You can install iDempiere quickly and easily using this iDempiere installation script. However, I recommend you read this article first. The purpose of this article is to (1) make the installation and hosting of iDempiere easier for you and your team, and (2) answer question about best practices.
I believe it is best to install iDempiere and ADempiere inside a virtual server. I do not recommend installing them directly on your physical machine. Virtualization tools like AWS, VirtualBox, and VMWare give you many options for hosting ADempiere or iDempiere servers in the cloud and in your local LAN.
Here are the reasons why you want to virtualize ADempiere and iDempiere:
- If you make a mistake during the installation process, you simply kill the virtual server and start over. This process will cost you only minutes.
- You can periodically create snapshots or copies of your server just in case something goes wrong. If you are going to try something dangerous while evaluating open source ERP, you firstly make a snapshot; you secondly try your dangerous experiment or configuration. If the change does not go well, you simply restore from your snapshot.
- You can run multiple servers from the same hardware. If you have a team of people learning or implementing iDempiere or ADempiere, you can run multiple iDempiere copies simultaneously.
- You can share snapshots. I can create an iDempiere or ADempiere development environment. Materialize the code. Get the application running inside the development environment. Create a snapshot of the development environment. Share the snapshot with developers around the world. All with minimal effort.
- In the case of VirtualBox, it is free. You can use your existing hardware to get the above benefits with no additional costs.
- As you get closer to go-live, you will need multiple environments to support your audit efforts. Auditing the system ensure that your people and the system execute scenarios accurately.
You have a number of options for virtualizing open source ERP. Some options are easy and free. Others carry a price tag in terms of money and/or learning curve.
- AWS (Amazon Web Services) – AWS makes hosting iDempiere and ADempiere in the cloud amazingly easy and stable. The learning curve is relatively small, and the benefits are big. If you are not familiar with AWS, the following will help. AWS is a computing platform. You can spin up a server in minutes. If you are done with it you can destroy it. You only pay for what you use. You can easily back up your data or the entire machine is seconds. People from around the world can easily access the server is you give them access. AWS is my favorite ADempiere and iDempiere open source ERP hosting platform.
- VirtualBox – VirtualBox brings many of the AWS features to your local machine. VirtualBox installs on a Windows or Linux machine. Once you install VirtualBox, you can create as many iDempiere or ADempiere servers as you wish on a single physical machine. Just make sure the machine has enough RAM, hard drive, and CPU power.
- VMWare Workstation – VMWare Workstation is a paid version of VirtualBox. I have not found a good reason to pay for VMWare Workstation when VirtualBox is free, stable and easy to use.
- VMWare ESXi or vSphere – ESXi is a free version of ESX or vSphere. If you are serious about hosting iDempiere or ADempiere inside your LAN, ESXi is an amazing product for this task. ESXi becomes your physical server’s operating system. It is much faster and efficient than VirtualBox because the virtual servers run almost directly on the physical hardware. In other words, there are not as many layers in between the virtual servers and the physical hardware. Do not attempt to use ESXi unless you are a seasoned IT professional. The learning curve is somewhat high.
Windows vs Linux
There are few reasons to host iDempiere or ADempiere on Windows. Window is more expensive. It uses more memory. The single biggest reason people want to host using windows is familiarity.
I do as much as I can to help people become familiar with Linux. Doing so helps drive down the cost of ERP ownership. I believe my greatest contribution is the iDempiere installation script. Once you have Linux installed, you can use this script to install iDempiere with a couple of clicks. A couple of minutes later, iDempiere magically appears. Another benefit of the installer script is that it illustrates how to install iDempiere in a easy-to-read, well-documented manner.
I also maintain a page that discusses the Linux commands and tools that every ERP Admin should know.
iDempiere Evaluation Using VirtualBox
Let’s use an example to illustrate what we have discussed thus far. Let’s assume:
- I bought a reasonably modern Dell Laptop with an i5 64-bit processor and 8GB of memory. It came installed with Windows 7.
- I decide I want to install iDempiere so that I and my team can evaluate open source ERP for our organization.
- Install VirtualBox on my laptop.
- I download Ubuntu Linux 14.04LTS server installation file. (Note: the server version will use less resources that the desktop version. You can always install a desktop inside the server later if needed.)
- I install Ubuntu as a virtual machine in VirtualBox. (example)
- I execute the iDempiere installation script.
- I start playing with iDempiere a couple of minutes later. I point my colleagues to my new server. They start testing as well.
- The next morning, my colleagues complain that I leave a 5PM and that I brought iDempiere home with me on my laptop.
