Windows Firewall Settings for BS&A Applications in Windows 7

BS&A Software’s .NET applications utilize a feature of the Microsoft Windows Operating System called Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC). MSDTC is used by the .NET applications to ensure that transactions between shared databases are fully committed. Should the transaction fail at any point, MSDTC will roll the entire process back to the state the database was in before the transaction was attempted.

For example, if a user was attempting to insert a batch of 100 checks from Tax .NET into Cash Receipting .NET and the transaction failed partway through, without MSDTC the user would have to manually comb through the Cash Receipting database to determine where the transaction failed.

In order for MSDTC to function correctly, it needs to be able to communicate between computers on the network without interruption from built-in security features such as Windows Firewall. Microsoft Windows 7 default settings do not allow MSDTC to transmit through Windows Firewall. These settings are normally configured by BS&A technicians at the time of software installation. Following are some images showing how to configure Windows Firewall to allow MSDTC transactions to occur in Windows 7. If you would like assistance making these changes, or changes to a different Windows Operating System, please contact BS&A I.T. support at either (855) 272-7638 or tech@bsasoftware.com.

First, navigate to Windows Control Panel and choose Allow a program through Windows Firewall:
http://bsasoftware.com/Portals/0/Blog%20Docs/20140315_BSA_WindowsFirewallSettings_Image1.png

In the Windows Firewall>Allowed Programs screen, make sure the boxes circled in the image below are checked:
http://bsasoftware.com/Portals/0/Blog%20Docs/20140315_BSA_WindowsFirewallSettings_Image2.png

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BS&A Administration Tool

BS&A Software provides an Administration Tool, free of charge to current BS&A .NET customers. It is designed to be used by I.T. personnel for the administration of an SQL server supporting BS&A’s .NET applications.

Key features:

• Utilities to move BS&A .NET data between different SQL instances and different SQL versions (server migrations).

• Add/edit/maintain users from any BS&A .NET application from one centralized screen. You no longer need to log into specific applications in order to set security settings.

• Manage each user’s security rights from any BS&A .NET application.

• Define user password requirements.

• Utilities to detect who is currently logged into any BS&A .NET application and either send them messages, or log them out remotely.

• Set up and maintain Active Directory interface features, including importing users and using auto-login.

• Download all BS&A .NET updates from our site, giving you control over when updates are distributed. This is useful when you want to remove the ability of individual users to randomly run updates. Through this tool, users are automatically prompted to run the update as they log into the application.

• Set a specific active database for users of each BS&A .NET application.

• Mass update the common folders of all BS&A .NET applications. This is particularly useful when migrating servers.

• Set up and configure MSDTC (Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator).

• Shrink various application databases and set the appropriate recovery mode. The Admin tool can also assist you with database maintenance procedures.

• Add rules to Windows Firewall for all BS&A .NET applications.

The Admin Tool can be extremely useful for administrators maintaining larger units. If you are interested in a demonstration, click the following link to view a video:
http://bsasoftware.com/Technology/Administration-Application/Admin-App-Live-Demo

If you are interested in acquiring the Admin Tool, or receiving assistance with it, please contact our I.T./Tech Support department at tech@bsasoftware.com or (855)-272-7638.

Patrick McLamara

BS&A and Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC)

Microsoft defines MSDTC as the following:

“The Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator service (MSDTC) coordinates transactions, regardless of failures that may occur during the process, so that the work is committed as a single transaction even if the work spans multiple resource managers on multiple computers.

MSDTC is a Windows service. By default, the service is configured as a manual service rather than as an automatic service. However, most applications demand-start the service as needed. If necessary, the administrator can start or stop the service with the Services administrative tool.”

What does this mean in regards to BS&A’s applications?

The functionality of MSDTC is essential in situations where an application needs to perform transactions to a database of another application (e.g. when the Assessing .NET application is communicating with the Tax .NET application or when Tax .NET communicates with the TaxHistory database). In simple terms, MSDTC coordinates transactions across multiple databases.

What are common reasons why MSDTC would function improperly?

The most common issues that MSDTC encounters is being blocked by the firewall, not being configured in DCOMCNFG.EXE, not running as a service, not being installed, and not running and/or being configured on the server. It is also important to note that MSDTC can have complications in cross-domain setups.

Proper firewall allowance:

 

Proper DCOMCNFG.EXE configuration:

 

Verifying that MSDTC service is running in Services.msc:

 

Verifying that MSDTC is installed:

If the Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) options are missing from the previously mentioned components, then it is possible that MSDTC is not installed. MSDTC can be installed from the command prompt as follows:

Reference: MSDTC. (2008, February 22). In Microsoft.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013, from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc774450(v=ws.10).aspx

Brian Kobliska

Why I Love Working for BS&A

From the first 30 minutes of my interview at BS&A, I knew that I would love working with this company. I remember listening to the goals and motives behind BS&A in that interview, and just thinking that this was finally a company I could really connect with. A company that was just as dedicated to performance as I was, if not more.

Over the past year, I have gained an immeasurable amount of knowledge in regards to customer relations, in addition to, technical prowess. I am consistently challenged to expand my skillsets and push my practical limitations. As a result, I have become far more self-motivated then I ever even thought possible. Our management at BS&A does nothing but encourage all employees to succeed in their strengths. They have no issues in attempting to find the perfect role to suit each employee’s skill sets.

I cannot speak more highly of the environment that those that have come before me have worked so hard to create here at BS&A. Each individual that works here is simply cut from a different cloth. We are truly a family to both each other, as well as to our growing customer base. Each day I come into work, I take pride in that fact.

Josh Katona