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Seeking recommendations: FMS 13 hardware


Ian Murphy
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This is a straightforward plea for advice.

 

The Win7 terminal where we installed FMS in 2011 is finally not up to the task - after the recent updates to IIS and ARR (and FMS), it opens and hosts my databases but refuses to serve the XML feed that powers one page of our Web site. It was always underpowered, so I don't have any complaint. When we put it in, this was an experiment, so we didn't pay much.

 

After four years, though, the library director is convinced of the value of the product, so we're looking for a new terminal that will run FMS 13.0 v5 today. We're still a public library, which means we don't have a ton of money, and our needs are relatively modest (by the standards of Web publishing).

 

 

The variables:

 

I'd love a price range of $500-$800.

This is a Windows environment.

I have a rack and would like a rack-mounted solution (but could use a conventional CPU chassis instead).

My 'normal use' scenario will continue to involve about ten clients locally running FMP, and FMS also publishing one XML feed.

Likely future use involves five licenses for FMGo (for library staff on their personal portable devices).

Possible future use includes a couple of licenses for Web Publishing (so library staff can do outreach in public places).

Possible distant future use (2-3 yrs?) includes a proper custom web publishing public interface (where patrons can register online to participate in programs).

 

What hardware do you recommend?

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Rather than speaking of a price tag, I would think in terms of the amount of ram and CPU power. The requirements for your needs are documented and can be looked up. Not being a Windows user I have little idea of the costs involved. I would, again, figure out what machine you need then figure out the least expensive way of buying it. Edit: I would look to buy a machine that would meet your requirements 2-3 years down the road especially since you seem to have a sense of what those needs might be.

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Having made that initial post, I realized as I thought about it over supper that it was kind of silly to ask it as an open-ended question. Instead, I've gone over to Dell.com and cobbled together this description for $800 - but I'm a bit out of my depth and would welcome feedback:

    Power Edge R220:
PowerEdge R220    

         
    Chassis Configuration:
3.5" Chassis with up to 2x3.5 Cabled Hard Drives    
    
    Processor:
Intel® Xeon® E3-1220 v3 3.1GHz, 8M Cache, Turbo, 4C/4T, 80W    

    Memory DIMM Type and Speed:
1600 MHz UDIMMs    
         
    Memory Configuration Type:
Performance Optimized    
         
    Memory Capacity:
8GB UDIMM, Low Volt, Dual Rank, x8 Data Width    
         
    Operating System:
No Operating System    
         
    OS Media kits:
Windows Server®2012R2,Standard Edition,Secondary OS,Media Kit    
         
    RAID Configuration:
No RAID with Embedded SATA (1-2 HDD)    
         
    RAID Controller:
No RAID Controller    
         
    Hard Drives:
500GB 7.2k RPM SATA 6Gbps Entry 3.5in Cabled Hard Drive    
         
    Embedded Systems Management:
Basic Management    
         
    PCIe Riser:
Riser with Single x16 Gen3 PCIe Slot    
         
    Network Adapter:
On-Board Broadcom 5720 Dual Port 1Gb LOM    
         
    Power Cords:
NEMA 5-15P to C13 Wall Plug, 125 Volt, 15 AMP, 10 Feet (3m), Power Cord    
         
    BIOS and Advanced System Configuration Settings:
Performance BIOS Setting    
         
    Rack Rails:
No Rack Rails or Cable Management Arm    
         
    Bezel:
No Bezel Option    
         
    Internal Optical Drive:
DVD+/-RW, SATA, Internal    
         
    System Documentation:
No Systems Documentation, No OpenManage DVD Kit    
         
                                 
                                    
 

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Much can be said about hardware, but for FMS the things I look at is to get the most processing cores as possibly and at least 16GB ram.

Also, you need to make sure that you think backup into the setup.

The above seems to include only 1 harddrive. Backup from FMS should be stored on another drive in case of drive failure. And you should move a copy of the backup offsite every day as well.

RAID can be preferable for stability and in the event of harddrive failure.

Always count on the fact that your harddrive WILL fail at some point. So make sure you have both backup strategy and a plan for restoring your system. RAID 1 is the most simple setup, which will mirror 2 harddrives. If one is failing, the other can be booted as a single disk until you can replace.

 

I do not know what is possibly in the PC area within your budget, but above is a couple of pointers to go for.

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Thank you for your input.

 

Memory: yes, this machine tops out at 8GB RAM, which is the chief thing I have against it (b/c even if I order w. 8 GB today, I won't be able to expand in a year).

 

Backup: I understand the value of a RAID array but because of the sort of oddball structure of the library network (having grown organically, we now have a lot of CPUs scattered around the building without a central server), in our case we have a pretty thorough patchwork solution - FMS writes copies of the db every two hours to a folder backed up by CrashPlan, and also writes a once-a-day set to a Dropbox folder synced to two other machines (including my laptop). In our case, an outage of a few days while I replaced a hard drive in the event of failure would be acceptable, in part because I could access the data.

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Don't forget the focus that Claus put on raw processing power.  If a choice needs to be made I would stick with 8GB of RAM but get more processing power - if you are going to hit a bottleneck it is likely going to be the processing power, followed by the disk i/o.  The model you've selected only has 4 cores with no HyperThreading.  I would buy as many cores as I can, in your case at the very least step up to the next processor choice of 4C/8T to take advantage of the hyper-threading.

And if the budget allows, stop up to the 15k rpm hard disk instead of the 7200rpm

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