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Putting together a Lower-Mid End Server



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 10th 04, 03:03 PM
Arifi Koseoglu
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Putting together a Lower-Mid End Server

Hello everyone,

I am planning to "build" a "Server" for my small office use and need some
advice. One thing I know is that the Mobo will be Asus (no different brand
since the SP3G).

The outline of the configuration in my mind is like:

Single CPU in a dual-ready system.
1G DDR (possibly will end up with 2G)
Serial ATA in mirroring RAID config. (only reason for NOT SCSI: Too
expensive)
Intel (or AMD ??) cpu

Which ASUS MOBO? Which ASUS/Other components ?

The server will be running MSSQL server on WIndows 2000 or 2003 Server, and
storing + indexing user documents. ( 10 users)

Many thanks in advance,
-arifi


  #2  
Old February 10th 04, 04:20 PM
Roger Hamlett
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Arifi Koseoglu" wrote in message
...
Hello everyone,

I am planning to "build" a "Server" for my small office use and need some
advice. One thing I know is that the Mobo will be Asus (no different brand
since the SP3G).

The outline of the configuration in my mind is like:

Single CPU in a dual-ready system.
1G DDR (possibly will end up with 2G)
Serial ATA in mirroring RAID config. (only reason for NOT SCSI: Too
expensive)
Intel (or AMD ??) cpu

Which ASUS MOBO? Which ASUS/Other components ?

The server will be running MSSQL server on WIndows 2000 or 2003 Server,

and
storing + indexing user documents. ( 10 users)

Many thanks in advance,
-arifi

For Intel, only the Xeon's support SMP. Hence if you consider 'dual ready'
to be important, it rules out the P4 boards. Do some 'research'. Set up an
existing 'workstation' machine to do at least part of the same job, and run
PerfMon. Set it to record processor, memory, and disk activity. I would not
be at all suprised, if you find that the CPU useage is low, but rises
significantly when running indexing tasks. Typically, disk activity will be
the 'killer' (consider using a seperate drive to store the indexes, and the
OS itself. A failure here will not lose data, and the performance gain can
be massive. Serial ATA, gains basically _nothing_, unless used with drives
that intrinsically have better hardware performance than their normal IDE
versions. The only drives that do this at the moment, are the WD Raptor
models. Also look carefully at memory useage.
Beware that many IDE drives, now have only one year warranties. This
reflects how cheaply they are built (the Raptors are more comparable with
base end SCSI drives, and have five year warranties).
The AMD Opteron's, perform excellently, and run cool. If you think you
application might expand in the future, consider these.

Best Wishes


  #3  
Old February 11th 04, 08:31 AM
Tim
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Arifi,

Any of the most recent P4 boards should be OK.
As Roger says, if you want duals you will have to go Xeon or Opteron.

Running perfmon is a very good idea: try and get to know it well enough to
trace the load placed by SQL Server vs. the rest.
Normally SQL Server will place a small load only - if the DB is well
designed and has proper indexes. It is quite possible for a SQL Server DB to
show disgusting performance if it runs with poor indexes, poor statistics
(poor mans indexes), or is badly designed.

The point is: for SQL Server a 1.6GHz machine should be overkill in the
extreme particularly with that amount of memory - a 2.x GHz machine will be
95% or more idle 95% or more of the time (both should be). I have a customer
on dual Pentium Pros still with 25 users plodding along.

The indexing workload is an unknown. If it is from documents your staff
create and the occasional one received then this too should be light once
the indexes are built. On the other hand if you receive them in volume or
they are odd or.... who knows? Perfmon will tell you.

A dual is probably overkill, but it is a nice idea. SQL Server runs
beautifully on duals (quads etc) and gives an extremely smooth experience.
Given the grunt of the current P4 chips, a dual is probably of little
benefit for the expenditure. Save the dosh and get a good tape backup system
for OFF SITE security. (customer got burgled recently, server stolen).

Essential:

Mirrored Drives
Don't sell yourself short on RAM - each MB of ram is 1 MB less of disc IO's
somewhere. 1GB should be enough........

Backup System? NTBackup should be OK (disc to disc or disc to tape). You can
create scheduled backups to backup your SQL Server DB's disc to disc then
copy the backups to tape. If you had Exchange in there then NT Backup will
hook directly into that as well. There are a lot of backup software products
out the buy one if you can afford one AFTER you have justified and
purchased a tape drive that can do a 100% copy of your system to tape every
day onto one tape & take it off site. Be aware tho, people have had just as
much trouble with 3rd party 'reputable' backup products trying to restore
Windows 2000 or later systems as they have had with NT Backup - worth
rehearsing if you have time.

So the obvious statement: if you don't have SBS2000 or later and are buying
server software, then look at it now as you get Exchange and ISA Server more
or less for nothing. It is easy to set up (I say tongue in cheek - there is
an excellent MS newsgroup for it).

Gigabit Ethernet! Even if your switch doesn't support it yet 'cos the rest
of the world will catch up.

Since it is a server, then running 24 x 7 is likely, so consider ECC memory.
ECC - reliability against single bit memory failures which in 1GB happen
more often than you would like.
ECC - also easier to add more memory later (I think it has to be registered
ECC for that to happen).

The raptor drives work great as a mirror on SATA. If you got a P4C800 this
would deliver the goods as it supports ECC too, has gigabit ethernet and
SATA raid.

I have some customers running SBS2000 with Exchange, SQL Server, ISA Server
(firewall), file sharing. One is on a P4P800 with mirrored raptors (1GB
RAM), another mirrored WD IDE Discs. Both ECC. All Asus.

- Tim




"Arifi Koseoglu" wrote in message
...
Hello everyone,

I am planning to "build" a "Server" for my small office use and need some
advice. One thing I know is that the Mobo will be Asus (no different brand
since the SP3G).

The outline of the configuration in my mind is like:

Single CPU in a dual-ready system.
1G DDR (possibly will end up with 2G)
Serial ATA in mirroring RAID config. (only reason for NOT SCSI: Too
expensive)
Intel (or AMD ??) cpu

Which ASUS MOBO? Which ASUS/Other components ?

The server will be running MSSQL server on WIndows 2000 or 2003 Server,

and
storing + indexing user documents. ( 10 users)

Many thanks in advance,
-arifi




  #4  
Old February 19th 04, 07:54 AM
Arifi Koseoglu
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Hello again, and thanks for all the information. I think I will go for a
single-CPU and IDE or SATA RAID.

New Questions:
1. What is the difference between the 3 P4C800 models? (P4C800 - P4C800
Deluxe - P4C800-E) I could not conclude anything from the specs...
2. Similarly, what is the difference between the P4P800 and P4P800-Deluxe
3. How does the P4R800-V Deluxe Rank amont the ones above?

Again, many thanks in advance and cheers,
-arifi


"Tim" wrote in message ...
Arifi,

Any of the most recent P4 boards should be OK.
As Roger says, if you want duals you will have to go Xeon or Opteron.

Running perfmon is a very good idea: try and get to know it well enough to
trace the load placed by SQL Server vs. the rest.
Normally SQL Server will place a small load only - if the DB is well
designed and has proper indexes. It is quite possible for a SQL Server DB

to
show disgusting performance if it runs with poor indexes, poor statistics
(poor mans indexes), or is badly designed.

The point is: for SQL Server a 1.6GHz machine should be overkill in the
extreme particularly with that amount of memory - a 2.x GHz machine will

be
95% or more idle 95% or more of the time (both should be). I have a

customer
on dual Pentium Pros still with 25 users plodding along.

The indexing workload is an unknown. If it is from documents your staff
create and the occasional one received then this too should be light once
the indexes are built. On the other hand if you receive them in volume or
they are odd or.... who knows? Perfmon will tell you.

A dual is probably overkill, but it is a nice idea. SQL Server runs
beautifully on duals (quads etc) and gives an extremely smooth experience.
Given the grunt of the current P4 chips, a dual is probably of little
benefit for the expenditure. Save the dosh and get a good tape backup

system
for OFF SITE security. (customer got burgled recently, server stolen).

Essential:

Mirrored Drives
Don't sell yourself short on RAM - each MB of ram is 1 MB less of disc

IO's
somewhere. 1GB should be enough........

