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Build Advice Any servers nerds on BT?

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by modd1uk, 21 Jul 2021.

  1. modd1uk

    modd1uk Multimodder

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    Before I go writing out a detailed post for advice do we have any server nerds on here?

    After advice on buying vs building :O

    Thankssssssssssssssssssss
     
  2. andrew8200m

    andrew8200m Modder

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    Depends what it is for.. Some mini details om application and expectations of budget would be ideal so we can ruin expectations with reality and poke holes in to why you want to run a server rather an cloud service should it come to it :D
     
  3. MLyons

    MLyons 70% Dev, 30% Doge. DevDoge Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    we do. We also have a fair few over in the discord we actually consulted on the ones used for our servers.
     
  4. deathtaker27

    deathtaker27 #noob

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    There are plenty of us around here, though I did read BT as BT ISP not the Relix's home
     
  5. Votick

    Votick My CPU's hot but my core runs cold.

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    Yep Infrastructure guy here! I'm sure saspro still lurks too
     
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  6. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Server Guy checking in
     
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  7. modd1uk

    modd1uk Multimodder

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    Hello fellow nerds!

    I appreciate you taking the time to reply and offer advice, I'll try and keep it as simple as possible.

    It has to be Windows or they won't support the software :(

    We need a new server to run some software that only runs on Windows (dental software), there are 25 users initially that will slowly creep up, Server 2019 Standard seems to be the best option software wise even though it's pretty pricey especially when you start adding user CALS as Windows 10 won't allow all the connections will it?
    [​IMG]

    That's what the software company sent regarding Server specs. I've been eyeing up the Dell T140, Xeon E-2244G, 16GB RAM, 2x 1TB HDD's (won't get used), PERC H330 RAID controller, with Server 2019 Standard and 25 User CALS it comes to £2495.35 and I still need SSD's for it.

    I know "don't use consumer SSD's in a business environment" but the cost differences are mental, and I feel the life of something like an MX500 is worth a punt given we have a NAS backup anyway.

    Plan was 2x 500GB SSD's in RAID 1 for Windows, and 2x 2TB SSD's in RAID 1 for the data where the dental software will access, the difference SSD's make compared to spinning rust for users using the software is insane.

    Other option is build one, will it be cheaper? There are a few advantages I can think of like none proprietary connections for the PSU being one.

    Advice welcome, FWIW we've been running a Ryzen 1700 Server with an SSD for OS, SSD for DATA (No RAID AT ALL :O) and NAS RAID 1 backup for a number of years with 0 issues.

    Cheers folks!
     
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  8. andrew8200m

    andrew8200m Modder

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    Knowing what the software does and the expectations of the company who produce the software, have they noted that as a spec for the system that 25 users log in to and then some or is that an expectation on a general/standardised base of say 4 users for example?
     
  9. modd1uk

    modd1uk Multimodder

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    It says on the system requirements PDF " If you are running a large Dental Practice (more than 15+ users) consider scaling up the configuration."

    But given the Ryzen 1700 system has been running for a few years with no complaints I'd say a Xeon + SSD's was sufficient surely,
     
  10. deathtaker27

    deathtaker27 #noob

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    Just to add what are your backup plans for the server? How will you monitor it? Rto and rpo should help here to work out the right strategies

    Also do you have an existing server you could run a vm on?
     
  11. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Never put consumer SSD's in a production server, especially if there's RAID involved.

    Do you have a rack or does it need to be a tower?

    Based on their requirements, it seems like the fairly standard shitty Access Database with maybe a slightly less crappy front end (but I don't hold much hope for that).
    Does it have to be local to the office?
     
  12. sandys

    sandys Multimodder

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    The fact the spec is assuming RAID and suggesting more drivers would there be some requirement for database IOP performance as well as redundancy so you'd want to run a few drives in your RAID setup for a raid 10 or something rather than just a raid1, or is that old school thinking.
     
  13. modd1uk

    modd1uk Multimodder

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    Ow do folks. Backup is just on a NAS that's been perfect since it was installed, does nightly backups. We will be doing offsite backups to AWS once a week.

    Given how many people in the same business just run little shiddy servers I don't think it needs to be too overkill, staff just access a DB for bookings, dentists scan xrays in and add notes.

    We have a cabinet with plenty of space that can accommodate a rack or tower server. Yeah it has to be local.
     
    Last edited: 23 Jul 2021
  14. andrew8200m

    andrew8200m Modder

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    Plenty of user access by the sounds of it but low volume in terms of concurrent users.

    Enterprise level raid with redundancy is always useful for mirroring the database. I wouldn't go beyond that as you've mentioned a daily back up.

    I think a 4 core 8 thread will be a bit stretched, especially if you do end up with all 25+ users trying to access something at one time. I would personally look at an 8 core 16 thread with 32GB of ram and skimp elsewhere. Making sure the network is up to scratch. 2.5G in to a switch minimum really as you'll only have 100mb average with 25 users all in at once and that will feel pretty clunky.
     
