Give me your thoughts on my plan

spotdog14

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Ok, I was contacted by my Vet's office because they had a "serious computer problem." I have spoken with him in the past about upgrading some of his hardware (I use to do IT work but now are an HR Manager).

This is how they had it setup:
Computer 1:
Ran Quickbooks
Hosted Avimark software

Computer 2:
Ran Avimark software from Computer 1

The reason they called was because Computer 1 died. I was able to salvage the HDD out of it and throw it into Computer 2 (identical computers) and get QB and Avimark up and running.

Here is my proposal, get two new workstations, and a "server." Have the two workstations pull everything from the server since Avimark can be run without anything locally installed and the same for QB. As for the server I just told them to get a computer with Win7 Pro and about 6 gb RAM. Also I want to recommend some type of backup system with an external HDD for the server.

First a little about the office, they don't have internet access and they have a small budget (btw I am doing this for free of course). On Monday we went and got two new HP desktops running Win7 Home Premium and I have them setup as workstations and the one remaining old pc running as the server for now.

This weekend what I want to do is go out and get a pretty decent Win7 Pro machine, load everything off the old computer onto this and have that setup as the new server with some type of backup system running on it to an external HDD.

What do you think of this setup? Should I do anything else, or differently? They have about 70 gigs of data right now. Ill tell you its hard to install printer drivers for Win7 without internet access.

The only problem I have run into so far is QB Pro 2k7 is running really slow on the workstations (with everything running locally not off of a server). Any thoughts as to why its so slow?

Thanks for any comments or what not, I want to make sure I am doing the right things here, I have been out of practice for a while.
 

Menelmarar

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They should seriously consider getting a broadband connection and utilizing Mozy/Carbonite for backup. Initially it'll take awhile, but faster after that.

External, or secondary internal hdd on server is great for backup. Doesn't protect from theft, natural disaster, etc.

Does a server with only two workstations need that much resource? 6GB RAM? I wouldn't think so.

Win7 has a really good built in backup utility. For third party, Cobian is really nice and free.
 

spotdog14

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They should seriously consider getting a broadband connection and utilizing Mozy/Carbonite for backup. Initially it'll take awhile, but faster after that.

External, or secondary internal hdd on server is great for backup. Doesn't protect from theft, natural disaster, etc.

Does a server with only two workstations need that much resource? 6GB RAM? I wouldn't think so.

Win7 has a really good built in backup utility. For third party, Cobian is really nice and free.
I would agree with you about the specs for the server, but look at the damn Avimark hardware requirements..

http://www.avimark.net/gtka/hardware-requirements

Crazy!

BTW that program WAS running on a 1 Ghz computer with 512mb of RAM...

As for the internet, they have had problems with employees in the past and the internet. As well as its just another cost that they do not need. I will make sure he takes a backup HDD off site once a month. So you think I will be fine with the built in Win7 backup software?
 

marley1

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wow crazy specs.

2 machines dont need server.

What I would do, pick up 2 Dell Vostro 430 Fastrack - Core I5, Win 7 Pro (may be 32bit)
Make 1 machine sever, make other workstation
On server, host the qb and the database for the program
On workstation point over my documents to a share on the other side so they share documents
For backup, pick up 2 external portable hard drive.
Use daily Win7 Backup, have them swap.

Dont need server.

Is the vet doing digital xray?
 

YeOldeStonecat

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For just 2x PCs..yeah it's hard to justify a dedicated server.
Many times I've taken a beefy workstation...and using a 2nd hard drive (2nd spindle....vastly increased performance for shares).
Although I'd lean towards something more of an Optiplex 780 class over a Vostro. :D

And yeah, newer versions of Quickbooks are absolute pigs. Just talk to Avimark and get their blessing first.
 

marley1

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Vostro Fastrack is great deal, Core i5 and 4GB with 3 year warranty is under 900.
Optiplex Fastrack is around that price with Core 2 Duo 3Ghz and 2GB.

Dont battle me with Dell =P

Both machine are almost same internal if not hte same.

You gonna buy that videocard and stand or what? =)
 

spotdog14

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wow crazy specs.

2 machines dont need server.

What I would do, pick up 2 Dell Vostro 430 Fastrack - Core I5, Win 7 Pro (may be 32bit)
Make 1 machine sever, make other workstation
On server, host the qb and the database for the program
On workstation point over my documents to a share on the other side so they share documents
For backup, pick up 2 external portable hard drive.
Use daily Win7 Backup, have them swap.

Dont need server.

Is the vet doing digital xray?

For just 2x PCs..yeah it's hard to justify a dedicated server.
Many times I've taken a beefy workstation...and using a 2nd hard drive (2nd spindle....vastly increased performance for shares).
Although I'd lean towards something more of an Optiplex 780 class over a Vostro. :D

And yeah, newer versions of Quickbooks are absolute pigs. Just talk to Avimark and get their blessing first.

Vostro Fastrack is great deal, Core i5 and 4GB with 3 year warranty is under 900.
Optiplex Fastrack is around that price with Core 2 Duo 3Ghz and 2GB.

Dont battle me with Dell =P

Both machine are almost same internal if not hte same.

You gonna buy that videocard and stand or what? =)

The reason that I would like to have a server (actually just a decently spec'ed workstation) is in-case this happens again the workstations would pretty much be plug and play with the server (just add the shares and go). What we are trying to do is get away from what we had before. Also the "server" is going to be in a different room and is going to be headless (only accessed via remote desktop) so it will be in a cleaner office and not getting kicked every day on the floor.
 

marley1

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just so you know, dell equipment is next business day, so if you need parts you are covered, the win7 backup will allow you to restore.

if you awnt to add a dedicated server, look at the Dell T110 with the 3 year. Raid 1 SATA or SAS would be fine. Server 08 if 64bit, join em to domain.

