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Server Questions VM vs Single Server and more (SBS or standard) to many options :(

Posted on 2013-05-30
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Last Modified: 2013-06-06
Ok I have a newly developed web application that 20 users will have access to internally at the office. The app is heavily data intensive as it will use hand held scanners for entry and there are multiple check points at which this data will be accessed. Here is where I get confused.
1. The developers said originally that we needed two servers. One to host mssql and another to actually do the work of input and output to the sql server. However we talked to them and they said a single server would work if we had enough specs. That would be SBS2011 Standard. As I got to looking it seems I would still have to purchase MSSQL and additional licences to my understanding. we were looking to use office 365 vs exchange seeing as I have 2 other servers with exchange that in my opinion don't do as well as they should.

2. After reading all this information I contacted a server guy we have used for some time and handed him all the information I had been given. He then comes back to me with the recommendation that he would use a single server and run VM's to still wind up with 2 server os's running the setup.

3. Here is my quesitons

If I could run this on SBS 2011 Standard or 2012 Standard and had to purchase MSSQL 2008 + enough license for 20 users internally what happens when I have the possibility of 100 people accessing the website from an external facing part of the app? would I need additional licensing for that as well?

The server guy seems to think I really need to not allow the DC to be accessed easily from the web yet I have 2 other DC's at two other locations that are and I have no issues with them. What do you guys think?

I have dealt with another server that ran Exchange and a second data related application that ran SQL that server ran very very poorly until I had installed a second DATA only drive the the application. I don't want to wind up in that situation again. Which is the primary reason for going with office 365 in exchanges place.

The dilemma is I originally had roughly a 6K budget on this server and the developers talked like a single setup would work. Now with throwing MSSQL and 20 license + on it I am not sure I can do that. In the end I want a good strong setup not just over powered and Im willing to do what it takes to make it run right. Even it that means VM and larger scale hardware. I hope this explains the situation please ask more questions as needed.

Just looking for opinions and Advice at this point.
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Question by:Calvin Close
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Expert Comment

by:John Easton
ID: 39207943
If the application developer states that 1 server should be sufficient then I would find out from them what spec they would require for this server.  After all only they will know their application.

Personally speaking one server to maintain and update is usually preferable to two (in my opinion anyway).  It should also be cheaper in terms of licensing, and even hardware (1 higher spec should be cheaper than 2 of half the equivalent spec).

As for SQL licensing, last time I looked you could licence per client or per processor.  If you therefore want to open this up to external users unless you can quantify how many users this will be, you may have to go down the per processor route.  This means for each physical process in your server you need a licence.  This limits the users count only to what your server can handle.

As for having two virtual machines, unless there is a compatibility issue this just adds extra overhead and complexity which I'm not sure is required from what you have said above.
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Author Comment

by:Calvin Close
ID: 39208866
Well microsoft says that because there is an external part of the application open to customers and vendors that we need a sql cal per person that uses the site. That makes no since to me considering it almost immediately forces the upgrade to the per core sql model they now employ. Most developers to my understanding using a single login and password in their connection string to access the database functions. Meaning a single cal should work from the technically speaking side of things. Now if the developer uses the actual login / password of the account holder and passes that along to SQL during data manipulation I can see the cal issue. But according to Microsoft I need to go with Server 2012 Standard + add MSSQL with $7200.00 worth of Core licenses to even get started. I am left to assume that all businesses with websites "should" be using basically the same model if they host there own application like we plan to.
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Author Comment

by:Calvin Close
ID: 39208872
I will also say that a single server seems like the way to go at this point no vm and no secondary server. Does the above post seem to make since? Does everyone else understand the Licensing to be the way I described it?
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John Easton earned 500 total points
ID: 39208985
Your post makes sense to me.  I'm not sure Microsoft would agree about the 'single login' meaning single CAL.  Many applications have a single login for the application which is used for hundreds of users.

I guess if you were giving access to each of your customers you could say I have 100 customers therefore I need 100 CALs.  If the site is open to the world however, I believe the Core Licenses are the only legal option.

A couple of other points you could look at.  First does the application need the full version of SQL?  If the SQL usage is fairly light then SQL Express (a free limited version of SQL) might be sufficient.

Secondly, could you host the SQL offsite using a database hosting provider?  The monthly cost could be much less than buying the core licenses.

I think this cost is one of the main reasons many people prefer open source databases like mySQL.
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Author Comment

by:Calvin Close
ID: 39209287
Thinking on this through tomorrow thanks for the help so far.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Calvin Close
ID: 39225563
Went back to the developers and put together a new plan using sql express. Thanks for the assistance.
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