SIS Integration – SIMS

In the UK, importing data from SIMS is the most practical and advantageous way to promote adoption of the classroom tools in Mobile Manager, Web Filter, and Classroom Orchestrator.

Course Curriculum

  • Lesson 1: Find Rocket share location
  • As part of configuring the Lightspeed SIMS export utility, you’ll need to know the location of your Rocket share. That’s the secure location where your SIMS data will be stored for Lightspeed Systems to access it. Here’s what you need to know.

    You must place the export file in your Lightspeed Rocket’s Network Share/sis_import folder.

    Rocket version 3.x

    To find the details for the Network Share, log into your Rocket appliance, click Settings, then select Tier Management. Select the root tier, and then scroll way down to Network Share at the bottom. You should see something like

    \\<IP address>\tier1

    as shown in the screenshot below.

    r3-00223

    • Inside that share are two folders: backup and sis_import for backups and the SIS imports, respectively. Please note that the root tier share is the only one that has the backup. All other tiers will only have the sis_import folder.
  • Lesson 2: Download and configure export utility
  • The SIMS export utility Version 3 (lssims.exe) is intended to run locally on the School Information Management System (SIMS) server to extract the necessary student data that will be imported into Launch, Mobile Manager, and/or Classroom Orchestrator.

    Features include Windows form and console application, database settings, and SMB transport to the Rocket SIS share.

    Note: All items are configurable via the command line to be used as a scheduled task.

    Installation

    • Download the MSI setup file “LSsims_setup.msi” from http://dgnvssbnp2qja.cloudfront.net/ftp/sims/LSsims_setup.msi
    • Run the MSI setup file, which will install in the “C:\Program Files (x86)\Lightspeed\LSsims” directory. Please note the default data export directory is also “C:\ProgramData\Lightspeed” for the final exported SIS data in XML format.

    sis-lssims-setup-wizard-license-1024x802

    After installation is complete, you will see the following Lightspeed SIMS icon on your desktop.

    SIMS Desktop Icon

    SIMS.net Application Report Setup

    The LSsims application creates a file called “lsreports.rptdef” in the application directory “C:\Program Files (x86)\Lightspeed\LSsims“. Using the import feature on the SIMS.net application, import this file into the SIMS.net application. The screenshot below shows the SIMS.net application after the file, lsreports.rptdef (with the reports), is imported. The reports need to be in the local SIMS.net app before you run the reports from the LSsims application. These reports will then be called from the LSsims application when the reports are run. These reports are:

    • LS Student v3
    • LS Student Parents v3
    • LS Student Membership v3
    • LS Staff v3
    • LS Staff Supervisions v3
    • LS Classes v3

    sis-lssims-application-report-directory-1024x664

    Configuration

    The LSsims exporter utilizes the “settings.xml” file in the application root. This can be configured manually by running the Windows lssims.exe application.

    Launch the lssims.exe application to the following window:

    • Email Report Select: select the SIMS email field that was used to setup the students’ email address with the students’ AD username. Note, it is crucial that the names in SIMS match the usernames in AD.
    • Local Export Report Path: sets the output destination for the SIMS export. The application will either write the output files to the Rocket or to the export path. In this example we are using the local export path of “C:ProgramDataLightspeed“.
    • XML setting path: should be left as is unless directed by Lightspeed Systems Support.
    • Report Definition Import: should be left as is unless directed by Lightspeed Systems Support.
    • SIMS Server Info: sets the database connection to the SIMS server database and should be configured accordingly.
    • Rocket Info: allows the end user to send the SIMS export data to the Rocket share via SMB.
    • Reports: displays list of reports to be run (read only).

    lssimsconfig

    Once all the settings have been configured click Save to XML file to save the settings and then Close.

  • Lesson 3: Run export utility
  • The export utility can be run either as a Windows form or a command line console application. Once configured, we recommended running this from the command line. Once you have configured “lssims.exe” we now need to test and make sure that the application can connect to the database and operate correctly.

    • 1. Open a command prompt.
    • 2. Change to the “C:\Program Files (x86)\Lightspeed\LSsims” directory.
    • 3. Then run the following to start in a console mode with logging enabled:
    lssims.exe –c –l

    Log Creation:

    The log file is called “lssims.log” and is created in the data directory “C:\ProgramData\Lightspeed“. It is written over on each launch with logging enabled. The log is only created in the console mode ( -c –l options, described below).

    On a successful run you should see a similar output to the below:

    mle-sis-lssims-console-window-1024x216

    The finished SIS data should exist in the “ExportDataPath set (“c:\lssims\export”) as the following XML files:

    • LSstaff.xml
    • LSstudents.xml
    • LSmemberships.xml
    • LSclasses.xml
    • LSparents.xml
    • LSsupervisions.xml

    View SIMS Reports

    You can use the following reports to learn more about your SIMS database.

