Testing Aqua Connect Terminal Server

I recently was asked by a small business to troubleshoot the installation of MYOB AccountEdge 2009 Network Edition hosted on an Xserve running Mac OS X 10.5.8. While multiple users could log into the program from their respective workstations, performance was excruciatingly slow and considered unacceptable for daily use.

An MYOB consultant whom I spoke with over the phone suggested that I take a look at a third-party utility called Aqua Connect Terminal Server that is designed to facilitate and enhance resource sharing on an Mac OS X Server.

I registered for a two-trial free trial license of Aqua Connect and downloaded a copy of the installer. However, when I attempted to install the program, I ran into problems.

First, the administrative tools included in the Snow Leopard version of Aqua Connect don’t match what is shown in the user guide. The reason for this is because the written documentation is intended for licensed users of Terminal Server 2007. The older guide states that the installer will add an Aqua Connect icon in System Preferences that will be used to administer the application. What actually happens, however, is that the Snow Leopard setup program installs a standalone Admin Utility in the Server folder of the Applications directory. While the standalone utility is supposed to function like the preference pane of the older version, I could never get any of my entries to “stick.”

Moreover, I run a “headless” server that I control from another Mac using Apple Remote Desktop. Installing Aqua Connect requires system administrators to disable Auto Login, Fast User Switching, and Apple Remote Desktop on the server. This proved to be most frustrating, as I was forced to use one program (LogMeIn) to authenticate to the server and another (Timbuktu Pro 8.8) to maneuver my way around the screen once the login process was completed.

Reviewing the pricing sheet, I noticed that licensing for the Leopard or Snow Leopard version of Aqua Connect starts at $1495 – a price point that is far above what my customer is willing to spend.

At this point, I decided I had seen enough and took steps to uninstall the application. The user guide indicated that an uninstall program would appear in the Server folder. However, the uninstaller was nowhere to be found. Reflecting on the situation, I conjectured that the .dmg installer probably contained the routines that would allow me to uninstall the program. It did!

Later, after discussing the situation with other Apple consultants, I learned that the most likely reason my client was having performance issues was because users were accessing the database over a wireless network. For best results, Network Edition users should authenticate to the host computer over Gigabit Ethernet.


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Filed under Apple Hardware, Apple Software, Third Party Software

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