But I dont think its necessary. If you just want a spare machine, grab aother Dell deal machine and youc an always swap drives over.

The VET office we have is much bigger so we have a SBS 08 box.

If its in the budget for them grab a server, but you will spend about 2000 or more.
 

InvisiBill

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The reason that I would like to have a server (actually just a decently spec'ed workstation) is in-case this happens again the workstations would pretty much be plug and play with the server (just add the shares and go). What we are trying to do is get away from what we had before. Also the "server" is going to be in a different room and is going to be headless (only accessed via remote desktop) so it will be in a cleaner office and not getting kicked every day on the floor.

I tend to agree with this. Even if you don't need the beefiness of a separate server to meet the app's requirements, it can be nice to have the server isolated from a general user PC. Obviously their level of access to the app's share could allow for issues, but this way a problem on one of the PCs isn't inherently a problem on the app's "server".

It's really easy for a PC-turned-server to turn into a huge mess when something happens to the user's PC or the roles change and they start using the PC for something else, etc. With hardware being relatively cheap nowadays, the extra cost for a separate machine might pay for itself the first time there's a problem. Obviously this is less likely without internet access and with free IT labor, but even just making your life easier means you're less likely to get sick of it, meaning they're more likely to retain your free/cheap assistance.

Having a separate always-on machine could add other benefits too, like acting as a file or print server. Obviously you don't want to overload this workstation with random crap to the point of hurting the app's performance, but a lot of people don't realize the little things that can be improved with a "server" until they actually have one in place.
 

marley1

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... 2 user network .... not gonna be heavy load that needs a print server.

but if they have the budget and you are doing free labor, look into that Dell T110 or Dell Outlet. Raid 1 server, with Server 2008 Foundation, setup domain, setup folder redirection, set the backup program on that.
 

YeOldeStonecat

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Vostro Fastrack is great deal, Core i5 and 4GB with 3 year warranty is under 900.
Optiplex Fastrack is around that price with Core 2 Duo 3Ghz and 2GB.

Dont battle me with Dell =P

Both machine are almost same internal if not hte same.

You gonna buy that videocard and stand or what? =)

Ehhh.....kinda like comparing an HP Presario or Pavilion with an HP DC7900. :p
I'm not impressed with the quality of the Vostros. Right off the bat I'd like to compare the exact model hard drive they use, versus the hard drive in the higher end Optiplex. I bet you there's over a few hundred thousand hours difference in the MTBF rating.

Wattage rating of the power supply, volts at the rail rating of the power supply, motherboard...probably a crappy budget Win-NIC versus a superior NIC on the Optiplex. Less SATA expansion ports. etc etc

"You always get what you pay for" ;)
 

awesomo

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One annoyance with the Optiplex. If the mobo dies out of warranty, you are at Dell's mercy because they kept btx alive. But I do agree, it generally is a higher quality computer.
 

marley1

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hard drives have been the same, realtek nic in vostro, broadcom in optiplex. meh i haven't had any issues, and i sell alot of em.

went through 10 vostros, and 5 optiplex this week
 
D

Deleted member 12106

Guest
What is the specs of the old machine? I would have looked at finding a used server with win2k3 server and using terminal services, then use whatever to connect to the server.

For backup, you may have been able to use sync toy to syn the directories with the data to an exernal drive, or, find a used version of backupexec.

I dunno. I think going with beefy windows 7 boxes all around is pricey, shopping used would have been perfect.
 

spotdog14

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Well thought I would give everyone an update.

I did the rest of the job this weekend. He picked up a Dell Inspiron desktop that had a Core 2 Duo with 6 gigs of ram. I would have preferred Win7Pro but they got Home Premium, I got all the important documents copied over to the "server" setup all the shares correctly and put the power profile as always on and got an APC with a decent battery backup and had that all setup. I am really impressed with Win7's backup options, I have it configured to backup every day to an external HDD and told them to copy the external HDD every month and take it off site.

Apart from that I got the two workstations up and running with new printers and the Dymo label thingy. I think the one thing that I did that impressed them the most was share the Dymo printer so they could print to it from both computers, that that really made them happy. Also I hooked up a remote workstation in the back so they could view their Avimarks information without being up front.

Overall it took me about 10 hours to complete on two days. I also got Quickbooks running correctly (followed some of the links in this thread) and have them backing that up to the server so the data can be backed up every night. Overall I am very impressed, we totally took everything off the front desk and we drilled new grommet holes so we could do some nice wire management and I think they are really happy with how it turned out.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone in this thread for all the recommendations and advice.
 

Menelmarar

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Well thought I would give everyone an update.

I did the rest of the job this weekend. He picked up a Dell Inspiron desktop that had a Core 2 Duo with 6 gigs of ram. I would have preferred Win7Pro but they got Home Premium, I got all the important documents copied over to the "server" setup all the shares correctly and put the power profile as always on and got an APC with a decent battery backup and had that all setup. I am really impressed with Win7's backup options, I have it configured to backup every day to an external HDD and told them to copy the external HDD every month and take it off site.

Apart from that I got the two workstations up and running with new printers and the Dymo label thingy. I think the one thing that I did that impressed them the most was share the Dymo printer so they could print to it from both computers, that that really made them happy. Also I hooked up a remote workstation in the back so they could view their Avimarks information without being up front.

Overall it took me about 10 hours to complete on two days. I also got Quickbooks running correctly (followed some of the links in this thread) and have them backing that up to the server so the data can be backed up every night. Overall I am very impressed, we totally took everything off the front desk and we drilled new grommet holes so we could do some nice wire management and I think they are really happy with how it turned out.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone in this thread for all the recommendations and advice.
This might happen once or twice before the procedure gets abandoned. Least that's my experience.
 
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