Backup System? NTBackup should be OK (disc to disc or disc to tape). You

can
create scheduled backups to backup your SQL Server DB's disc to disc then
copy the backups to tape. If you had Exchange in there then NT Backup will
hook directly into that as well. There are a lot of backup software

products
out the buy one if you can afford one AFTER you have justified and
purchased a tape drive that can do a 100% copy of your system to tape

every
day onto one tape & take it off site. Be aware tho, people have had just

as
much trouble with 3rd party 'reputable' backup products trying to restore
Windows 2000 or later systems as they have had with NT Backup - worth
rehearsing if you have time.

So the obvious statement: if you don't have SBS2000 or later and are

buying
server software, then look at it now as you get Exchange and ISA Server

more
or less for nothing. It is easy to set up (I say tongue in cheek - there

is
an excellent MS newsgroup for it).

Gigabit Ethernet! Even if your switch doesn't support it yet 'cos the rest
of the world will catch up.

Since it is a server, then running 24 x 7 is likely, so consider ECC

memory.
ECC - reliability against single bit memory failures which in 1GB happen
more often than you would like.
ECC - also easier to add more memory later (I think it has to be

registered
ECC for that to happen).

The raptor drives work great as a mirror on SATA. If you got a P4C800 this
would deliver the goods as it supports ECC too, has gigabit ethernet and
SATA raid.

I have some customers running SBS2000 with Exchange, SQL Server, ISA

Server
(firewall), file sharing. One is on a P4P800 with mirrored raptors (1GB
RAM), another mirrored WD IDE Discs. Both ECC. All Asus.

- Tim




"Arifi Koseoglu" wrote in message
...
Hello everyone,

I am planning to "build" a "Server" for my small office use and need

some
advice. One thing I know is that the Mobo will be Asus (no different

brand
since the SP3G).

The outline of the configuration in my mind is like:

Single CPU in a dual-ready system.
1G DDR (possibly will end up with 2G)
Serial ATA in mirroring RAID config. (only reason for NOT SCSI: Too
expensive)
Intel (or AMD ??) cpu

Which ASUS MOBO? Which ASUS/Other components ?

The server will be running MSSQL server on WIndows 2000 or 2003 Server,

and
storing + indexing user documents. ( 10 users)

Many thanks in advance,
-arifi






  #5  
Old February 19th 04, 07:55 AM
Arifi Koseoglu
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Hello again, and thanks for all the information. I think I will go for a
single-CPU and IDE or SATA RAID.

New Questions:
1. What is the difference between the 3 P4C800 models? (P4C800 - P4C800
Deluxe - P4C800-E) I could not conclude anything from the specs...
2. Similarly, what is the difference between the P4P800 and P4P800-Deluxe
3. How does the P4R800-V Deluxe Rank amont the ones above?

Again, many thanks in advance and cheers,
-arifi


"Tim" wrote in message ...
Arifi,

Any of the most recent P4 boards should be OK.
As Roger says, if you want duals you will have to go Xeon or Opteron.

Running perfmon is a very good idea: try and get to know it well enough to
trace the load placed by SQL Server vs. the rest.
Normally SQL Server will place a small load only - if the DB is well
designed and has proper indexes. It is quite possible for a SQL Server DB

to
show disgusting performance if it runs with poor indexes, poor statistics
(poor mans indexes), or is badly designed.

The point is: for SQL Server a 1.6GHz machine should be overkill in the
extreme particularly with that amount of memory - a 2.x GHz machine will

be
95% or more idle 95% or more of the time (both should be). I have a

customer
on dual Pentium Pros still with 25 users plodding along.

The indexing workload is an unknown. If it is from documents your staff
create and the occasional one received then this too should be light once
the indexes are built. On the other hand if you receive them in volume or
they are odd or.... who knows? Perfmon will tell you.

A dual is probably overkill, but it is a nice idea. SQL Server runs
beautifully on duals (quads etc) and gives an extremely smooth experience.
Given the grunt of the current P4 chips, a dual is probably of little
benefit for the expenditure. Save the dosh and get a good tape backup

system
for OFF SITE security. (customer got burgled recently, server stolen).

Essential:

Mirrored Drives
Don't sell yourself short on RAM - each MB of ram is 1 MB less of disc

IO's
somewhere. 1GB should be enough........

