OfficeMate is an eyecare practice management software used by a large number of area eyecare offices. I have been working with OfficeMate software installations and upgrades for the past 6 years and have done quite a few new installations, upgrades and conversions. Just recently released, OfficeMate version 10.5 has been certified as a Complete EHR cy CCHIT and is part of what is needed to achieve the ‘meaningful use’ neccessary to receive federal stimulus money.
OfficeMate has had quite a history with version 10, and its release date has been changed quite a few times, and in addition its hardware requirements have also changed massively since even last July: http://web.archive.org/web/20110723232816/http://www.officemate.net/officemate_sys_req.aspx
In July, there were minimum requirements for workstations an Intel PentiumE5800 or better, and minimum Dedicated Database Server requirements of a Quad Core Xeon 3100, 4 GB RAM and a 250 GB SATA 7200 RMP Hard drive (no Raid). Since that time, OfficeMate has radically changed its requirements, they eliminated the minimum requirements and instead made the new minumum what was previously the ‘recommended’: http://www.officemate.net/officemate_sys_req.aspx
What these official changes in hardware requirements mean to the average practice is quite a bit of money $$$$, and pity any practice that based their hardware on the previous requirements (not really, but officially according to OfficeMate). The new workstations have a minimum requirement of a Core2 E8400 processor which is a bit heftier requirement than a Pentium E5800, but where the big difference lies is in the server requirements – the drive requirements change from a single SATA drive (about $100 or so for a good quality drive) to 3 15k SCSI or 10k Enterprise SATA drives which means about $750 for the drives, another $200 or so for the needed RAID controller card, plus another $100 or so for the needed power supply upgrades. This of course assumes you don’t need extra imaging storage which would of course raise the price substantially more.
Now OfficeMate information states: Failure to meet hardware and system requirements may lead to an unsuccessful upgrade, including the inability to install or run v10.5 on your computers in your office.
The Upgrade guide actually states: “You will not be able to install the software on computers that do not meet the stated requirements” – somewhat false, basically for the server, if you have 4GB of RAM, regardless of anything else, it should install. I actually installed the server version on a $400 i3 single hard drive system with 4 GB of RAM that I bought from Office Depot to use as a test and it installed fine (I wouldn’t recommend using it for more than a few clients, but it did install) – in addition I have installed it successfully on a number of Virtual machines using 4 GB of RAM and as little as a single core of processing power. I also installed the client software on a number of older Pentium 4 single core machines (purely as a test, I got it to install on a system with only 512MB of RAM and it actually ran no slower than version 8 had on that same machine).
**NOTE: I would of course advise coming as close to the stated requirements in order to have an optimum experience, but it should be noted that if you have hardware that is close, you ‘should’ be ok.
I have done a number of full start from scratch test installs as well as a number of ‘in production use’ upgrades for clients, and so far I have not had any complete failures, although there have been some issues with firewalls, one database conversion that failed on the first attempt (not really sure why, but it worked on the second attempt – thankfully I had a full server backup to roll everything back!). The official guides from OfficeMate are not completely accurate, nor do they deal with all the issues properly. My next post will detail the issues I have had, as well as steps to take to ensure a proper upgrade experience: OfficeMate version 10.5 Software upgrade and installation guide – dealing with real world OfficeMate installations and upgrades for hardware and software.
For questions, please contact: Pensacola Computers at http://pensacolacomputers.com
* Pensacola Computers is not officially connected to OfficeMate software in any way, and all opinions stated are my own observations.