- To appease my team, I install VirtualBox on one of the team’s server. I create a snapshot of my iDempiere installation, and I simply move a copy of the snapshot to the team’s server (inside VirtualBox).
- A couple of days later, one of the team members comes to me to install the Libero Manufacturing MRP module. We have not done this before; therefore, I make a snapshot of the iDempiere installation, and a fire up a new installation from the snapshot. This copy helps ensure the primary iDempiere server is not brought down during the Libero MRP installation and testing.
- We are now running three copies of iDempiere in total. One on my laptop. Two on the team’s server.
- Conclusion: you have more options when you install iDempiere and ADempiere in a virtualized environment. A similar scenario could be discussed using AWS.
What version of Linux
I recommend you use the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 14.04LTS Server. Ubuntu will scale from one iDempiere user to as large of an installation as you can imagine (well – what most people can imagine). I created the installation script for this server version.
Please be aware that my installation script is designed for 64-bit only. If you need to use the 32-bit version of Ubuntu, you will need to modify the script to download the 32-bit version of iDempiere.
Virtual Hardware Requirements
For one iDempiere user, your virtual machine needs about 900MB RAM and 1 CPU core. ADempiere needs a little more RAM (1.5GB RAM) to support one user.
If you have an iDempiere evaluation team of 5, your virtual machine needs about 2GB to 3GB of RAM and 2 CPU cores. ADempiere would benefit from about 4GB of RAM.
When you deploy iDempiere or ADempiere to production, you will install the database server on one virtual machine and the application server on another; however, that is a discussion for another day.
VirtualBox Installation and Configuration
You can use the default VirtualBox installation options. If your physical machine runs Windows, you can download VirtualBox from here. If your physical machine runs Ubuntu, you can simply type “sudo apt-get install virtualbox” from a command prompt. Ubuntu will handle all the details for you.
When you create your first virtual machine, you will want to ensure the following settings:
- Type: Linux
- Version: Ubuntu (64 bit) – if you are using the 64-bit version of Ubuntu
Note: this next paragraph applies if your machine is physically connected to the network – not all wireless adapters support “bridged Adapter”. Mine does not.
After your machine is created and before you install Ubuntu, right-click on your virtual machine and choose settings. Under the Network options, set the “Attached to:” field to “Bridged Adapter”. This setting allows all machines on your local network to see your server. Said another way, this setting adds the server to the network just like any other machine. If you leave the “Attached to:” field at its default value of “NAT”, the server would exist in a little bubble that no one can connect to.
Here is a good video to help guide you through the Ubuntu Server installation.
During the Ubuntu Server installation, set the username to “ubuntu”. Doing so will allow the iDempiere installation script to execute as is. If you choose a different username, you will need to use the installation script “-u” option to specify your username.
Here is a list of Linux commands and tools to support your new server. Included in this list is “ifconfig”, the command to tell you the IP address given to your new server. You will need this to connect to http://YourServerIP:8080/webui.
One annoying aspect of VirtualBox’s terminal is that you cannot copy/paste via the VirtualBox terminal. To get around this issue, you can connect to your new Ubuntu server via alternate methods. Putty is a tool for windows. Mac’s can connect without any additional software. This page offers additional information that might be useful.
This information should help you get started with your iDempiere or ADempiere evaluation. I hope this helps!!!!
Let me know if you have questions or comments.
What is the best way to Learn iDempiere and ADempiere?
I teach an on-line class that covers how to learn, configure and audit open source ERP. It uses iDempiere as the reference ERP. Here are the course frequently asked questions. I have learned much over the last ten years, and I have much to share. I look forward to seeing you there!!
Why consider Open Source ERP
Open source ERP gives you every opportunity to prove or disprove its ability to support your company’s ERP needs on a timeline that satisfies your organizational needs. With open source ERP, you do not face the same financial constraints nor do you face the same conflicts of interest as with commercial ERP. Instead, you invest in the appropriate skills and knowledge for your people and processes. Best of all – if open source ERP cannot solve your company’s needs, you can safely justify spending the additional $2K to $5K per person per year for life of your commercial ERP to help drive your organization’s success.
Open Source ERP Round Rug Effect
Open Source ERP has what I call a “Round Rug Effect”. If you were to liken the ERP evaluation process to a 10′ x 10′ room, the story would go something like this:
- Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft are a 10′ x 10′ ERP rug in a ten by ten foot room. They cover the room nicely. You will be hard pressed to find a feature or a use case that they do not cover.