    LS Classes v3 Report

    Run this report to display data about your classes in your SIMS database.

    mle-sis-sims-ls-classes-report

    LS Staff Supervisions v3 Report

    Run this report to display data in your SIMS database about which classes staff members supervise.

    mle-sis-sims-ls-staff-supervisions-report

    LS Staff v3 Report

    Run this report to display data about your staff in your SIMS database.

    mle-sis-sims-ls-staff-v3-report

    LS Student Membership v3 Report

    Run this report to display data about student memberships in your SIMS database.

    mle-sis-sims-ls-student-membership-v3-report

    LS Student Parents v3 Report

    Run this report to display data about the parents of students in your SIMS database.

    mle-sis-sims-ls-student-parents-v3-report

    LS Students v3 Report

    Run this report to display data about your students in your SIMS database.

    mle-sis-sims-ls-students-v3-report

  • Lesson 4: Test your LSsims-generated files
  • Important Notes:

    1) Within SIMS, “Third Party Report” permission must be enabled.

    2) SIMS import errors do not display as SIS error logs within Lightspeed’s Launch Dashboard.

    As you might expect, the primary reasons for an import to fail are lack of data and incorrectly formatted data. SIMS expects a certain format from SIS when building the LSstudents.xml report. The records returned from SIS for student information must be in the following format:

    • primary_id
    • last_name
    • first_name
    • grade
    • student_email
    • student_id
    • email_address
    • location

    If the SIMS application errors when trying to create the LSstudents.xml report, check the LSReports.rptdef file for the correct fields exported from SIS.

    Note: The LSReports.rptdef file is a custom file created by Lightspeed Systems by using a local copy of SIMS. If changes are needed to any of the reports, contact Lightspeed Systems Support. A new version of the report definition file will be needed along with possible changes to the SIMS application.

    To copy the reports to a Rocket the settings.xml file must have the Rocket information in the file. If SIMS is failing to copy the files to your Rocket, open up the settings.xml file and make sure that all of the XML elements are present for the Rocket. SIMS will edit these values by pressing the Update XML button but will not create the XML elements if they are missing. Example of the Rocket XML section:

    <RocketAddress>\10.16.4.32tier1</RocketAddress>
    <RocketUser>username</RocketUser>
    <RocketPassword>password</RocketPassword>
  • Lesson 5: Schedule nightly LSsims task
  • Scheduled data imports begin automatically around 1am GMT and may take several hours to complete, depending on the number of records you are importing and the number of other organizations in the import queue. Further, the scheduled import runs only if there is a change to an import file since the last import. If there are no changes to the file, then the process will not run.

    If you need to update the data immediately, you can force a manual sync in Launch. Under Admin Tools, go to SIS > Actions > Sync now. Note that SIMS errors do not display in SIS Error Logs.

    Here’s how to create a nightly task to run the LSsims utility.

    • 1. On a Windows 2012 Server, open Task Scheduler and create a new task.

    mle-sis-sims-start-task-scheduler

    • 2. From the General tab set the name to “Lightspeed Systems SIMS Export – Daily 8pm” (no quotes) and the description to Lightspeed Systems, Inc. – SIMS Export Task – Daily 8pm as shown below.

    mle-sis-sims-task-scheduler-general-tab

    • 3. Under Security options set the user account to system.
    • 4. From the Triggers tab create a new trigger.

    mle-sis-sims-task-scheduler-new-trigger

    • 5. Set the following on the New Trigger window.
      • Begin the task: Select On a schedule from the dropdown list.
      • Settings: Select Daily.
      • Start: Select the day and time to start.
      • Recur every: Enter 1.
      • Advanced settings: Check (select) Enabled.

    This action opens the following dialog box:

    mle-sis-sims-task-scheduler-new-action

    • 6. Set the following on the New Action window.
      • Action: Select Start a program from the dropdown list.
      • Program/script: Enter “C:\lssims\lssims.exe” or click Browse to browse to the location of the exe application.
      • Add arguments (optional): Enter arguments for the exe application. Please note Lightspeed Systems recommends entering “-c” to run the lssims.exe application in console mode. Add “–l” if you also want logging.
    • Click OK.

    lssims.exe Export Command Line Switches

    Switch (short form) Switch (long form) Description
    -h –help Displays help info. Needs the console switch “-c”.
    -l –log Enable logging. Only works in console mode.
    -c Runs the console version of the application. If this option is missing then the Windows form of the application will launch instead.

    Note: Switches are case insensitive.

