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SQL Server on a Desktop

Posted on 2013-06-20
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Last Modified: 2013-06-21
Looking to build a sql server on the cheap. It will host only a handfull of databases and possibly IIS to serve an internal web app. We're talking only a few users in a couple of departments. I'd say at most 10 at once. More likely 2-4.
Will a high end desk top with 4 drives so I can put the temp db, data, and logs on separate drives get me by?
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Question by:stopher2475
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Brian Crowe earned 100 total points
ID: 39263043
You'll be fine.  With that few users even separating the files is overkill but a good idea.
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by:SidFishes
SidFishes earned 75 total points
ID: 39263114
no points but to illustrate a point

up until 4 years ago this was our sql server running our entire 50 user enterprise. had something like 4G ram and a 150G 5200 rpm hd

awesome server setup
the top is off the case because the power supply died and we threw in a new one we had lying around which didn't fit in the case...never got around to ordering the new one so it stayed like that for 8 months :)

Since that time we have been running an Intel modular server with a virtualized sql  server...

but ahhh. the good old days.

you'll be fine with a high end desk top with 4 drives  :)
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by:Carlo-Giuliani
Carlo-Giuliani earned 175 total points
ID: 39263153
Agreed that separating the files will be pointless for your case.  In fact, the best use of four disks would be to put them into a single RAID array so you can maximize performance.

Ideally, get a desktop with a hardware RAID adapter and configure the four disks as a single RAID-10 array.  That will get you redundancy and improved performance, at the cost of reducing the available disk space by half....but disk space is probably not an issue for you. If disk space is an issue, or if you don't care about redundancy, 4 disks in a RAID 0 configuration will give you even better performance.

Probably the biggest factor in performance will be the amount of memory you have in the system.  Be sure to use a 64-bit OS edition.  Do you know how large the databases will be?
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by:stopher2475
ID: 39263478
I'm looking at a db that's currently about 4gb of historic data. the active for each reporting period is around 300MB or so. I'm going to be working on another application that while not large itself (< 1GB) I have a lookup table from an external source that is ~4GB.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 75 total points
ID: 39263670
It's generally faster on a desktop/workstation than on a server because desktops are tuned for speed whereas servers are tuned for reliability. For example the default setting of disk write cache is on with Windows XP etc but off with the server editions and that's reflected in hardware too with expensive controllers disabling the cache if there's no battery but cheap ones turning it on for speed. A power cut on the desktop/workstation means any recently written data is going to be corrupt whereas on the slow server it will be good still. If you're just data-mining through historic records then a laptop with an SSD in it will probably beat most rack servers so long as it's got enough RAM.
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by:Carlo-Giuliani
Carlo-Giuliani earned 175 total points
ID: 39264654
For a 4GB database, if  you have 8GB memory on the system the disk configuration really won't matter much.  You will have most of it in memory.
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by:Anthony Perkins
Anthony Perkins earned 75 total points
ID: 39264830
It will host only a handfull of databases and possibly IIS to serve an internal web app.
Please, please do not share SQL Server with IIS on the same server.  If you do, then be prepared to set an appropriate maximum memory for SQL Server to use or you will have problems.
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by:stopher2475
ID: 39265999
Thanks for the help and suggestions!
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