  15. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    What about just sticking a vm in the cloud? It will make handling things like back up and redundancy easier and you can scale without the headache/cost of migrating hardware. That's very useful if you expect growth but can't predicate the rate of growth.

    Okay I missed this bit. Oh well
     
    Last edited: 23 Jul 2021
  16. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    After a bit of investigation in to the software (& realising it's probably the same software my dentist uses) I was right. It's a glorified Access Database (hence the overkill specs).

    So you're going to need clockspeed over cores and is why they're recommending SSD's as it means they don't need to fix their software to run at an acceptible speed (sorry, always rather cynical when it comes to little software vendors recommendations, I've worked with developers for too long).

    If you went for something like a DL380 Gen 10 with a couple of higher clockspeed 8 core CPU's (as you're licensed for up to 16 physical cores anyway) , 128-256GB RAM, a dual 10GB NIC, then add the extra 2x front HDD bays and add either Enterprise SSD's or a pile of 10k SAS drives in RAID 10 (with hot spares).
    Then run a hypervisor on it and run your app off a VM.

    Should give you the performance you need and plenty of scope for adding additional virtual machines in to the same budget.

    Now the above is at least £15k butis going to save you a load of hassle in the future.
     
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  17. andrew8200m

    andrew8200m Modder

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    2x to 4x the power output of what I was assuming would be the case for 25+ users. That software does sound rather inefficient..
     
  18. Pookie

    Pookie Illegitimi non carborundum

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    Samsung Pro SSDs are fine in HP Proliants Gen 8,9.10. Our HP rep admitted their drives are consumer models with bespoke firmware. Server 2019 Standard gives you one Bare Metal Install and 1 VM for you to use for production. Just use Veeam community edition for your backups.
     
  19. Kernel

    Kernel Likes cheese

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    Shame I didn't see this earlier, I've dealt with this software in a couple of places.
    The Exact Dental software isn't super resource intensive. It uses an ISAM DB over a relational DB. So no install of SQL, pervasive or the like.
    As it covers all the practice management and customer record retention (inc x-rays) it can get a little bloaty, and I would recommend running your OS on one Virtual RAID Disk and the DB data on another. If you're doing SSD do RAID 5 for the data, 1 gives you a mirror, but if your need to rebuild your user experience will be shot during the rebuild.

    Windows Server Standard permits you to install 2 VM's and a the HV role on the physical hardware.
    *I'm currently rechecking this, I'm thinking every company I've been worked for has been doing this wrong*
    - For what I can gather, this is correct. If your host is used sole for Hyper-V and management thereof, this doesn't consume one of your licenses. Recent SW thread regarding this. https://community.spiceworks.com/to...mpaign=item&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=channel
    I stand to be corrected on this, but I've seen this in place with 3 different companies who are MS Gold partners...

    Server Essentials allows for 1 VM and 1 HV install. In addition, essentials also includes CALs for up to 25 users so no additional cost for users, however this is a hard limit. It also has to be the only DC in the environment.
    For me I'd bite the bullet for cost and go standard with the required user CALs, as running the Exact Software on a different VM to your Domain Controller is preferable. (This comes from personal experience of dealing with this software, and also dealing with SoE)
    Also, don't get a PERC card without a cache battery. It's not worth it.

    If I was speccing this for a customer this is the minimum I would do
    https://dell.to/3miXcQb

    The larger chassis supports 2x PSU and the H730P Perc Cards.
    The storage in the link above is where I would build my Hyper-V server and the VM OS drives for the Domain Controller and 'App' Server, this would be in RAID1 Mirror

    I'd buy additional storage from ETB for the data https://www.etb-tech.com/dell-1-92tb-ssd-sata-2-5-6g-read-intensive-33r2t-new-pull.html - These are new pulls from servers they buy from Dell, they have a years warranty which is the same you'd get from Dell for a SATA SSD (They only do more on SAS drives). These would be in a RAID 5.

    DC VM would have 2-4 Cores and 6-8 GB RAM, App server would have 6-8 Cores and 10-16GB RAM.
    Install Veeam Community on the HV for backups.

    I've specced it with 35 user CALs so you don't have to harass them to pay for more as soon as they hire new staff 6 weeks down the line.
    Also 5 years warranty as I am sure they'll want to stretch out it's life

    N.B. I have recently put a new server in at a dentist that had had an existing Exact install who had half as many staff that you are doing and it was twice as much. (2 x CPUS, 2x RAM, more storage, plus some other bits, but they wanted redundancy and was doing a bit more with the server)

    Also get a half decent UPS. APC-Smart of some description, but for servers not desktops.

    If you want a proper quote for the Dell stuff, let me know we're a partner.
    In the grand scheme, I don't think £3500 for what you get is bad at all.
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2021

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