Backup System? NTBackup should be OK (disc to disc or disc to tape). You

can
create scheduled backups to backup your SQL Server DB's disc to disc then
copy the backups to tape. If you had Exchange in there then NT Backup will
hook directly into that as well. There are a lot of backup software

products
out the buy one if you can afford one AFTER you have justified and
purchased a tape drive that can do a 100% copy of your system to tape

every
day onto one tape & take it off site. Be aware tho, people have had just

as
much trouble with 3rd party 'reputable' backup products trying to restore
Windows 2000 or later systems as they have had with NT Backup - worth
rehearsing if you have time.

So the obvious statement: if you don't have SBS2000 or later and are

buying
server software, then look at it now as you get Exchange and ISA Server

more
or less for nothing. It is easy to set up (I say tongue in cheek - there

is
an excellent MS newsgroup for it).

Gigabit Ethernet! Even if your switch doesn't support it yet 'cos the rest
of the world will catch up.

Since it is a server, then running 24 x 7 is likely, so consider ECC

memory.
ECC - reliability against single bit memory failures which in 1GB happen
more often than you would like.
ECC - also easier to add more memory later (I think it has to be

registered
ECC for that to happen).

The raptor drives work great as a mirror on SATA. If you got a P4C800 this
would deliver the goods as it supports ECC too, has gigabit ethernet and
SATA raid.

I have some customers running SBS2000 with Exchange, SQL Server, ISA

Server
(firewall), file sharing. One is on a P4P800 with mirrored raptors (1GB
RAM), another mirrored WD IDE Discs. Both ECC. All Asus.

- Tim




"Arifi Koseoglu" wrote in message
...
Hello everyone,

I am planning to "build" a "Server" for my small office use and need

some
advice. One thing I know is that the Mobo will be Asus (no different

brand
since the SP3G).

The outline of the configuration in my mind is like:

Single CPU in a dual-ready system.
1G DDR (possibly will end up with 2G)
Serial ATA in mirroring RAID config. (only reason for NOT SCSI: Too
expensive)
Intel (or AMD ??) cpu

Which ASUS MOBO? Which ASUS/Other components ?

The server will be running MSSQL server on WIndows 2000 or 2003 Server,

and
storing + indexing user documents. ( 10 users)

Many thanks in advance,
-arifi






  #6  
Old February 19th 04, 08:40 AM
Philip Callan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Arifi Koseoglu wrote:

| Hello again, and thanks for all the information. I think I will go for a
| single-CPU and IDE or SATA RAID.
|
| New Questions:
| 1. What is the difference between the 3 P4C800 models? (P4C800 - P4C800
| Deluxe - P4C800-E) I could not conclude anything from the specs...

You need to dig a little deeper than the top page sometimes.

P4C800:
i875P Chipset, but 3com NIC, onboard audio ad1985

P4C800-Deluxe:
Same as above PLUS:
Multiple RAID (2 SATA Ports, + Promise IDE), Firewire, still 3com
onboard NIC.

P4C800-E Deluxe:
Same as Above PLUS:
Multiple RAID (4 SATA ports + Promise IDE), Firewire, onboard intel
gigabit w/CSA, and PAT

| 2. Similarly, what is the difference between the P4P800 and P4P800-Deluxe

P4P800:
Intel 865PE Chipset
SATA RAID, onboard ad1985 audio.

P4P800-Delux:
Same as above PLUS:
VIA IDE RAID, Firewire

| 3. How does the P4R800-V Deluxe Rank amont the ones above?

Its a castrated board, using a nice RAdeon 9100 IGP, and tv out etc, to
be a home theatre PC, it uses a different chipset, and I wont begin to
detail my opinion of non-intel chipset boards for high-end cpu's.

For a Server, depending on the amount of data, and how critical it is, I
would at least go for the P4C800-Deluxe, as it will allow you to have
multiple RAID arrays at once for reliability/redundancy in even of
failure, but if the customer is paying, get them the P4C800-E and assure
them that their hardware is going to be going strong for quite a while,
and the 'foreseeable' upgrade path with Prescott is none to shabby

hth
Philip
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