- Open Source ERP is like a 10′ round rug in a ten by ten foot room. It will cover the vast majority of the room; however, it will leave the corners bare. The questions are: “Do you live and operate in the corners?” or “Is open source ERP good enough?”. For most, the answers are “sometimes” and “yes”.
If you are in the ERP evaluation mode, you should ask yourself “Should I include open source ERP in my evaluation process?” If you are less than $300M USD revenue, your answer should probably be yes! This answer comes from these concepts:
- Pillars of Cost – Since open source ERP is free, that means that all the cost of proprietary ERP should be allocated to the corners. If you use height to illustrate this allocated cost, the corners turn into tall pillers of cost.
- Cost of Innovation – At first look, the price tag of free open source ERP is the most appealing benefit; however, this benefit soon becomes overshadowed by the flexibility of open source ERP. If organizational leaders take just some of the cost that would otherwise be spent on Oracle or SAP, and they invest it back into the organization’s skills and knowledge of how ERP works, operational efficiency will never look the same again. If you know how to change the system for the better, and you know it will work. Why would you not?
- Monday to Monday Cycle – Business leaders drive innovation in a company. This innovation is no more apparent than in the traditional Monday morning business meeting where a CEO comes in and paints a picture of the next greatest thing. His or her next comments are “Will it work?” and “Make it happen!”. Open source ERP helps your business and IT teams say yes more often. You are no longer completely dependent on a high-priced Oracle Integrators. You are no longer dependent on spending 18% every year to Oracle for software that you have little control over. Your team applies its knowledge of the system and the knowledge of its world-wide resources to create a proof of concept that paints the real picture the following Monday.
- Right Pay Grade – Open source ERP puts the right tools in the right person’s hands at the right pay-grade. there is little more wasteful that paying a $150/hr integrator for something a Jr IT professional should be doing. Open Source ERP removes the artificial barriers that exist in proprietary ERP.
- ERP for Everyone – User licenses/seats are no longer a consideration. This point cannot be stated strongly enough. At first look, you might think this point is about saving money. It is much more than that. You now have the freedom and flexibility of allowing everyone in your company to interact the system that drives your operations. You simply assign the right roles to the right people to give them access to the appropriate information.
ADempiere vs iDempiere vs Openbravo vs Compiere
The ADempiere, iDempiere, Openbravo and Compiere environments are amazingly similar. iDempiere came from ADempiere. ADempiere and Openbravo came from Compiere. Compiere came from Jorg Janke. Jorg came from Oracle. As a result, iDempiere and ADempiere have much in common with Oracle’s ERP in terms of the financial feature set.
This is both good and bad. Good because iDempiere and ADempiere are quite capable to help a company grow beyond $500M USD. Bad because they tend to be more complex in that they account for multiple languages, accounting schemas, currencies, calendars, costing types, costing methods, etc…. If you are a growing organization, and you need a system that will grow with you, and you have the right internal talent/resources, iDempiere or ADempiere will be a big asset for you.
The biggest difference between these products is that ADempiere and iDempiere are pure open source. ADempiere and iDempiere make all feature available for free. Compiere and Openbravo hold back features behind a commercial or paid license.
Here is an article that discusses the differences between iDempiere and ADempiere.
iDempiere and ADempiere vs OpenERP
iDempiere/ADempiere (iD/AD) and OpenERP approach ERP from two very different directions. OpenERP comes out of the box with very simple options. If you are coming from QuickBooks, and you need a simple ERP system help you manage your business, OpenERP will look and feel comfortable.
iD/AD comes out of the box with every feature installed and configured to run a $200M+ USD business. If your business is growing rapidly, and you are willing to invest the time to learn an enterprise accounting system, then iD/AD will give you confidence.
Which one is best for you depends on your internal talent, growth and business complexity. Here is a post to help you learn more.
About Chuck Boecking: I am an ERP educator. I believe that open source ERP have achieved mainstream capabilities, and as a result, more companies can create greater efficiency across their organization. I started using the iDempiere code base in 2003. Back then, it was called Compiere. In 2006, I started my first multi-million dollar installation. Since then, ADempiere has helped me create great success with distribution and manufacturing companies all over the world. My vision of success is to find companies that can best use open source ERP to help them achieve a single, global instance that drives a discontinuous increase in profitability. I believe that organizations win when they own their technology.
If you have questions, comments or concerns, let me know. I definitely want your feedback.
You can contact me by phone using 512.850.6068.
My email is email@example.com.
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Thank you for taking the time. I look forward to speaking with you.