Could use some advice on DB server


G

Guest

Hello,

I have spent some time developing a multi-user database solution for the
small business I work for. Though currently incomplete, it has been deployed
in its current state to users who need it and is nearing the point where it
will be fully deployed to multiple users. I would imagine as many as 20
users may access this database at a given time; though it would be rare, and
is more likely to be in the neighborhood of 3-10 users at any given time. I
have Access 2k3 with developer extensions, and will be deploying the database
frontend to the users, and storing the backend on a server. Currently we
have a "virtual" server, just a standard Dell desktop with Windows XP small
business installed. The workstations all either have WinXP SB or WinXP Home
installed on them. My question is, what will I need to do to facilitate the
possibility of 20 (or, in an extreme unliklihood 25) simultaneous connections
to my database? We are a small business with a Dell contract. Using their
website as a guide, the recommended system is a beast, and would cost nearly
$7,000 with all recommended options for a database server (RAID 1, 2GB RAM,
etc.). So, I have a few questions, and any help would be appreciated greatly.

1. Will we need to purchase a server?
2. What options should we consider 'vital'?
3. How much RAM, what processor speed, etc.; should be utilized. Note that
we're willing to take a bump in performance when the system is at its full
20-25 user capacity.
4. What operating system will we need?
5. Will we need to purchase new workstations? Or just do some work with
our existing workstations?
6. Will deployment of this database, over an actual client/server network,
be far more difficult than deployment over the current LAN/virtual server
network?

Thank you greatly for your help.
 
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N

Norman Yuan

Some comments inline.


Vel. said:
Hello,

I have spent some time developing a multi-user database solution for the
small business I work for. Though currently incomplete, it has been deployed
in its current state to users who need it and is nearing the point where it
will be fully deployed to multiple users. I would imagine as many as 20
users may access this database at a given time; though it would be rare, and
is more likely to be in the neighborhood of 3-10 users at any given time. I
have Access 2k3 with developer extensions, and will be deploying the database
frontend to the users, and storing the backend on a server. Currently we
have a "virtual" server, just a standard Dell desktop with Windows XP small
business installed. The workstations all either have WinXP SB or WinXP
Home

WinXP small business? never heard of. For WinXP, either WinXP Pro, or WinXP
Home.
There is Win2000/2003 Server bundle for small business.
installed on them. My question is, what will I need to do to facilitate the
possibility of 20 (or, in an extreme unliklihood 25) simultaneous connections
to my database? We are a small business with a Dell contract. Using their
website as a guide, the recommended system is a beast, and would cost nearly
$7,000 with all recommended options for a database server (RAID 1, 2GB RAM,
etc.). So, I have a few questions, and any help would be appreciated greatly.

1. Will we need to purchase a server?

When talking about "Server", there are two meanings: server software and
server hardware. Which one are you talking? As for hardware, the server
computer, any computer can play the role, if only its power can handle the
work load and guarantee the data safety. It depends on how your business
runs, how much the business relies on electonic data, and so on.. As for
software server, there are application server software and operating system
server. What kind of network do you have? If you have more than 10 users
working on the same database, be it Access DB or other datbase SERVER, at
any given time, you need Windows Server (NT/2000/2003), Win2000/XP Pro has
built-in connection limit of 10.
2. What options should we consider 'vital'?
3. How much RAM, what processor speed, etc.; should be utilized. Note that
we're willing to take a bump in performance when the system is at its full
20-25 user capacity.

If only considering database, it depends on how the data is used. Say, if
the most process is reading, the same computer/database can handle a lot
more users than when the database is constantly updated by many concurrent
users. It is also depends on the database system design.
4. What operating system will we need?

Obvously, you are already on the MS boat, do you want to give it up entirely
and shift to, say, Lunix? You may stay with what you have (i.e all WinXP
Pro/Home on a peer-to-peer network, as long as there is no more than 10
users trying to get shared resources, database , documents, on one computer.
But, geting a Windows server (2K/2K3) and building a server/client network
will give you full controls on the network.
5. Will we need to purchase new workstations? Or just do some work with
our existing workstations?

Not sure. In term of the database use, I do not see the need, unless the
database app is fairly complicated that requires quite bit computing power
and the users are still using Pentinum100MHz
6. Will deployment of this database, over an actual client/server network,
be far more difficult than deployment over the current LAN/virtual server
network?

If you are talking Access database and Current LAN/Virtual server means
"perr-to-peer", then not much difference
 
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G

Guest

Thanks Norman,
WinXP small business? never heard of. For WinXP, either WinXP Pro, or WinXP
Home.
There is Win2000/2003 Server bundle for small business.
Yeah, my mistake, I meant WinXP Pro
When talking about "Server", there are two meanings: server software and
server hardware. Which one are you talking? As for hardware, the server
computer, any computer can play the role, if only its power can handle the
work load and guarantee the data safety. It depends on how your business
runs, how much the business relies on electonic data, and so on.. As for
software server, there are application server software and operating system
server. What kind of network do you have? If you have more than 10 users
working on the same database, be it Access DB or other datbase SERVER, at
any given time, you need Windows Server (NT/2000/2003), Win2000/XP Pro
has built-in connection limit of 10.

I was talking specifically about a server computer (hardware). There seem
to be many options for this route, and the Dell recommended system seemed to
be a bit much to me (not to mention the price). We need to break that
connection limit, as our current P2P network is inadequate.
If only considering database, it depends on how the data is used. Say, if
the most process is reading, the same computer/database can handle a lot
more users than when the database is constantly updated by many concurrent
users. It is also depends on the database system design.

The majority of use will be for reading; though I expect as many as six or
seven users may be updating/entering data at the same time. I've worked very
hard to avoid things which are notorious for bogging down Access databases,
as well as using various methods to increase the speed of the databases over
the server. Regardless of that, though, the database will be central to the
smooth operation of our business, so I assume that many of the safeguards
like raid and tape backup will probably be necessary.
Obvously, you are already on the MS boat, do you want to give it up entirely
and shift to, say, Lunix? You may stay with what you have (i.e all WinXP
Pro/Home on a peer-to-peer network, as long as there is no more than 10
users trying to get shared resources, database , documents, on one computer.
But, geting a Windows server (2K/2K3) and building a server/client network
will give you full controls on the network.

Yeah, I'm pretty comfortable with MS software, and was planning on going
with Windows Server 2K3 (though it is also quite expensive). By more
control, I assume you mean it will be easier to limit various user's access
to resources on the network?

Not sure. In term of the database use, I do not see the need, unless the
database app is fairly complicated that requires quite bit computing power
and the users are still using Pentinum100MHz

Good deal, though that's pretty much what I thought.
If you are talking Access database and Current LAN/Virtual server means
"perr-to-peer", then not much difference

Yep, that's what I mean. I was concerned about this in particular, as I
don't have much formal training on setting up a network (although I set the
current LAN here at work up right down to running the wire). I was afraid
that the Windows Server software would be complicated and confusing compared
to what I'm used to.

Thanks again for your help. It's very appreciated. Still, I'm curious what
you and/or others think about whether or not I'll need to purchase an actual
Server Computer (hardware) to facilitate my needs; and if so, if it needs to
be the $7,000 behemoth that Dell recommends.
 

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