Transana Multiuser Setup Instructions

 

This set of pages describes setup for the latest release of Transana. The process is similar, but not identical, for earlier versions.

Upgrading from an earlier version of the Message Server?

See the instead. This guide is aimed at first time installation.

Overview

Real-time collaboration and data sharing for Transana Multiuser requires a shared server. There are two options.

One alternative is to use the . The Transana Cloud Service provides remote server capability for projects who subscribe to the service. This service provides a secure, cost-effective way to avoid the complexity and expense of setting up and maintaining your own server.

The other alternative is to set up your own server. Basic Transana Multiuser server setup if fairly straight-forward, well within the grasp of most IT departments. Adding security to the server adds a bit of complexity, but is still quite manageable.

Here’s an illustration of the components of a typical Transana-MU setup, and how they relate to one another:

Transana Multiuser Diagram

To share Transana data, the first thing a project needs to do is to set up a centralized server that is accessible to everyone in the project via your network or the Internet. This server runs MySQL and the Transana Message Server. In addition, you can use an sFTP (secure File Transfer Protocol) server to manage video and audio data sharing, but this is optional.

  • MySQL is a database server program. This is where all the Transana data (also referred to as analytic data or metadata) is stored. It’s all of your data except your image and media files.
  • The Transana Message Server facilitates communication among all running copies of Transana-MU that are connected to the same database. This allows each user to see what other users are doing.
  • The secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP) Server is a system that facilitates the secure online distribution of confidential or human-subjects-restricted data files via the Internet. This piece of server software is optional, because many projects don’t involve distant collaborators or have other means of sharing their media files such as Box or DropBox. However, sFTP is integrated into Transana’s File Management Tool for those projects that want to use secure file transfer to maintain their media libraries.

Video data is too large to stream effectively for Transana’s purposes, particularly because of all the seeking and positioning within video files that Transana does. But because video files are large, it is inefficient for each individual user to have to have a copy of all of the video files.

Therefore, sites with multiple researchers on the same network will want to set up network media storage that can be shared by the research team. Each separate network needs one copy of all of the videos, even when they are sharing analytic data. The media library needs to appear “local” to each computer (through a Mapped Network Drive on Windows or “Connect to Server” on OS X. VPN to a remote server may or may not be too slow to work, depending on your data transfer speeds.)

Finally, each computer that will access the project data must have a copy of the Transana Multiuser program. The computer must be configured to connect to the centralized MySQL database, the centralized Transana Message Server, and the local video storage system. Researchers can transfer video data from the central sFTP Server to the local video storage system as needed using Transana’s File Management tool.

NOTE: Many Internet Service Providers do not allow customers to run servers from private residences. While university and business users of Transana are unlikely to run into difficulty, private users who wish to be able to access data on their home computer from outside the home should check with their Internet Service Provider to see if this is permitted before taking the time to set up a Transana-MU server.

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