Windows 7 CPU versus Server

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Networking' started by nencoin, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. nencoin

    nencoin New Member

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    Hi. I have a small office network consisting of around seven computers. They are connected via a Netgear ProSafe GS108T switch and all are connected at gigabit speed. They are all accessing a single Access database on a CPU that acts as a dedicated server. I'm currently upgrading all the computers. They will all eventually be running Windows 7 and Access 2010.

    The database is starting to slow down. I'm sure that the size of it plays a big role in that. Eventually we'll need to move it to a more robust platform. But until then, I'd like to optimize the network as much as possible. My question is this. Should I simply replace the CPU that is acting as the server with another (newer, of course) CPU, or should I consider getting an actual server?

    I have absolutely no idea what the difference between a server and a CPU is. For starters, would I be able to install Access 2010 on a server? And would I gain any increase in network speed/performance with a server over a CPU?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Chris
     
  2. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    As a general rule networks containing 10 computers or less are generally fine left as a workgroup and since Microsoft (with windows 7) has increased the concurrent connections license to 20 from 10 I would think that given sufficient hardware muscle CPU, Memory, and Disk Performance you would be fine without the extra headache and expense of moving to a full blown server (as in Windows 2008r2 server) environment.
    The benefits of having a true server environment is that it gives you central security management, wherein you can control access by defining security based on both users and computers as well as more robust overall control of the domain computers and users by defining GPOs (Group Policy Objects) and applying them to individual OUs (Organizational Units) probably a little more robust then you actually will need or ever use. And the downside is that you will often find that server software versions are considerably more expensive than the same software that will run on a workstation OS. Backup and Anti Virus solutions are two that come to mind.
    As far as the database slowing down that could be disk I/O or overall fragmentation but may be because of size, with most Access databases it is generally a good idea every once in a while to back it up and then run a compile and compact. If you're not sure how to do this, contact the developer and have him do it for you.
    Regards
    Randy
     
  3. nencoin

    nencoin New Member

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    #3 nencoin, Feb 28, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  4. nencoin

    nencoin New Member

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    I wanted to add that the current CPU that is acting as the server has the following specs:

    Pentium (R) 4 CPU
    3.00 GHZ
    2.99 GB Ram
     
  5. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Looks like more than an adequate box for what you have in mind.
    Personally I would change the OS to Pro rather than home premium, just in case you ever want to RDP to it or at some time in the far off distant future actually join it to a domain.
    And I'd probably do the storage a bit different probably two physical discs. A smaller one up front for the OS and the larger TB drive second for your data. It helps down the road to facilitate a good backup and recovery plan.
    And of course ideally it would be nice if it could be dedicated to the role or file and print server and not have to act as an actual workstation as well. That way you could keep the OS tight and avoid all the bloat and sundry crap that accumulates from someone using it as a workstation, to surf the web and doing the whole email, IM, Social Networking stuff that seems to infect and affect a lot of SOHO these days.
    Regards
    Randy
     
  6. nencoin

    nencoin New Member

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    Okay, good. I'll pick up that Dell. Fortunately, it is used solely as a server. I'll have the database on it, our fax software, Gotomypc, AVG and that's it. We do a nightly off-site backup of the database, so we're good to go there as far as backup is concerned. Thanks for the help, Randy!
     

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