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What's the recommended "server" hardware for a new ACT 2011 Premium Installation?

Posted on 2010-08-24
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We are getting ready to switch over to ACT from an old program, we've got about 15 users total, but only about 6-8 users that will actively be in the program at a time.  We'll be using ACT Premium 2011 and I'm going to buy a new computer to host the centralized database on our network.  My question lies in what hardware to use.  I've read the Sage website and see all the minimum requirements, but what's going to make it run the quickest?

It appears that I'll just be getting a Windows 7 Professional machine, 32 bit since ACT doesn't use 64, 4 gig of RAM, probably RAID a couple of 500 gig hardrives for plenty of space and some on site backup of the data.  

My question lies in the processor.  I'm going to likely buy a Dell, I figured on one of their Optiplex systems due to the RAID options and likely an Intel i5 dual core processor.  My question is with the way ACT utilizes processing power and the like.  Is there any advantages of stepping up to an i7 or even down to an i3, what about Xeon processors?  I want to get the best machine within reason and don't want to pay for some uber hot processor that ACT might not even utilize all of the power of if I will see no benefit.

So, what's the "best" hardware configuration for something like this?

Thank you,
Jason
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Question by:jasonk_jasonk
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hi,

ACT is not heavy on processing power and doesn't need that amount of space on the server.  The ACT database is relatively small as all attachments are stored outside the db and in its native folder structure. It also supports 64bit architecture.

I would suggest server 2008 r2 rather than windows 7 as you will have the limitation of a maximum of 10 concurrent network connections for Windows 7.

4 - 8Gb's of RAM is sufficient for the server dependant on the usage needed. Dual core processor will be fine.
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Reading your posts, there are a number of items to note on here.

1) You are mixing server class hardware and workstation class. In some instances, this is fine, but depending on what you are doing, it is not recommended. You pay more for server class hardware, but you should see the performance, but you may not need it for just ACT 2011. Server class tends to be more reliable and the technology lasts a bit longer. Xeon is a server class processor. The "I" processors are workstation class.
2) You asked what would be the quickest, but I do not believe that you would pay that price, so I would recommend something that is both quick and can perform.
3) This one is a big, RAIDing a hard drive is NOT an effective way to backup your data. This could help in the case of drive failure, but in the case of data corruption, you could be without a backup. Please do backup your data, but do not rely on just RAIDing a HD. Use RAIDING more for performance and a primitive backup rather than your main backup.

So with that said, could you run this on an Optiplex, yes. It may run just fine. I would go with either the i5 or i7 processor. I would stay away from the i3. Concerning RAM, 4 would be the base that I would have in it. With hard drives, put in the fastest hard drives that you can and RAID 0 should be fine because your reads should be much quicker.

That is if you go workstation class.

My preference would be server class with at lease 1 Xeon processor, Server 2008 R2, minimum of 4 Gb RAM, 15K SAS or if you have to, SATA, HDs, and 1 RAID 0 and 1 RAID 10. RAID 0 for OS and RAID 10 for data/logs. This would be a little overkill for now, but would last awhile and be able to handle expansion.

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these suggestions may change if running other services on the server.

ACT! will run on a 64bit OS... but that's only useful if you have >4GBB RAM
As 59cal mentioned, a high power processor is only useful for large numbers of users or if hosting ACT! for Web

ACT! SQL will only use 1GB RAM and 1 processor unless you get SQL Standard ... however, extra RAM/processor can be used by the OS
See: http://blog.glcomputing.com.au/2009/09/which-ms-sql-versions-should-you-use.html

As to size, unless using lots of picture fields and large attachments, this is not going to be an issue.

Possibly the most important area is the speed of the drive subsystem... get 15K RPM drives for best performance (or SSD for ultimate). RAID 10 or 6 are usually best, depending on the controller.
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