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Internet Reservation Module (IRM Classic and IRM.Net)
Hardware & Software Requirements 

Updated:  08/02/12

 

This document outlines the hardware and software requirements for the Internet Reservation Module (IRM). There are two distinct IRM programs:  IRM Classic and IRM.Net.  All new customers will be installing the IRM.Net.  


If you are a current customer, and are purchasing new hardware for the IRM Classic, please note:  IRM Classic does not work with Windows Server 2008.  IRM Classic is only supported on Windows Server 2003.  All current customers should upgrade to IRM.Net if purchasing new hardware for their IRM server.  Please contact RDP Sales to discuss these options.


The IRM.Net must be installed on a Windows 2008 or 2012 Standard Edition server.  All reservations are stored immediately on the RDP data server.  Topics covered in this document include:

 

IRM Hardware Topics in this document include:

IRM Operating System - Windows 2008/2012

RDP's Internet Reservation Module is designed to run on Microsoft Windows 2008 or 2012 Server.  Older versions of Windows, such as Windows 2000, 2003 or NT  are not supported.  No other software should be installed on the IRM server, such as accounting systems.

For more information, see IRM Installation Directions.

Minimum Internet Reservation Module (IRM) Server Configuration
  • Windows Server 2008/2012 for 32-bit or 64-bit versions Standard or Web Editions. 
    Note
    : this machine does not need to be a 'server class' box. It simply needs to be a machine with a Windows 2003 or 2008 operating system, and does not need R.A.I.D., dual disks, etc.
  • IRM Classic does not work with Windows Server 2008/2012.  IRM Classic is only supported on Windows Server 2003.  All current customers should upgrade to IRM.Net if  purchasing new hardware for the IRM server.  Please contact RDP Sales to discuss your options.
  • Windows Small Business Server is NOT supported as the IRM server
  • One quad core processor
  • Four gigabytes of RAM Memory
  • Gigabit network card
  • Hard disk with at least 80 gigabytes free
  • Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5
  • Pervasive Client installed
  • Flat screen monitor at 1024 x 768 resolution at 96 dpi.   Lower resolutions are not supported, and higher resolutions will result in displaying RDPWin screens with very small text that is difficult to read.
  • IRM Server must be on the same domain as the RDP Data Server.

Separate Server for IRM Improves Security

RDP's recommendation is to install the IRM on a separate computer running Windows 2008 or 2012 server.  When a guest, travel agent, group, or owner accesses rates and availability, they connect to the IRM server, which accesses the data from the RDP data server.  All IRM reservations, as well as normal internal reservations, are stored immediately in the same database on the RDP data server.  

 

Remember to backup the C:\Inetpub directory every day on the IRM server to avoid losing important IRM files such room descriptions and pictures.  See Backup for more details.

 

The design of having your data on one server/workstation and a separate Windows 2008 or 2012 server for the IRM improves security.  While there is a great deal of security already provided by Microsoft operating systems and a firewall, it may still be possible for a sophisticated person to "hack into" the IRM server.  With a separate IRM server, there is no data stored on the IRM.  This "hacker" cannot view or damage data on the IRM, because there is no data on the IRM: it's all on the data server.

 

The remainder of this document assumes the installation of the IRM on a separate Windows 2003 server.

Dedicated Online Connection to the Internet

The IRM server must be accessible to Internet browsers 24-hours per day, 365-days a year.  This Internet connection is normally maintained through an Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Contact your ISP for Internet connection options.  The minimum connection speed is 384K dedicated to the IRM.  Higher connection speeds are required, depending on the anticipated number of simultaneous users.  Additionally, if a large number of pictures and graphics are used, a higher connection speed is also required.   Possible connection types include DSK, T1, Microwave, Frame Relay, ISDN, etc.  Please contact RDP Sales for configuration assistance for large sites.

 

Ideally, a separate Internet connection with a separate firewall should be installed and dedicated to the IRM.  This assures that the entire bandwidth is available for Internet guests at all times.  If the IRM is sharing an internet connection with the rest of the property, it is possible the performance of the IRM will be slow during periods of peak usage.  The IRM can generate a tremendous amount of revenue for the property, and is well worth the investment of a dedicated internet connection running at 384KB or higher.

 

It is important to test your Internet connection for performance.  Please see Testing the performance of the IRM Connection.

IRM.Net and Internet Browsers

See KINet0024 for details on IRM.Net and Internet browsers.

WebEx Connection

In order to install and support the IRM, RDP support personnel must be able to access the IRM server via the Internet.  This is accomplished using WebEx.  WebEx is secure, encrypted web communication software and does not require any additional firewall ports to be opened. Using WebEx as the connection tool is PCI Compliant.

RDP Support Access to Administrator Password

To install and support the IRM, RDP support needs to know the password to the administrator account on the IRM server and the RDP Data Server.   

