I’ve long been advocating keeping a stand-alone copy of Deltek Cobra near to hand in addition to a formal production system. The habit has gotten me out of a few tight corners over the years, and has been massively helpful as both a safe test area for new versions and for educating myself on features and functionality.
Another benefit is its portability. Being able to take the software around with me on a laptop means I can demonstrate features, test the outcome of a what-if or perform a management presentation without having to be connected to a network.
Back in the Cobra 4.n days, Cobra shipped with a FoxPro database install capability to give you a quick and easy way to get the software up and running. As an educator this was handy because you could setup a classroom quickly using one installation media package. Everyone’s got the same version of the software, in the same state and the class went smoothly.
With the release of Cobra 5.0, the system had been ported away from Visual FoxPro and into Microsoft .NET architecture with Visual C++; a definite and necessary improvement, but sadly at the expense of the handy little FoxPro database. However, in recent years Microsoft and Oracle have been releasing some rather excellent free versions of their respective SQL Server and 10g/11g databases: perfect for a stand-alone installation of Cobra.
Keep in mind that these free databases have processor, memory and database size limitations. Oracle Express 11g for example, has an 11GB database size limit and will only use one CPU core and 1GB of memory no matter how ‘pimped out’ the workstation might be. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 has a slightly less generous 10GB database size limit and a similar CPU and Memory restriction of 1 CPU core and 1GB memory respectively.
Restrictions notwithstanding, these ‘express’ databases are plenty powerful enough to run a single Cobra instance on a standard PC or laptop: I just wouldn’t recommend you use them for a production system and there’s the added issue that you’d only be able to have up to 4 users anyway. Did I forget to mention that?
Step-By-Step Installation Guide
Ok, enough of my prevarications – you want to know about the download attached to this blog. I’ve put together some simple instructions showing step by step how to install a stand-alone copy of Deltek Cobra on your workstation. I’m no DBA or IT guy, but have done this enough times to give you this vanilla approach that always works for me. It’s using the Microsoft SQL Server Express 2008 R2 database as I’ve always found SQL Server simpler to work with than Oracle, but that’s just me and I’m sure you could easily adapt the document for Oracle 11g Express if that’s your bag.
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