  • Lesson 6: Enable Port 80 access
  • Many Lightspeed Systems functions require external access to the Lightspeed Server’s management NIC. Such access will be denied if a couple things aren’t in place: 1) the appropriate DNS “NAT” entries identifying the Lightspeed Systems Rocket publicly and privately and 2) required firewall rules.

    Note: This document specifically refers to Port 80, yet you can use the same instructions to configure any port.
    Note: These instructions also work for setting up your proxy port.

    Why enable external port access to the management NIC

    • Permit Launch (Lightspeed Dashboard), Mobile Manager, and Classroom Orchestrator integration with Lightspeed Systems Rocket
    • Remotely filter with Mobile Filter, including the Mobile Filter Browser for iPhone, iPod, and iPads
    • View reports off  site
    • Allow email summary links to work outside of the network
      –Can be also done over port 443 (SSL) if enabled, see SSL Certificate for the Lightspeed Systems Rocket

    Note: Our server will first try to retrieve the file over SSL port 443 and if that fails, the server will then try over HTTP port 80. The file will be securely transferred as long as port 443 is enabled.

    How to enable Port 80 and Proxy port access

    The following information outlines the steps that should be taken to assure users both internal and external to the network can properly access your Lightspeed Systems Rocket.

    • Set Up an FQHN
      Using a Fully Qualified Host Name (FQHN) vs an external IP allows users to access the server directly while inside without having to loop outside the network and back in. This assumes you’ve created separate DNS settings for external and internal (described below).
    • Rocket Settings
      Log into the Rocket appliance and navigate to Administration > Network Interfaces.Find the IP Address setting under Management Interface and specify the FQHN for your Rocket. For example, ls.ourusd.k12.ca.us
    • Firewall Settings
      Create an access rule in your Firewall to translate (NAT) an external IP Address on port 80 to the internal IP Address of Lightspeed Systems Rocket. For example, Port 80: 209.16.17.2 = 10.16.80.2This rule directs the firewall to allow port 80 (HTTP) sessions between the external user and the Lightspeed Systems Rocket.Note: If you are enabling a proxy port (Port 8080, or your particular specified proxy port 80**), you will need to repeat the Firewall Settings step for your specific proxy port. 
    • DNS Setting
      Internal DNS
      Create an entry to translate the FQHN to the internal IP of the Rocket. For example, ls.ourusd.k12.ca.us = 10.16.80.2This will assure that users inside the network access the Rocket directly, rather than having their selected action(s) travel out of the network and then back in.External DNS
      Create an entry to translate the FQHN to the external IP of the Lightspeed Systems Rocket. For example, ls.ourusd.k12.ca.us = 209.16.17.2

    With these addressing modifications in place, users should be able to access the Rocket from both inside and outside the enterprise network.

  • Lesson 7: Set up Lightspeed integration in Launch
  • Now we’ll jump into Launch Admin Tools to inform Lightspeed Systems where to find your shared files. To proceed, you’ll need to have district admin privileges designated in your account. You’ll know for sure when you login to Launch–as only district admins will see the Districts and SIS options under Admin Tools.

    Follow the instructions below to connect the school with Lightspeed Systems.

    To enable Lightspeed Systems products for your staff using Launch and to set up automatic student-data imports from a Lightspeed Rocket appliance, you’ll need to integrate your Rocket with your district and schools.

    Follow these instructions or try the guided walkthrough.

    • 1. Navigate to https://launch.lightspeedsystems.com and log in as a District administrator.
    • 2. Click the Admin Tools tile and select Schools or District, then select by name the organization you want to configure.

    r3-00227

    • 3. Under Lightspeed Integration, select Lightspeed Web Filter and enter the IP Address or FQHN that will connect directly to your Rocket over port 80.
    • 4. Click Refresh Tiers to query your Rocket’s authentication sources, then select the authentication sources to use for Educators (staff) and Students.
      • To enable Mobile Manager for staff in the Lightspeed Dashboard, select (check) the Mobile Device Management.
    • 5. Click Save to apply your settings.
  • Lesson 8: Configure SIS integration in Launch
  • The final configuration step in the Launch dashboard is to select your SIS Integration type.

    • Navigate to https://launch.lightspeedsystems.com and log in as a District administrator.
    • Click the Admin Tools tile and select SIS.
    • On the SIS page, open the Your SIS Integration dropdown list and select one of the following options: Lightspeed CSV, GG4L, SIMS, or Google Classroom.
    • Once SIMS is selected you will need to select your default school. You must select a school so that we know which school to add the users to.
    • No SIS – if you do not have a Lightspeed Rocket appliance or external web server to host the import files, choose this option. Then click Actions and select Import Users to upload your users.csv file.