+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 33
MIS Systems Thread, SIMS Server Hardware for a large School in Technical; We have 1800 students, 750 computers & 300 members of staff. We are blessed with Capita coming on site next ...
  1. #1
    Johan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    26
    Thank Post
    7
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    SIMS Server Hardware for a large School

    We have 1800 students, 750 computers & 300 members of staff.

    We are blessed with Capita coming on site next month to help us move our SIMS databases onto a new server, with a fresh setup.

    Not wanting to waste this opportunity, I want to buy a new server to run it on, to ensure that SIMS runs as quickly as we can reasonably make it (the reality is it'll have to be an Ebay special). Capita have advised 2008 64bit enterprise for the OS, but am unsure how much server power will be needed.

    Are their any IT geeks from large schools who already have a good setup that runs well? Our current server spends most of the day at 90-100% CPU usage.

    Kind regards,
    John.
    Last edited by ChrisH; 31st January 2011 at 10:37 PM.

  2. #2

    glennda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    7,799
    Thank Post
    272
    Thanked 1,134 Times in 1,030 Posts
    Rep Power
    349
    If you have to go ebay you could get something like this
    HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2 x Quad-Core 8Gb 2U Rack Server on eBay (end time 04-Feb-11 12:11:03 GMT)


    But all depends on your budget - if you could give us more detail into what you have now would be great

    Mines Currently a VM but have 4 cpu's and 10gb of ram. Running Server 2k8 R2 64bit
    Last edited by glennda; 31st January 2011 at 10:01 AM.

  3. #3
    Johan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    26
    Thank Post
    7
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    We have a 2 & dual core @ 2.992 Ghz, with 16 GB ram. RAID 6 HDD (the HDDs are slow and rubbish though).

    Realistically we can afford 2-3k, but could go beyond that if needed/justified. I really just want to get it right!

  4. #4

    glennda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    7,799
    Thank Post
    272
    Thanked 1,134 Times in 1,030 Posts
    Rep Power
    349
    Quote Originally Posted by Johan View Post
    We have a 2 & dual core @ 2.992 Ghz, with 16 GB ram. RAID 6 HDD (the HDDs are slow and rubbish though).

    Realistically we can afford 2-3k, but could go beyond that if needed/justified. I really just want to get it right!
    What make/model - as if you are trying to do on the cheap you may be able to reuse the Ram and maybe replace in a year or two as that will save a fortune

  5. Thanks to glennda from:

    Johan (31st January 2011)

  6. #5
    Johan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    26
    Thank Post
    7
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Dell 1900, not sure on memory itself. It currently is running VMware ESXi (which makes it tricker to find details).

    Ideally, a Dell server with a remaining warranty.

    The thing that I am really unsure on is how much power will I need given the size of the school?

  7. #6
    adhutton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northeast England
    Posts
    399
    Thank Post
    164
    Thanked 86 Times in 64 Posts
    Rep Power
    54
    Someone from ITSS recently sent me this specifications sheet for SIMS (attached), it may help.

    Andrew

    sims_hardware_spec.pdf

  8. Thanks to adhutton from:

    vikpaw (31st January 2011)

  9. #7
    Johan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    26
    Thank Post
    7
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    That is extremely useful, thank you. Processing power is surprisingly high, will focus on this!

    Kind regards,
    John.

  10. #8
    DMcCoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    3,424
    Thank Post
    10
    Thanked 488 Times in 428 Posts
    Rep Power
    111
    If you spec two physical CPUs and lots of RAM you had better use the full version of SQL rather than express, otherwise quite a lot of hardware is going to be sat there doing nothing.

  11. #9

    glennda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    7,799
    Thank Post
    272
    Thanked 1,134 Times in 1,030 Posts
    Rep Power
    349
    Quote Originally Posted by Johan View Post
    Dell 1900, not sure on memory itself. It currently is running VMware ESXi (which makes it tricker to find details).

    Ideally, a Dell server with a remaining warranty.

    The thing that I am really unsure on is how much power will I need given the size of the school?

    Ah okay - i'm guessing the VM doesn't have all the resources the physical box has?

    Also how big is the sims database - as i would try and give it alot more ram then the size of the database. So the Sql process can cache the entire database which will make it a lot faster.

    I don't have much experience with the Dell Hardware as I am an HP man but something with either Dual Quad Core and probably double the size of the sims database size in Ram - This means the entire database can sit in the Ram which makes the queries from the client alot faster rather then having to read from the disks.

    Plus as Dmcoy says you will need the full sql License - around 75 on a schools agreement plus cals

  12. #10
    Johan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    26
    Thank Post
    7
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Thank you. We already have full SQL, and suspect you are right about the RAM/CPU. The DB is 5GB, so suspect 8 x 3ghz core & 16gb RAM should do well!

    Kind regards,
    John.

  13. #11

    vikpaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Saudi Arabia
    Posts
    5,848
    Thank Post
    671
    Thanked 1,383 Times in 1,145 Posts
    Rep Power
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by Johan View Post
    Thank you. We already have full SQL, and suspect you are right about the RAM/CPU. The DB is 5GB, so suspect 8 x 3ghz core & 16gb RAM should do well!

