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Server Config Question
totalstranger May-16-02 11:07 AM
Hi everyone,

Been doing a lot of reading on this board, and it seems some of you guys have extensive experience with networking, servers, etc...

I'm currently designing a server for someone in the Securities industry. This machine will serve a database, as well as file/print sharing functions for a total of six people. This database is a marketing system that holds all client's personal and investment information, which as of now, totals a few hundred people and growing. Print functions will be pretty heavy, as this person's secretary frequently prints form letters/envelopes for clients and prospects. All six individuals will be constantly connected to the database throughout the day.

Now...with that out of the way....I was thinking of desiging a server (he doesn't want to spend a LOT of money..but enough for a capable machine) consisting of dual Athlon MP 2100+ processors, 1GB of PC2100, and dual 60GXP 60GB harddrives running RAID 1.

This is overkill for the amount of people using it, but thats is exactly what I'm going for. The guy's staff MAY grow one or two larger, but as of now, it'll stand at 6, including himself. I would like a little room for growth of both staff and his DB. My opinion on the print sharing is that if I were to run a single processor server, when his secretary fires up the form letters, it's gonna consume most or all CPU resources when the job is spooling and possibly crash the system. The database itself has run on a single processor server with no problem, so I'm not worried about his staff crashing it by accessing just the DB itself.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

1. RE: Server Config Question
lbyard May-16-02 11:55 AM
In response to message 0
>Now...with that out of the way....I was thinking of desiging a server (he doesn't want to spend a LOT of money..but enough for a capable machine) consisting of dual Athlon MP 2100+ processors, 1GB of PC2100, and dual 60GXP 60GB harddrives running RAID 1.

>This is overkill

No, it's probably gross overkill. I used to do this sort of thing with 286 processor, 32 Mbytes of memory (maybe it was 16), and a 30 MByte hard disk. Of course, I upgraded to faster machines as time went by. I have always seen too much emphasis on server horsepower for small business servers. You want the horsepower in the workstations unless, possibly, you are going to use an SQL engine and a very large database or something like that. How big do you think the database will be? What database engine are you going to use? I have and would, however, use two mirrored disks for data redundancy. That can be done with the server software if squeezed hard for funds, and it may present fewer problems. I have done it both ways: hardware and software. Some of the RAID controllers Iíve seen have been quite problematic. Larry

2. RE: Server Config Question
Twinhead May-17-02 01:11 AM
In response to message 0
LAST EDITED ON May-17-02 AT 01:13 AM (EST)
Indeed a VERY good Server...
But, verify that you gonna use a Dual processor capable NOS.
Win2kServer or WinXpServer would be needed.

For sability reasons, Set the 2100+ Mhz cpu's to 2000.
(Try to get a nice FSB/PCI/Mem ratio for good flow of data)
"Underclocking" wil give it just a bit more headroom.

If using HUBs please replace them with Switches!
ALso try to reconect the Hubs / Switches in another way so here is less traffic on the net.

I have seen much installations where Hubs and Switches are daisy chained.
(Switch1 to Switch2, Switch2 to Switch3, Switch3 to Switch4)
This is workable, but couses unecceceary traffic.

Example of my way to connect them as a Starpoint.
I assume Switches by default, Substitute Hub if needed.
This is my faforite way to connect hem:

4 Switches/hubs and their linkup:

Switch 1`(most on top)
port 1: Main Server (Straight thru cable)
Port 2: Port one of Switch 2 (Cross cable), First lower Switch
Port 3: Port one of Switch 3 (Cross cable), Second lower Switch
Port 4: Port one of Switch 4 (Cross cable), Third lower Switch
The rest of the ports are for the additional Servers, AND all 1st ports for Workstations.

Switch 2
Port 1: Comes from Switch 1 Port 2
Port 2...24: Workstations.

Switch 3
Port 1: Comes from Switch 1 Port 3
Port 2...24: Workstations.

Switch 4
Port 1: Comes from Switch 1 Port 4
Port 2...24: Workstations.

... And so on


Straight Thru cable, BOTH ends!

1 White/Green
2 Green
3 White/Orange
4 Blue
5 White/Blue
6 Orange
7 White/Brown
8 Brown

Crossover cable, ONE end is the A-type, The other is the B-type

1 White/Orange
2 Orange
3 White/Green
4 Blue
5 White/Blue
6 Green
7 White/Brown
8 Brown

3. RE: Server Config Question
Flavah May-19-02 04:22 AM
In response to message 2
I agree its overkill. But there is room for expansion.
With six users, going from a hub to a switch won't make much impact.
I've done a test on a hubbed network with about 20 machines and sent 64kB pings from all machines. Got it up to 100 utilization and there were NO collisions.

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

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