Stand Alone Firewall and Security

RDP has designed the Internet Reservation Module to be extremely secure.  Since 1999, RDP has installed over 300 IRM systems, and we have never had a hacker intrusion to the RDP data Server.   This high level of security has been accomplished as follows:

Stand Alone
Firewall
The IRM requires the installation of a "stand alone" firewall, which is designed to stop hackers from breaking into your network.  "Stand alone" means a separate physical firewall box.  No firewall software can be installed on the RDP Data Server or IRM Server.

Most firewalls, when first installed, prevent all access to any workstation or server on your network from the outside. The firewall is then opened for specific machines and specific ports on those machines, to the outside world.  Normally, only the IRM server is opened, and only on a few ports.  The firewall therefore stops all outside access to all other machines, such as the RDP Data Server.
Ports to Open A physical firewall is required to secure the IRM.Net from viruses and other attacks. The external IP address must be redirected to the internal address of the IRM.Net server for ports 80 and 443  Additionally, the firewall must be open to allow outgoing e-mail from the SMTP server installed on the IRM.Net server on port 25.  Do not, under any conditions, assign the external IP address directly to the IRM.Net, as this creates a security loophole and also prevents proper communication from the IRM.Net to the data server.

On the firewall the following ports must be open for the IRM server:
Port  Reason
25 E-Mails are sent out to guests from the IRM.Net server using Port 25 
80 Internet Traffic (HTTP) Required for all IRM systems
443  Secure Internet (HTTPS) Required if IRM.Net has Security Certificate. All IRM.Net version 3 require a SSL Security Certificate
 
Only One 
Network Card in Data Server and IRM Server
There can be only one network card installed in the IRM Bridge Computer and data server.  These should be standard Ethernet 100MB card (or faster).  Both the IRM server and the data server must be connected to the same hub or switch, since a great deal of data is passed between the IRM bridge server and the data server.  

Do not install a separate network card in the IRM Bridge server or the data server that connects directly to the internet router.  Both the IRM bridge computer and the RDP data server must be "behind" the stand alone firewall.  IP address redirection of ports 80, 443, 3389 should be set up to the IRM bridge server.  See "ports to open" above.  A diagram appears at the end of this document.
DMZ for PCI Compliance DMZ is supported per PCI Compliance specifications. The IRM should be working on the network first─not in a DMZ−and then move it to the DMZ with the correct ports open. If the IRM doesn't work in the DMZ, RDP can't help because we do not have the firewall expertise to troubleshoot this problem. If the IRM is working internally, it is a firewall issue.
Dedicated IRM  Server RDP requires a dedicated IRM server.  This server acts as a "bridge" to your data server, and provides a tremendous amount of additional security.  All guest data (such as reservations, credit card information, and addresses) is stored on the data server, which is protected by the firewall.  
Virus Protection RDP requires the installation of virus protection software on the IRM and data server, which provides another level of security.  Norton Anti-Virus for an IRM Server costs less than $100.
Windows Security Microsoft has spent millions of dollars to provide a tremendous amount of security as part of Windows 2003.  If somehow a hacker was able to get through the firewall, and through the dedicated IRM Bridge, and then through the virus protection software, he/she would still have to overcome Microsoft Security.  While this may be possible in theory, it has not occurred in over 300 installations.
Security Certificate (Data Encryption) RDP suggests using a Security Certificate when processing credit card transactions online with the IRM. Security Certificates ensure that passwords and credit card information are encrypted and secure over the Internet connection.  A Security Certificate must be purchased annually from a Certificate Authority.  The IRM will use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for encrypting data on the IRM Bridge Server.

Microsoft Front Page, Expression Web, or Other HTML Editing Software

The IRM contains many HTML files that can be modified, including:

  • Deposit and cancellation policies
  • Individual descriptions of each unit type and each unit number
  • Descriptions of the property
  • Links to virtual tours, maps, and pictures
  • Frequent Guest program
  • Travel Agent policies and procedures
  • Group information
  • Owner portal for access to owner account, owner reservations, secure payments, work orders, etc.
  • Many other screens

All HTML files can be modified with any HTML editor.  It is not possible for RDP support to learn all the different HTML editors, so we require using Microsoft Expression Web, with which we are familiar.

Paint Shop Pro Version or Other Picture Editing Software

The Internet reservation module can have a wide variety of pictures to make the site much more appealing to the guest.  A picture editor is needed to reformat pictures to the correct size for the IRM.  While a variety of picture editing software programs might work, RDP support is familiar with Paint Shop Pro.  If you would like help from RDP support with picture reformatting you must use Paint Shop Pro Version 8 or higher, which is available at a nominal cost from www.jasc.com.

Diagram on Network Configuration


 


Links to RDP Data Server and Internet Reservation Module (IRM) documents
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