Common Questions: Arbortext Content Manager

Arbortext Content Manager is a component content management system that is part of the Windchill family

This week’s topic: Arbortext Content Manager

Today, we’re answering some of the more common and general questions about Arbortext Content Manager (ACM).

When it comes to DITA, the need for component content management comes sooner rather than later. It’s very easy to get hundreds and thousands of topics very quickly. If you want to take advantage of reuse, you’ve got to have a strategy for finding content and a component content management system to support finding, managing, and maintaining content that can be reused and assembled into your output deliverables.  

Arbortext Content Manager is a component content management system that is part of the Windchill family. There are two flavors: Arbortext PDMLink and Arbortext Content Manager. Generally, when we talk about ACM, we’re talking about “Arbortext Content Manager”. This version has all the overhead required by CAD projects and applications required by manufacturing companies stripped out. ACM supports technical publications groups very effectively.

Arbortext PDMLink is the full Windchill platform and includes some of the more interesting applications that an organization wants when you’re managing content from an organizational, content strategy, perspective.  Things like Options and Variants blur the line between content, content management, and stylesheets, to spread out the heavy lifting.

Both include reporting and workflow capability.

Today, we’re picking out some of the little details that IT departments want to know about when you start talking to them about ACM, in either flavor. We’ve included a lot of talk about ACM in this series. If you’re curious about the interaction with other Arbortext products or in a particular aspect of ACM, you might want to check out the other articles in this series.

As always, if you have a question that we haven’t answered or if you want more details, remember to send us your questions or add them to the comments!

Question: WebDAV

Can you use a WebDAV interface with ACM?

Answer:

Yes, but this is not recommended. Best practices would recommend that everyone check in and check out content rather than modifying it outside the source control functionality of ACM.

Question: Permissions

Can you vary the level of content in ACM that different users at different steps can see and act on?

Answer:

Yes

Question: Content-CMS Interaction

Does the ACM require specific tags or attributes, in the document source, for its own purpose?

Answer:

No

Question: Content-Interaction

When extracting an XML file from the ACM, does ACM add any tags that a writer originally didn’t write?

Answer:

No

Question: CLI

Does ACM have a command line interface?

Answer:

Yes

Question: VPN

Does ACM support remote users who require VPN access?

Answer:

Yes

Question: Benchmark

What is the benchmark for supporting 100 concurrent users?

Answer:

Since the CCMS is a server based product the hardware requirements vary depending on load, other applications utilizing the service and required response time or throughput as designated by your IT department.

Processing power/memory needed for configurations is largely based upon the usage.

For example:

  • How large are the docs you will be publishing?
  • How often do you publish?
  • How much of the content is graphics? Is the publishing done daily/weekly/quarterly?
  • Is there a redundancy/high availability need?

There are many customers that have well over 100 concurrent users.

Question: LDAP

Does ACM support more than 1 service directory on a LDAP server? In other words, can ACM have to check more than one LDAP server for authentication.

Answer:

Is the LDAP server the same type or is it a different LDAP application?

LDAP can integrate with ACM, but it can be tricky. The fact is that yes it can, but you will have to change how you group folks and how you manage folks in LDAP in order for it to work.  Windchill is very particular about how it will and will not work with LDAP systems.

It is easier if ACM has it’s own LDAP, but it can integrate with all other LDAP protocol systems like Active Directory.

The lightest integration is to map user account details in Corporate LDAP to ACM LDAP (ACM would have it’s own LDAP). Corporate LDAP would also need a new group (i.e., ACM users group) which has people who need access to ACM (i.e., who are members of that group).

Question: Architecture

  • Where exactly is the content stored?
  • Where is the metadata stored?
  • Where are the formatting tags stored?

Answer:

Content can be on the file system with the metadata stored in the tablespace or you can store content as blobs in the database

Formatting tags are stored in the stylesheet.

Question: Replication, backup and recovery

Tell me about…Procedures and configuration of ACM for replication and Back-up/recovery.

Answer:

This is handled outside of Windchill. Windchill has some logging capabilities and the database used will have some redundancy / recovery settings, but the Back Up and Recovery strategies will have to be of your IT department’s conception and design. Whether they use Hot Swap backups or system restore from Tape or something else, they just need to understand that when the system is down then they are going to be severely limited in what they can do.

That said, there are 4 things that need to be backed up on master server:

  1. Application Files (includes Apache,Tomcat and ACM itself)
  2. Database Dump (also IT usually backs up the database storage files and database application files too but for us as consultants is enough to have database dump file to recover the system)
  3. File vault – folders on Hard Drive where ACM documents will go for storage
  4. Exported ACM LDAP

On replica server, it is the same except database. Replica servers do not have the database installed.

Items listed above assume that this is “cold” backup, i.e., the system is down for backup, which is the preferred way.

Hot Backup is available and there is guidance from PTC. However, to do this, very serious IT involvement will be required and PTC as well.

For cold backup, you need a 1-2hr window when no one uses the system

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Author: Liz Fraley

Liz Fraley has founded two companies, sits on the boards of three non-profits, and is constantly coming up with new ways to share knowledge in the technical communications and content industries. https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethfraley/