FCS Express: Network Architecture

This will serve as a way for our customers to better understand how a Network installation of FCS Express works.




1. There are several points to keep in mind regarding the concepts of how FCS Express Network functions.

  • FCS Express Network is installed on a central network location. The network is simply acting as a fileshare.
  • A shortcut to the FCS Express executable file on the network is created on a local workstation.
  • When the program is launched from the shortcut, FCS Express will be executed on the client, not on the network. In other words, FCS Express will use the resources of the local workstation, rather than the network, to run the application.
  • On the initial launch of FCS Express on a local workstation, a network cache will be created in the ProgramData folder of the local workstation.
  • The network cache is a folder that contains most of the application files needed for FCS Express to run on the local workstation.
  • The network cache allows FCS Express to run from local files, hence startup up more quickly than if it had to load files from the network each time.
  • If the FCS Express version on the network changes, FCS Express will detect this and copy the updated files to the network cache
  • If FCS Express cannot copy files to the network cache (due to the user not having valid permissions for example) FCS Express will be executed from the network location.
  • The files that make up the network cache will be downloaded from the network location to the ProgramData folder on the local workstation.
  • By default, ProgramData is a hidden folder in the Windows operating system. To show hidden folders in Windows, click here.
  • Directions to install a network license of FCS Express can be found here.

2. Files needs to be transferred from the network location to the local workstation.

    • Every time you launch FCS Express from the shortcut, the application loads FCS Express.exe from the network location into memory and is launched on the local workstation. 
    • FCS Express.exe authenticates and verifies the licensing and configuration of FCS Express according to the license purchased by the customer. In FCS Express, FCS Express.exe is about 2MB in size.
    • After the loading, running and authentication of FCS Express.exe,
    The application checks on the local hard drive to see if the network cache has been transferred to the local workstation. If this is the initial launch of FCS Express on the local workstation and the network cache has not been downloaded to the local workstation, all the relevant files to run FCS Express will be copied to the local workstation. FCS Express.exe then compares the version number of the local cache with the version number on the network. If the version on the network is newer, it copies over the files from the network to the network cache. If it is the same, the FCS Express application launches from the network cache. Please note that the size of the files need to be downloaded to the network cache are over 300MB.
    • FCS Express.exe needs access to the Windows folder, ProgramData, to download the network cache. If the user does not have access to ProgramData, the network cache cannot be loaded to the local workstation and the application is run over the network, rather than locally.
    • For more information about this, click here.

3. FCS Express will load the data files being analyzed in their entirety to the local workstation.

  • If the sample data that is being analyzed is stored on a network, that data is loaded in its entirety and stored in memory on the local workstation. Eventually, parts of the file that are not being used are removed from memory.
  • If these files are large, it might take some time to load these files depending on the network speed and traffic.