave the default selections (as shown below).

9. Custom Setup: Choose Custom Setup and leave the default selections (as shown below).  The Conversion Server and Agent Service can be installed later if needed.

Note: If the Conversion Server and Agent Service are installed, ensure only one instance of Innovator is installed on the machine. If there are multiple instances, the Agent and Conversion Server will not work correctly.

 

10. License Configuration: Add the License Key supplied by either Aras or your Partner.

 

11. Web Alias:  This will make up part of the URL used to access Innovator. The default is InnovatorServer.

 

12. SMTP Server:  If you are installing Innovator for evaluative purposes, leave this setting as “queue”.

 

13. OAuth Server:  Enter a password to be used for OAuth certificates (any will do).

Note:  Explanation of OAuth is outside the scope of this article.

 

14. Vault Server:  If you are installing Innovator for evaluative purposes, leave the Default settings.

 

15. Configure Database:

a. Database Server: Click the dropdown and choose the SQL instance you installed earlier. The default value in this field is “(local)”, but that is not enough if    you created a named instance during the SQL install. If your SQL instance is not displayed in the dropdown, then it will have to be typed in. In this example,    type SQLServer2022.

b. DBA Login Options: When creating a new database, choose “Server Authentication using the Login ID and password below”, then enter sa for the Login ID and the password you created for the “sa” account during SQL installation.

c. Database Login Options: The passwords for the “innovator” and “innovator_regular” database users are specified here. Note that some Windows Server configurations enforce a password complexity policy. In this case, when you attempt to configure the database, you will receive an error to this effect.

d. Database Name: Default database name is generally ok. If you choose to rename, remember not to use version or service pack numbers if in-place upgrades in the future are possible.

 

16. After the form is filled out, select the Configure database button. The button will gray out and the installer will make the connection to SQL server and create the database. The Next button will enable when the process is complete. Select Next when it is enabled.

17. After installation, navigate to http://localhost/[Web_Alias], so in our case http://localhost/InnovatorServer (see step 5 above). The first time you visit this site, the login window may be blocked as a popup. If the login window doesn’t appear, check the address bar and allow the popup. Below is a screenshot from Google Chrome:

 

18.   The administrative username and password are admin and innovator, respectively.

Troubleshooting

Occasionally, you may get the following when trying to log into Innovator.

This is a result of the server IP address, hostname, or fully qualified domain name changing from what was defined during the installation. The fix is quite simple and requires an update to the OAuth.config file, and a restart of IIS. Navigating to the folder where Innovator was installed and opening the following OAuthServer folder you will see the config file.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Aras\Innovator\OAuthServer

Opening the config with a text editor such as Notepad++ you will need to update the lines highlighted in red, or add additional lines with the same pattern for the updated IP address, hostname, or fully qualified domain name.

Final Points

There are a few good places to find additional information that may be helpful for installation prep:

  1. Videos – There are several videos on YouTube that specifically discuss installation, so watch through a few of them before installing yourself.
  2. Aras documentation – Read through any applicable documents found in the Documentation folder where the installation guide was located, or on the documentation page on the Aras website. Don’t forget the Release Notes; they contain valuable information about known issues.
  3. Aras Forums – The Aras website provides forums for different topics related to Innovator. One of them, the Getting Started Forum, can be a good place to look for solutions to problems that might arise during installation.

Hopefully this article helps yield a smooth and easy installation for Aras Innovator. If you still find yourself running into questions or issues, our experienced Aras team at Razorleaf is ready to help you through the process, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Good luck, and happy PLM-ing!

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