Windows Services provide a great way to make sure that programs are available and running regardless of users logging into the actual computer console. There are some pitfalls to watch out for, however, related to the availability of network resources and security issues.
Remember that, because Services run independently of the logged in user, they do not have access to the mapped drives that users may have when they log in. In Windows, mapped resources are a user thing, not a system thing. So, you need to make sure that SmedgeEngine actually has access to the shared resources.
For most users, Smedge 3 can automatically detect your mapped drive letters, if needed, and ensure that those drives are available, by validating the drive letter of your render file. If your scene or project accesses resources internally that are on other mapped drives, this Smedge 3 cannot detect those resources before the process has started, and so it can't ensure that all required resources will be available for your work. This may lead to "file not found" type errors.
You have a couple of choices here:
- Don't use Smedge as a Service. If you run Smedge as a normal user, all of the resources available to the logged in user are also available to Smedge and all processes it starts.
- Use UNC paths instead of drive letters. You may still need to adjust the Service's user account as described below if the default Service user does not have permission to access your file server.
- Use the Mapped Drive Manager in SmedgeGui. This dialog box allows you to easily specify all of your required mapped drives for all products on all machines at one time. This allows for easy system-wide configuration. The dialog (on Windows only) can detect the required mapped drives from the local machine by clicking a button, making this a two-click operation when you need to set or change your network drive setup.
- If you want, you can also set the allowed resources separately for each product that you use. To do this, use the Resources Product Option for the Product you want to configure. Specify a list of drive letter mappings like this:
you can also specify a user name and password here.
To access it as a Product option for the Engines, select one or more Engines, and choose "Configure Product Options" from the Engine menu. Select the Product you want to configure, and then scroll down until you see the "Resources" field. If you are editing multiple Engines, remember to click the red arrow button to copy the settings for that product to the other selected Engines before clicking OK or changing Products.
- There may be other methods available, depending on your network design.
Because of the complex nature of Windows Security, the Smedge 3 Installer by default will create a local user on an Engine machine for Smedge 3 to use to perform work. The account has the user name Smedge and password Smedge.
This account is given Administrative privileges on the local machine. This is a security issue because this can allow full control over the machines. For many users, this is not an issue.
For users that need to use more sophisticated user control or that use Windows Domain accounts, Smedge 3 can be integrated with your system instead. All work performed by Smedge 3 is performed using the user account that is running the SmedgeEngine process. Smedge 3 cannot perform the work with integrated user accounts in this version, but this is a high priority planned upgrade.
If you need to configure Smedge 3 Services in other ways, you can use the Services Control Panel, one the Administrative Tools.