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  1. #1
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    Minimum configuration for publishing app running on server

    I have an existing fat client database application for which I would like to develop a basic spec that would allow clients to run it as a published application. I have some clients doing this already, but had one that upgraded to Server 2012 Foundation (for reasons not related to this subject) and was told later that it did not support this approach. Obviously, the Standard edition will do this, but I'm not sure about the Essentials version. Here is the basic context:

    32-bit database application
    Database typically does not exceed 30 megabytes
    Image files are used by the application, typically no more than 1-2 gigabytes total.
    2-5 users would be typical, with upper limit possibly 10
    Typically used on the client's internal network, but access via VPN would also be a likely scenario.
    Publishing only the application may be ideal, but I'm not sure of the limitations on printing, especially for remote VPN users.

    I'm not looking for detailed specs, just a general description of basic hardware, minimum Windows Server type, additional needs with VPN, if this will affect the user licenses needed, etc.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
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    To run a database app on a server you really need the engine on the server, particularly for a VPN connection. Server 2012 Foundation will allow you to do that with a limited number of users (15) and a 1 CPU limit, but you can have (need) lots of cores. Printing is also no issue with this spec. Foundation also comes with 15 CALs so no additional licensing is required.

    My minimum spec would be something like this:
    Intel Xeon with 8 cores.
    4GB RAM
    RAID 1 disks, maybe SSD if you are feeling rich.
    RAID controller with battery backup - you don't want the disks corrupted by a power outage and you get proper RAID and monitoring capabilities.
    Something to backup the server, maybe a cheap NAS.

    cheers, Paul

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    imjcarls (2015-01-05)

  4. #3
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    Thanks! I had some follow-up:

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    To run a database app on a server you really need the engine on the server...
    Yes, that was the idea (the VPN would be to allow remote users to log-in to the server and run the app). Those in my current client base who have been doing this are using different approaches: Citrix w/desktop, Citrix with just published app, ThinStuff with both local and VPN users and now one using Server 2012 to give access to the app to Mac clients. When I discovered that the latter client had done this, I realized I had a potential solution to the OpLocks problem that I was beginning to see for other users running true fat clients on workstations with just the database files (it's a native VFP database) on a newer servers. For the clients running the whole thing on the server with multiple users, it runs quite fast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    ...but you can have (need) lots of cores. Printing is also no issue with this spec. Foundation also comes with 15 CALs so no additional licensing is required.
    One client is running it under a six-core AMD Opteron with 4 gigs with Windows 2003+Citrix to support 6-8 users at a time, just as a reference.

    Do the 15 CALS include access to a server desktop or would they cover only application publishing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Printing is also no issue with this spec.
    Any issues with users printing to a local printer? That would be important if a remote user was accessing it via a VPN.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    RAID 1 disks, maybe SSD if you are feeling rich.
    I thought about that, because the storage requirements are actually not large (relatively) with JPEGs driving the ultimate storage needs, so something in the 200-300 range would actually be way more than adequate. However, my understanding is that SSD drives tend to "wear out" over time. My thinking is that this could be both a recommended spec and the basis for a turnkey "appliance," so would using an SSD be a possible issue in a server?

    Finally, does Server 2012 include any kind of VPN capabilities, or would that require something separate?

    Thanks again...

  5. #4
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    I guess you are stuck with Windows if the database is VFP, so we'll rule out Linux.

    The 15 user license is for remote access, VPN or otherwise, but the absolute maximum is 15 per server if using Foundation.
    VPN access / dial up is built-in.

    Network / remote printing is built-in, although remote printing can be tricky to set up - it is better than it was.

    I'd plumb for a multi core Intel chip, they are streets ahead of AMD at present.
    Price wise a mechanical hard disk is better value and on a server with enough memory it will be fine, especially as you should always have RAID and you need to spend extra on the controller.
    (SSD doesn't really have the lifespan issues rumoured.)

    cheers, Paul

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    imjcarls (2015-01-05)

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