    Kind regards,
    John.
    Sounds good, though even with the old server and lower spec', i'm surprised you were constantly at 90%. That's some serious usage.
    Will you virtualise on this new server too? Makes sense to, and get a nice snapshot, once they've commissioned it, so that you can fall back.
    I'd go with Windows 2008 R2, since it's supported now, and saves you needing to update later on.
    Haven't spec'ed servers for a while, but can't you get something new for 3k, especially if you can up the budget a little. May as well get something decent up front, and if you're virtualising, you can maybe put another service on there too.

    BTW: 1500 students, 200+ staff, probably 500 PCs. IBM blade dual quad core, vmware sphere, giving 4 cpu, 10gb RAM. Win2k3, SQL 2k8 at the moment. It can sometimes be a bit laggy/slow, but resources are fine.
    Last edited by vikpaw; 31st January 2011 at 10:38 PM. Reason: addition

  14. #12
    Johan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    26
    Thank Post
    7
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    We use VMware ESXi (yes the free version) extensively. However, given the performance issues we have, I want to make use of all 8 cores for the one virtual server. I would love to keep it on a VM platform, but the enterprise plus version is seemingly 600 a physical CPU & from what I understand, is what I would need!

    Interestingly we did see an IBM blade, totalling about 20 CPUs and 40gb of RAM & inbuilt cisco switch. Whilst an amasing beast, I decided that they would probably be an extra level of complexity to learn & configure before Capita arrive next month.

  15. #13
    Butuz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Wales, UK
    Posts
    1,579
    Thank Post
    211
    Thanked 220 Times in 176 Posts
    Rep Power
    63
    Realistically all you need is 2 x Quad Core CPUs, 16GB of RAM (so you can fit your entire SIMS DB in RAM) and 4 x 10/15,000RPM SAS drives in RAID 10. Run Win2008 64 bit.

    That should be fine.

    Butuz

  16. #14

    3s-gtech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    2,711
    Thank Post
    144
    Thanked 548 Times in 492 Posts
    Rep Power
    149
    I've never seen the SIMS server take up that much processing power really. We have an HP server with 4GB of RAM (32bit OS) and a quad core 2GHz Xeon, so well under their recommended now. We only have 75 or so concurrent users at most though. Running SQL Express 2008. CPU useage is never above 25%, and tends to stay less than 10%. I know Express doesn't make the most of the hardware, but the workstation performance is pretty good. I'm more tempted to put SSDs in it than upgrade outright, though it has another 4GB of RAM waiting for a 64bit OS upgrade.

  17. #15

    vikpaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Saudi Arabia
    Posts
    5,848
    Thank Post
    671
    Thanked 1,383 Times in 1,145 Posts
    Rep Power
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by Johan View Post
    We use VMware ESXi (yes the free version) extensively. However, given the performance issues we have, I want to make use of all 8 cores for the one virtual server. I would love to keep it on a VM platform, but the enterprise plus version is seemingly 600 a physical CPU & from what I understand, is what I would need!

    Interestingly we did see an IBM blade, totalling about 20 CPUs and 40gb of RAM & inbuilt cisco switch. Whilst an amasing beast, I decided that they would probably be an extra level of complexity to learn & configure before Capita arrive next month.
    Worth evaluating exactly what features you need, though. We have Advanced version and though we don't gain much because we've saturated our blades, we still get better performance, snapshotting (a god send) and a degree of failover. It's not particularly fault tolerant but could be in the future.

    It's worth looking in to VMWare Essentials which is very cheap, but does limit you somewhat, on procs, cores etc, but you don't need to have 8 virtual cores, trust me, lots of people run on much less than that. I spoke to a guy at BETT that is running very happily with Essentials.

    There is also Essentials Plus, which has extra features. Look into it. The biggest thing to bear in mind is that it's fixed to 3 servers only, as it's aimed at SMBs. If you need to expand more than that, you would have to buy a regular licence, and either keep the 3 Essential systems as they are stand alone in their own management group or relicence them under whichever package you choose.

    VMware Online Store - Buy VMware vSphere Essentials Bundle for Server Consolidation
    VMware Online Store - Buy VMware vSphere Essentials Bundle for Server Consolidation

    1st link should be for Essentials, 2nd for Essentials Plus.

    Also, it's only 1 kit each, so you can't keep buying them. This is all based on talks with our rep' last April time.
    Last edited by vikpaw; 1st February 2011 at 11:46 AM. Reason: clarity

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. SIMS, new server, small school, ESXi?
    By contink in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 13th March 2010, 11:33 AM
  2. Advice for projector and IWB in large school hall.
    By Kyle in forum How do you do....it?
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 14th November 2008, 08:46 AM
  3. Hardware Recommendations for School Server
    By Maximus in forum Hardware
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 27th February 2008, 08:02 PM
  4. large sims directory
    By Uraken in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 30th October 2007, 02:28 PM
  5. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 2nd May 2007, 07:55 AM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •