Summary

A description of Tachyon Stacks and their Tachyon components, the Tachyon Agents and how they connect to provide the Tachyon features.

Tachyon deployment architecture

At the top-most level, Tachyon architecture consists of Tachyon Server components, grouped into Stacks, and a set of Tachyon Agents that are deployed onto the devices that you want to manage.

Tachyon Server Stacks

There are two types of Stack: Master Stacks and Response Stacks.

A Tachyon system consists of a single Master Stack and one or more Response Stacks, with optional DMZ Servers. Each Response Stack has a Tachyon Core component that supports an associated set of up to five Tachyon Switches, which is the primary mechanism for rapidly requesting and retrieving responses from the Tachyon Agents. As each Switch can handle up to 50000 devices there is a limit of 250000 devices per Response Stack.

The Tachyon Switches may be local or remote to the other components in the Response Stack. Tachyon Master and Responses databases are installed on SQL Server instance(s) that may also be local or remote to their respective Master or Response Stacks. It is also possible for multiple Response Stacks to share the same Responses database.

Please refer to Design Considerations - Architecture section for guidance on which architecture to choose. Below is a detailed description of Tachyon components.

On this page:

Tachyon Single-Server system

In the most basic setup there is a single server which hosts both a Master Stack and a Response Stack and this can be deployed by selecting the default settings in Tachyon Setup

The following table shows the Tachyon Server components for each type of Stack, and also shows the DMZ Server discussed below.

Component

Master Stack

Response Stack

DMZ Server
Master database

1 (optionally Remote)

 


Coordinator service

1 

Authentication

1

 


Registration

1

 


Explorer

1

 


Consumer API

1

 


Core (including Core Internal) 1
Background Channel 11
Switch(es) (also includes a single Switch Host service) up to 5 (optionally Remote)up to 5
Responses database 1 (optionally Remote)

The picture opposite shows a Tachyon Single-Server System with databases optionally installed locally or on remote SQL Server instance(s). The Master Stack has a Master database, and the Response Stack has a Responses database

There are six web components, four in the Master Stack: Authentication, Registration, Explorer and Consumer API; and two in the Response Stack: Background Channel and Core.

Other components are Master Stack Coordinator and the Response Stack Switches. The Switches also have a Switch Host service.

The DMZ Server has only the Agent facing components of the Response Stack, the Background Channel and Switches.

Tachyon Multi-Stack system

The picture opposite shows a Tachyon Multi-Stack System. Here the Tachyon Master Stack communicates with one ore more Tachyon Response Stacks. The Response Stack local to the Tachyon Server is optional if there is at least one remote Response Stack.

As with a single-server system, the databases are optionally installed locally or on remote SQL Server instances(s).

Tachyon components

Let's take a look at each of the Tachyon components in slightly more detail.

ComponentDescription

IIS Components

The following components are IIS Web Applications that reside on a single-server under the Tachyon website.

  • Core
  • Background Channel
  • Consumer API
  • Explorer (including Admin pages)
  • Authentication
  • Registration

Core

The Core component has two web applications, Core and Core Internal.

Core does the following:

Core Internal does the following:

  • Forwards responses from the Switch to the Responses database. This task requires high throughput therefore uses HTTP, but restricts access to the Switch server's local IP Address only

Background Channel

The Background Channel provides a means for the Tachyon Agents to retrieve large data items from Tachyon without loading the Tachyon Switch:

  • Stores Agent resources from the Consumer API in the Background Channel for Tachyon Agents to retrieve
  • Responds to Tachyon Agents retrieving Agent resources from the Background Channel

Switch

The Switch component provides the following:

The Switch Host service is responsible for starting local Switches.

Explorer

Tachyon users browse to the Tachyon Explorer to ask questions, retrieve responses and run actions. See Using Tachyon.

Tachyon administrators browse to the Tachyon Explorer to access the administration pages to configure Permissions, Product Packs, manage Consumers, define Custom Properties and manage devices registered for Two-factor authentication. They can also view the Administration Log and system status Dashboard. See Maintaining Tachyon.

The Explorer component is a Consumer that provides the following:

  • Browser connection to the Tachyon Explorer and Admin portals

All subsequent requests are made by the Tachyon Explorer running in the browser:

Consumer API

The Consumer API provides the following:

  • Processes the consumer requests from the Explorer and other Consumers
  • Publishes Agent resources to the Tachyon Background Channel
  • Forwards requests for instrumentation data from the Explorer to the Tachyon Instrumentation component
  • Forwards workflow commands from the Explorer to the Tachyon Workflow component
  • Contacts the Authentication component to authenticate the API requests

Coordinator

The Coordinator service has two modules, Workflow and Instrumentation.

The Workflow module provides the following:

  • Forwards workflow commands from the Consumer API to the Core
  • Stores workflow in SQL
  • Connects to remote SMTP to send emails used in the approval process for actions
  • The Workflow component contacts the Authentication component to manage the two-factor authentication process

The Instrumentation module processes instrumentation data from the following components:

  • Core
  • Workflow
  • Switch

And responds to requests for instrumentation data from the Consumer API.

Authentication

Supports the two-factor authentication feature.

Registration

Enables mobile devices with the Tachyon App installed to register for two-factor authentication.

Consumers

The primary example of a Consumer is the Tachyon Explorer and Administration portal, other examples include external consumers such as Configuration Manager extensions.

SQL Server

Tachyon has two databases:

  • Tachyon Master
  • Tachyon Responses

These are used by the following components:

  • Coordinator Workflow module
  • Core
  • Consumer API
  • Authentication service

Tachyon Agents

Each Tachyon Agent runs on one of the devices you want to include in your Tachyon managed estate. The Tachyon Agents communicate with the Tachyon Switches and the Background Channel to provide responses to instructions (questions and actions).

Tachyon single-server architecture

The following diagram shows the basic single-server architecture for Tachyon: 

Tachyon instrumentation layer

The following diagram shows the instrumentation layer overlaid on the Tachyon Server architecture. The instrumentation layer provides feedback on how the components are performing:

Tachyon architecture for Internet-facing devices

Enabling Tachyon to support devices that are external to your company network is done by slightly extending the default single-server architecture.

The Responses Stack handles communications between the Master Stack and the Tachyon Agents. The Background Channel and Switches components handle the direct communication with the Tachyon Agents, the Core processes the information in both directions between the Master Stack and the Switches.

To enable external Tachyon Agent devices to interact with Tachyon you need to put the Background Channel and at least one Switch into the DMZ.

You would then need to configure the internal firewall to allow two-way communication between:

  • The Core on the Internal Response Stack and the Switch(es) in the DMZ
  • The Instrumentation module of the Coordinator on the internal Response Stack and the Switch(es) in the DMZ
  • The Consumer API on the internal Master Stack and the Background Channel in the DMZ

You would then need to configure the external firewall to allow incoming connections for:

  • The external Tachyon Agents and the Background Channel in the DMZ
  • The external Tachyon Agents and the Switch(es) in the DMZ

You would then need to make the following changes:

  • The Tachyon Master database would need to be modified to enable Tachyon to recognize and additionally use the DMZ Background Channel and Switch(es) and raise the security level of the Core and Switch communications to use HTTPS. 
  • The configuration files for the Switch host on the Internal Tachyon Server and on the Tachyon Server in the DMZ would need to be changed to enable the Switch(es) to communicate with the Core.
  • The configuration file for the Background Channel on the DMZ would need to be changed to enable the Background Channel to communicate with the Consumer API.

The DMZ picture shows a dual firewall design, but single firewall is also supported.