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New server questions....

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The company that I have went to work for is in need of a new server. This is a very small company that uses quickbooks for sales, inventory and payroll. I have been a computer enthusiasts for a long time but I have very little experience with servers. We need a new server but we have a very limited budget. We have about 10 workstations and no more than 6 are on quickbooks at the same time. We had a company give us a bid of $12k for a server, labor to re-cable some workstations and etc... This seems very high and overkill for such a small company. They are recommending a terminal server which I think is overkill for a business this size. Quickbooks has a database server manager built into their software. For all practical reasons qb can be installed on a regular os and shared via a glorified home network. That is what I am thinking. Now, if I went with building a server to use as a terminal server with small business server 2008 do the workstations have to have small business server as well? We have different workstations with xp and window 7 now. Any input is appreciated!!! TIA!!!
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tsmay51
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post #2 of 8
server os , i would recomend ubuntu server edition as it is free and compatible with windows backing up and adding on clients and users is free.


you can look for prebuilt stuff but that is way over kill as you can build a server for less.


as in the server hardware probably



8 to 12 gig of ram


let me know what you really want server rack or pc build and i can fine tune this list for you
server 2008 - do not bother with R2 version as that has graphics interface and a few other things buty if it is the same price then go for it

cpu - xeon x5560 - 1366 chipset
mobo - somthing with a lot of expancion slots to add in the raid cards etc.. - i can not think of one right now
psu - you want somehting that is futuar proof and expandble as well so somthing like the ax 1200
case: there are loads to chose from so it depends on what you want to do eg: server rack or pc case.

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post #3 of 8
For 10 workstations it seems a bit overkill to have a 12k server, unless... It depends on what they offered and what are your needs, aka how much availability you'd need. If it's ok for you to have some downtime from time to time, a regular workstation with something like Small Business Server Essentials (business version of WHS) is the best option. If downtime is unacceptable you should hire a professional to this for you.

If some unplanned downtime won't hurt the bottom line, a small business server like this would be a good plan: a quad-core CPU, some 12-16GB of RAM, a RAID controller like the PERC5 and 5 HDDs in RAID-5, a quality 600W PSU, a well ventilated case like the Antec 1200 and a 600VA UPS for power surge protection. The total should be below 2k$ and it could take care of all your needs. About the OS, the problem with server OS is that there is no free AV service for them so you'd probably have to pay for a subscription - you should think of what are the features the SBS and 7 Pro doesn't and weather you could bridge the gap with 3rd party apps.
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post #4 of 8
What is the maintenance contract they are offering for per-year support?

It is a business, so "build it yourself" shouldn't even be a glimmer of a thought. Dell/Lenovo/HP make should be your go-to source for the servers.

What additional duties will this server be performing? Will it be a general file server too? or a DC?

What they are suggesting is that all QB be stored and done on the server, and the users use either workstations and RDP to the server, or thin clients to access the data, which, isn't too bad an idea. That way if a workstation dies/gets stolen, no data is lost or compromised.

Given the extreme importance of the data, backing up and general data security is paramount. The data should live on a RAID 5 system at least, RAID 6 if you can get the extra drives. Backups should be either to tape and taken off site via a courier every week or month, or if you can work out a frequent backup to the cloud to a reputable and secure service that would be good too. Though even with the cloud backup service you should still make backups to tape and and keep them on site (since the cloud backup would be off site).
Edited by trueg50 - 7/19/11 at 6:52am
    
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Our email is handled thru a cloud server. The only thing the server will do is contain the quickbooks company file, light storage(pdf files, excel files, word docs). The only other thing it does is share the quickbooks database with a third party software called netship. All this program does is share a customer base with one pc leased to us via ups that handles all our shipping protocol. This program is not even loaded on the server. It is on the ups computer and just gets the info from within quickbooks on the server. I am thinking RAID 10 with 16g of memory. RDS looks like a great idea but keep in mind the cost would be quite a bit more. I am thinking a properly configured build would get the job done considering the small size of this company. Probably will build with a core i5 or entry level core i7...
tsmay51
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tsmay51
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsmay51 View Post
Our email is handled thru a cloud server. The only thing the server will do is contain the quickbooks company file, light storage(pdf files, excel files, word docs). The only other thing it does is share the quickbooks database with a third party software called netship. All this program does is share a customer base with one pc leased to us via ups that handles all our shipping protocol. This program is not even loaded on the server. It is on the ups computer and just gets the info from within quickbooks on the server. I am thinking RAID 10 with 16g of memory. RDS looks like a great idea but keep in mind the cost would be quite a bit more. I am thinking a properly configured build would get the job done considering the small size of this company. Probably will build with a core i5 or entry level core i7...
It is still a company, thus, no building unless you can say with 100% certainty that you will be able to get spare parts the very next day no questions asked, that they parts will be 100% available for the next 5 years, that you will have superb support with product experts readily accessible, and that all of the parts will work together perfectly.

RAID 10 is not a very good idea, RAID 5/6 would be the preferred storage configuration. RAID 10 allows for 1 drive lost, and isn't readily repairable. RAID 5 also tolerates one lost drive, but is easily rebuilt, and lastly RAID 6 allows 2 drives to be lost and is easily repairable.

16GB of RAM is quite a lot, do you know how much is currently used per instance of QB?
    
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
We are located in DFW. There is a ton of vendors less than 30 minutes away in case of a catastrophe. Only reason I was going for 16gb of memory is for all practical purposes memory is pretty darn cheap right now. Spending $250 on memory compared to the money that will be wrapped up in hard drives is pretty minimal. This is replacing a server that is a pentium 4 old desktop with 2gb ram that was converted to a server. Anything would be a major upgrade to what we are running currently. Downtime is a bad thing but I cannot see that the response time with an outside contractor would be any faster than relying on ourselves. Worse case scenario we have outside IT people that could still come in if needed.
tsmay51
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tsmay51
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post #8 of 8
@OP

Honestly, the guys recommending Dell/HP/Lenovo are on the right track. Those servers use parts which are guaranteed to work together. If something dies (which it will) they will get you the new part the next business day, and they will help you with product configuration too - do not think for an instant that OCN will give you the kind of response times Dell will give you.

What's the alternative?

CPU: Intel/AMD
Memory: Corsair/Kingston/Crucial
Motherboard: ASUS/Gigabyte/MSI/Supermicro
Storage: Western Digital/Seagate/Hitachi/Samsung
PSU: Corsair/Antec/Thermaltake
Case: Pick one...

That's the list of people you have to shout at when a self-built goes wrong. That's fine in a domestic/enthusiast environment, but the business world is a different game. Even Advance RMA from Western Digital is not the same as Next Business Day from Dell.

For you, I think a Dell T110 II with 16GB RAM, 4 500GB HDs in RAID 5 and running SBS would be ideal. I'd also throw in 3 years NBD on top. It'll cost around $2000 before any discounts, and to be honest you can cable those workstations yourself.
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