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MIS Systems Thread, new server in Technical; 1200 kids school in need of new sims server. Data Base under 4Gb. Any recomendations on spec for server?...
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    e_g_r's Avatar
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    new server

    1200 kids school in need of new sims server. Data Base under 4Gb.

    Any recomendations on spec for server?

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Sims runs on SQL 2005 and SQL runs better with more memory, so 2GB to 3GB is what I would recommend. I'd also recommend you buy a server either with a Core 2 Duo or Xeon as these will have multiple cores. SQL 2005 Standard makes good use of this and will speed things up.

    All new servers should come with gigabit ethernet adapters to maximise network throughput. I'd also recommend at least a 100GB hard drive to ensure you have enough space now and for the next few years.

    And last but not least, check out what warranty you can get. The longer the better in the event the server fails.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    For a SQL server I would go with Michael's spec but make the memory at lease 4Gb. SQL performs sooo much better from the 4Gb threshold upwards.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    RAID for data, a seperate drive for OS.
    go for 2 x dual core processors if you can.
    If it's for sensitive data a backup tape seperate to the rest of you data would be advisable (LTO3?)
    Also two gigabit ethernet ports if your switches support port-teaming to allow for greater throughput - as this is a mission-critical server.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e_g_r View Post
    1200 kids school in need of new sims server. Data Base under 4Gb.

    Any recomendations on spec for server?
    Hi

    Have a word with EDIT, a few months ago they had an ideal server from dell and it was pretty cheap apparently.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e_g_r View Post
    1200 kids school in need of new sims server. Data Base under 4Gb. Any recommendations on spec for server?
    Get a machine with a stack of RAM and assign a RAM disk as the database's storage. If the database is less than 4GB then I bet a machine with 8GB would do nicely, which isn't even expensive these days, although something with a bit more for future expansion would probably be a good idea. Get the machine a decent dedicated UPS so you have enough time to shutdown properly and write RAM to disk in case of a power outage.

    Could also see about a separate terminal services server for people to run the SIMS client from.

    --
    David Hicks

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Get a machine with a stack of RAM and assign a RAM disk as the database's storage. If the database is less than 4GB then I bet a machine with 8GB would do nicely, which isn't even expensive these days, although something with a bit more for future expansion would probably be a good idea. Get the machine a decent dedicated UPS so you have enough time to shutdown properly and write RAM to disk in case of a power outage.

    Could also see about a separate terminal services server for people to run the SIMS client from.

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    David Hicks
    And what benefit will this provide precisely? Apart from needing a non supported version on windows (64 bit) and commercial ram disk software.

    With the number of users and transactions going on in schools I see no benefit, I doubt even teaming NICs will make any difference.

    For now a 4GB RAM, dual core cpu and raid 1 or 5 storage system of 100GB or more should be perfectly fine.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I have to agree, there is no point going over 4 because of the 32bit limitations and SIMS doesn't work properly with x64

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    As the MIS system is possibly the most vital system in a school these days (second only to the Domain controller) I'd go for good redundancy. Redundant PSU and duel NICs for redundancy (not speed.) For storage I'd opt for 4 drives setup in 2 x RAID 1 systems. That's a pair of drives for the OS and programs, and a second pair of drives to hold the SQL data. A Higher spec duel core CPU should be fine, and I'd go for 4GB of decent RAM as it's pretty affordable.

    Personally I'd build all this based on an HP DL380, as in my experience they are some of the most reliable servers I've ever had the fortune to work with, and they come with a whole host of good monitoring utilities so you can always be sure of being alerted early if there's a problem with your SIMS server. This won't be the cheapest, but it will be one of the better setups you could choose.

    Mike

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    And what benefit will this provide precisely? Apart from needing a non supported version on windows (64 bit) and commercial ram disk software.
    I guess I wasn't being entirely serious at the time, but... it should be doable - have your system run 64-bit Linux, have 32-bit Windows as a VM and have Linux handle the RAM disk. RAM these days is so cheap compared to a few years ago, it seems a shame not to use it...

    Okay, if not a RAM disk, how do you convince SQL Server that it can use all the available RAM as a cache?

    --
    David Hicks

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I guess I wasn't being entirely serious at the time, but... it should be doable - have your system run 64-bit Linux, have 32-bit Windows as a VM and have Linux handle the RAM disk. RAM these days is so cheap compared to a few years ago, it seems a shame not to use it...

    Okay, if not a RAM disk, how do you convince SQL Server that it can use all the available RAM as a cache?

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    David Hicks
    Buy it.

    32 bit sql server standard and above will use more than 4GB on 2003 32 bit Enterprise or above. Sql express will only use 1GB max and a single core.

  12. Thanks to DMcCoy from:

    dhicks (1st August 2008)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    32 bit sql server standard and above will use more than 4GB on 2003 32 bit Enterprise or above. Sql express will only use 1GB max and a single core.
    Ah! Good to know, thanks.

    --
    David Hicks

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    We Have Terminal Services 64bit windows 2003R2 running Sims.net with SQL Enterprise server backend, the only problems we have at the moment which should be sorted by the end of this year is T4 which will be redundant hopefully. With 8Gb Ram it really rocks, very very quick and stable.
    Dell Power edge 2950 dual Quadcore intel 2.8Ghz, 8 Gb Ram, with dual nics and power, raid 1 for redundancy and speed.

    Only problem we have now is the teachers love the speed of it that much they prefer to use this than fat client with Sims as it is approx 10 seconds faster.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossman View Post
    We Have Terminal Services 64bit windows 2003R2 running Sims.net with SQL Enterprise server backend
    All on the one machine? I'd like to offer SIMS over Terminal Services, as that seems like the sensible & secure way to run it, but our current SIMS server is a dual-core, 4GB of RAM machine. I was planning to make that machine into a VM, move it to one of our VM servers, then use that original machine as a dedicated TS server - but you reckon it works okay with SIMS on the same machine as Terminal Services?

    --
    David Hicks

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    Our new database server has 8GB of RAM the 4GB upgrade kit only cost about £130.

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