Basic structure of COMSOL Server
A COMSOL Server setup consists of a Client through which the user can access and run the applications, a primary server in which the client access is handled, and application servers where the applications and hence the computations are run.
The clients are run by the COMSOL Server users, either through a web client hosted by COMSOL Servers primary server, or through the freely available COMSOL Client which provides a desktop application able to connect to the COMSOL Server installation.
The primary server hosts the COMSOL Server web service, handles the user database, and takes care of the connections to the application servers. The application servers handles the execution of the COMSOL applications and therefore also the underlying computations. The applications can run either on the primary server or on any of the secondary servers available. For this purpose the primary server includes a workload manager that makes sure that the workload is distributed evenly between the available computers.
Considerations when using single server mode
When running COMSOL Server in single server mode, i.e. without using secondary servers to spread the workload on multiple machines, no considerations are needed with regards to open ports and shared directories. The communication between the different parts of the COMSOL Server is performed internally. This means that no network access is needed when sending data between the COMSOL Server and the Application Server.
Therefore, you as an administrator only need to make sure that the COMSOL Server service port is accessible for the users. The default service port is 2036. This port number can be adjusted, if port 2036 already is occupied by another service. It is also possible to control the service port used with the command line option -serviceport XXXX, where XXXX is the wanted port number. When the COMSOL Server users have been granted access to the service port, they can access the COMSOL Server installation in two ways.
The user can access the COMSOL Server via a web browser, by navigating to the IP-address or hostname of the COMSOL Server, followed by the appendix “:XXXX”, where XXXX is the service port used. Example: 192.168.0.100:2036 or comsolserver:2036.
Alternatively, if using a Microsoft Windows workstation the user can access the COMSOL Server installation using the COMSOL Client, available for download at https://www.comsol.com/product-download.
Considerations when using primary/secondary server mode
When running COMSOL Server in primary/secondary server mode, it is possible to run application servers on computers other than the primary server. To guarantee that communication is error free, we recommended to set up all servers, primary and secondary, with an unrestricted internal network. COMSOL will start application servers on both the primary and secondary servers on port numbers higher or equal to that of the specified service port. The service port can be specified with the command line option -serviceport XXXX.
It is recommended to restrict access for the COMSOL Server so that users only have access to the service port of the primary server. On this port the COMSOL Server can be accessed in two ways:
- The user can access the COMSOL Server via a web browser, by navigating to the IP-address or hostname of the primary COMSOL Server, followed by the appendix “:XXXX”, where XXXX is the service port used. Example: 192.168.0.100:2036 or dedicatedcomsolserver:2036.
- Alternatively, if using a Microsoft Windows workstation, the user can access the COMSOL Server installation using the COMSOL Client, available for download at https://www.comsol.com/product-download, and accessing the COMSOL Server installation by specifying either the IP-address or the hostname of the primary COMSOL Server.
In order for the secondary servers to access applications uploaded to the COMSOL Server installation, it is necessary to provide all servers with a shared storage. On Linux machines, such a shared storage can be set up with an NFS share. On Windows machines, a shared folder can be used.
Configure availability for users on internal network
To enable users on an internal network to access the COMSOL Server installation you need to grant them access to the service port of the primary server. Through this service port they will be able to access the COMSOL Server and the applications hosted on the COMSOL Server, either through the web interface or through the COMSOL Client.
If you are using both primary and secondary servers, it is recommended to restrict access to the secondary servers for all users to keep the internal network of the COMSOL Server inaccessible for everyone except the administrator. This increases both security and reliability, since it prohibits users from using the secondary servers for other purposes than COMSOL Server.
Configure availability for users on external network
In order to enable users to access your COMSOL Server installation from an external network, you need to configure your firewall to allow network traffic on the port on which you want your end users to reach your COMSOL Server. You also need to route the traffic to the address and service port of your COMSOL Server.
In order to increase security, you might want to put the COMSOL Server and any secondary servers inside a demilitarized zone, or DMZ, whenever you want to expose your COMSOL Server installation to external users. This would mean to separate the network in which your COMSOL Server is running from the network used for your internal services.
Assigning COMSOL Server a static IP address: where to start
In most cases the assignment of IP addresses are handled by a DHCP-Server. Where this DHCP-Server is located is dependent on your network infrastructure. The key words to look for are “Manual allocation” or “Static allocation”. Refer to the documentation of your DHCP server for instructions on how to do this.
Assigning COMSOL Server a dedicated hostname: where to start
It might be practical to make the COMSOL Server installation reachable through a host name e.g. my-comsolserver from all of the computers in your network. To do this, you need to configure your DNS server. Refer to the documentation of your DNS server for instructions on how to do this.
Obtaining a static external IP address: where to start
Assigning a static external IP address is normally done by your internet service provider, or ISP. Your ISP should be able to help you to perform this task.
Create an address reachable for external users: where to start
In order to get a dedicated address reachable for external users, separate from your standard web address, you need to contact a domain registration service. If you want to have a sub-address to your standard web address, you need to contact the domain registration service at which you have registered this address.
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