You are here

Picking machines - Example Setup

Subscribe to Syndicate

Theatre Manager will operate on virtually on any platform that it is installed on. From Theatre Manager's original conception, it has been designed on the Macintosh and the PC platforms (simultaneously), while still enabling a single version of the source code, resulting in a true cross-platform box office solution.

Workstations

When purchasing a new desktop system, budgeting $450-$800 for a box office workstation has been a standard price for the past 5 years. For that price, you will get a great price/performance value including the monitor and everything else you need.

Examples that fall in this price range (as of Nov 2020):

  • PC: Intel® quad core i7; up to 16 GB RAM; Windows 10; gigabit ethernet; up to 2 TB SATA or 256 GB solid state drive
  • Apple: iMac Mini, fast dual i7; 16 GB RAM (more is better); 1TB hard drive; OSX 10.14 or later
  • Theatre Manager is best viewed at higher screen resolutions (>1024x768 pixels). 24" or 27" widescreen LCD's are about $150-$200 and are perfect for the box office, allowing larger seating maps to be displayed making it easier for your patrons and staff to view the available seats during the sales process

If you are going to buy, check the consumer ratings for phone and web based computer vendors. In many instances, you can get some good deals on machines purchased this way.

Web Services

The second generation web services run best on machines with more CPUs, due to its multithreaded nature. Most organizations install it on the database server. Some make the web listener a standalone machine. A faster quad-core i7 machine with 16 GB of RAM is a good choice.

Note: the server starts up a number of listeners equal to about twice what the # of CPU's are, meaning a dual-core machine gets 3 listeners and a quad-core gets 7. This is why a quad-core or better should be used.

Ethernet

The best performance today is a gigabit switched Ethernet network using cat-5 or cat-6 cable

You can use 10T/100T/Gigabit networks if that is what is available.

Postgres Server

A decent database server can easily be purchased for between $2,000 and $3,000 (Nov 2020). For most venues, this could also be the web services computer.

Database server specifications (in order of importance) are:

Disk Performance

  • Striped disk array or RAID 1+0 using fast 6GB SATA or industrial strength SSD.
    • The goal is to reduce drive latency as much as possible, so more striping is better.
    • Even better is a computer that includes hardware RAID.
    • Notes about RAID 5:
      • if not implemented properly, it can impose significant performance penalties.
      • If high performance and 100% redundancy is required, it is far better to implement the Postgres hot standby server feature on a second server rather than RAID 5. The standby server receives far less I/O than the main server, so it does not have to be as fast.
  • If using linux or FreeBSD, use ZFS or EXT4 for parity/redundancy in the drives
A 500 GB to 1 TB hard drive is sufficient for most databases and a number of backups. This helps make SSD's a good choice.

Memory (RAM)

  • 32 GB of RAM at a minimum.
  • 48 GB or more recommended for larger installations.
  • More, if it's affordable since ram is cheap.

Number of CPUs

  • A server (Mac or PC) with multiple core processors or more.
  • More cores are slightly more important than speed of the CPU. A quad-core i7 will do better than a single-core Xeon
  • today, 4 or 6 core Xeons are quite affordable.

Operating System

  • 64 bit operating system.
  • OS-X 10.14 or later, Linux, Windows Server 2012 or 2016
  • Note: Do not use Windows 10 for any servers - you can't manage software updates
  • Note: Postgres is 10-15% faster on Unix flavours of the OS than Windows flavours.
  • Linux is generally slightly faster than OS X (you will need in-house Linux expertise)
  • gigabit ethernet port.

Ticket Printers

You may want a specialized thermal ticket printer to connect to the network. This allows you to print tickets at the time of sale. A thermal printer's performance is around 3600 tickets per hour (1 a second). These can be configured as ethernet, serial, or parallel devices. If you want to share ticket printers, we recommend only using ticket printers with an ethernet port.

For large volume box office operations, we suggest one ticket printer per Box Office wicket. More printers provide emergency backup. Depending on your requirements, subscription or group sales can elect to have their own printer or share with box office printers. Depending on print volume (and walkups), sharing a ticket printer between one or more box office wickets is supported through an ethernet-capable printer interface.

Report Printers

Theatre Manager will print to most Mac or Windows compatible printers that have drivers already installed. We suggest networked or shared printers.

Hardware Management Policies

To manage hardware requirements, often an organization will purchase one or two new machines each year. We suggest you buy mid-range computing power for the best price/performance ratio and install them in the box office. You can then migrate the box office machines around the organization. Doing this annually, you will have an effective hardware management policy, and users will be happy as the computers can keep up to the new features introduced to the software.