Server Specs

I was wondering what kind of experience everyone has had on server specifications. We have a prospect with a nearly broken down server running MS access. All they use the server for is data storage (and of course it is their domain controller). We were thinking of going with just one server and have 2 raid configurations – one for the system and user stuff, and one for Navision. User count is less then 10. They don’t even use network printers, they have localized printers. Does anyone have any success/failure stories to share? Thanks

Suggested Hardware Guide Navision Server RAM – A rule of thumb to follow, but is not an absolute rule, is 1.5 MB of RAM per user + 10 MB of RAM per every 500 MB of database space + 32 MB of RAM for the Operating System. The next standard increment of RAM would 256 MB. So the Navision Server should be configured with 256 MB of RAM initially. The amount of suggested CACHE would then be set to 202 MB. If the CACHE setting is the same as the system RAM, then set the CACHE equal to the calculated amount minus the RAM required for the Operating System. H ard Drives – server is very dependant on disk reads and writes. The faster the disk setup, the faster the performance of the server process. This is probably where the biggest gains in server performance can be had. We suggest that a RAID 1 array be used with our database. RAID 1 provides the best redundancy for the system by duplicating each drive (Mirroring). Because of the way our Database Manager works, RAID 1 also allows our server to stripe the data over multiple drives. This permits the server to read and write data over multiple drives simultaneously, which results in better throughput. When putting together the RAID 1 array we suggest that you use the fastest drives and interface available ( ULTRA SCSI 3 15k RPM). Processor – We suggest that you get the fastest processor that the client can afford. We do not require multiple processors since the Navision server can not take advantage of it. Network – We suggest that a 100 Mb/s or faster network be utilized. For WAN connections we suggest the Citrix or Microsoft Terminal Services be used.

My opinion/experience … the least cost/best performance solution is to use a separate Win2k box without RAID. Configure it with a boot disk and second disk for Navision. Use an ExpandIT Navision backup to write a backup file to your domain controller overnight. RAID is a nice to have, but costs $$$ and performance. With drive failure rates as low as they are, a reliable 24 hour fallback manages risk effectively. I only use RAID on the domain controller/corporate network file server. We’re using a 1.2Ghz P3 with Wide Ultra3 SCSI to support 25 heavy Navision users with great performance. With unlimited $$$ the solution would be different, but given the economy in the last 3 years… this works and is affordable.

Hi Doug, ALWAYS use RAID 1 only. Also try to really stretch that budget and pay the extra $1,000 for a new server. Seriously though, for the type of scenario you describe where a client can’t spend a thousand bucks on a new server, one piece of advice from our Monty Python friends … … run away … (most of you read that with a silly accent right).

Unfortunantly, David, they don’t know their server is Broken [:)]. They have a PIII Server running back-office 4.5. The server takes LITERALLY 12-15 minutes to boot. When you press CTRL-ALT-DEL to log on - that takes 1.5 - 2 minutes. Scary. What is even MORE scary is that they think this is NORMAL!!!

Doug, Next time you visit them, sneak a sledge hammer in and break it! [:D] It’s typical that customers/prospects always look at how costs can be cut to reach the best deal. I think if you push the idea that this ‘new’ server is not only catering for today, but also for the next ‘n’ years - then they may be presuaded. [?] It’s worth a try. [;)]

do you want your client to be happy with the solution or not??? I think this is the only question you need to ask… Robert

Doug, sorry to say, but this might just be that customer that you let slip by. [:(]

They have no problem buying a server. What I was wondering is should they buy 1 and use as domain/navision or buy 2.


It’s always better to run nothing but normal system services on your DC’s, i.e. DNS, DHCP & Active Directory, use separate hardware for your allications & data. There’s no excuse to run everything on one box when you can run DC’s on a $300 PC in a small office. You know you don’t have enough RAM or CPU’s when you look inside the box and see empty slots. 1GB or certified RAM goes for about $250 bucks these days so there’s no reason someone should wait 15 minutes for a system to boot. My first thought when I read this was that this machine is probably busy thrashing (excessive paging) or has very, very heavily fragmented hard drives.


Originally posted by elimar
They have no problem buying a server. What I was wondering is should they buy 1 and use as domain/navision or buy 2.


You know you don’t have enough RAM or CPU’s when you look inside the box and see empty slots.

I’ll remember those words[:D]

Always use the two server configuration. As stated previously, for a small office, you really don’t need a super beefy machine for the domain, but just give it a lot of memory. The only justification for one server is if the business is extremely small.