RDS environment for 5 users and

tsaico
tsaico used Ask the Experts™
on
Right now we have a team of 5 people in accounting.  The team complains all the time about how slow quickbooks is.  We currently use Quickbooks enterprise 15.  QBE supports Terminal Services, and there are about 25 QB files, all small (the largest is 120 MB, smallest is 15)  The staff moves between and generally has two of them open any given time.  When switching and running reports seems to be where the problems slow down.   I am hoping that moving the file to local file that the TS users have will be faster for them to move between the companies files.  
The next problem is having the staff use their familiar Outlook for email.  I know the official preference is "Online mode unless the I/O isn't going to keep up".  This being said, I can't really find where that "level" is.  Obviously I/O for QBE is going to be taking some as well as regular office work, and there isn't a specific recommendation, but a 8 drive RAID 10 SAS is what I was thinking for this server.  Does any one see any problem for using this for QBE and Outlook for 5 users?
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
the first thing you analyze is where is the bottleneck. without doing this step you are just throwing money at it, hoping it fixes things. You could have more than 1 bottleneck.
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer
Commented:
I certainly wouldn't build a 8 disk SAS array. SAS is for capacity. If you need speed, SSD is cheaper and much faster.

Where is the file server, and what kind of storage does it have?

What is the speed of the network from the current file server to the workstations?

The performance issue could be slow network, slow storage on the file server, or slow workstations. Aside from slow workstations, fixing the issue should be easier and cheaper than the band aid of trying to go to a terminal server. If the work stations are the issue, going to terminal server could make sense.

How much RAM do the workstations have? Are they old?



Do you plan on virtualizing any of this? (you probably should).

The recommendation for online vs offline mode for Outlook under terminal services is really about space on the terminal server, and a little bit about disk I/O on the terminal server. If you have the space and available disk I/O, offline mode under terminal services works fine.
CoralonSenior Citrix Engineer

Commented:
Offline mode for Outlook is going to eat up disk space, and make the profiles "more important" than they should be.  With only 5 users, I/O won't be an issue.    Outlook's indexing is also a major reason to *not* do offline mode.. you want the disk(s) to *not* have to do that indexing job.  (either the overhead for a spinning disk, or the wear & tear on SSD's.. there is very little benefit to doing offline mode in RDS).

And Kevin is correct, you will get far more bang for your buck using SSD's instead of SAS.  You don't *need* 8 disks for this.  

And quickbooks should be perfectly fine, as long as you get the install correct.

Coralon
Exploring SharePoint 2016

Explore SharePoint 2016, the web-based, collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office to provide intranets, secure document management, and collaboration so you can develop your online and offline capabilities.

SteveArchitect/Designer

Commented:
Right now we have a team of 5 people in accounting.  The team complains all the time about how slow quickbooks is.  We currently use Quickbooks enterprise 15.  QBE supports Terminal Services, and there are about 25 QB files, all small (the largest is 120 MB, smallest is 15)  The staff moves between and generally has two of them open any given time.  When switching and running reports seems to be where the problems slow down.   I am hoping that moving the file to local file that the TS users have will be faster for them to move between the companies files.  
 The next problem is having the staff use their familiar Outlook for email.  I know the official preference is "Online mode unless the I/O isn't going to keep up".  This being said, I can't really find where that "level" is.  Obviously I/O for QBE is going to be taking some as well as regular office work, and there isn't a specific recommendation, but a 8 drive RAID 10 SAS is what I was thinking for this server.  Does any one see any problem for using this for QBE and Outlook for 5 users?


Quite a few unanswered questions here so a few points to note:

1) What's wrong with QuickBooks? have you done any diagnosis to lead you to the idea that moving to a TS will resolve the issue? Where is the data in relation to the PCs now? have you done any performance work or monitoring?
Many flat DB driven apps like QuickBooks struggle over a WAN or slow LAN as they are reading the DB files a lot.
Moving to local may work but a little more testing may be worth considering.

2) Online mode is almost always better on a TS as it saves diskspace, synchronising & processing. Some users find it a little slower as they have to allow Outlook to get data from the server, but it should be minimal on 5 users unless they have huge mailboxes or the exchange server is very slow. Def go online unless you have a specific reason not to.

3) server spec. You haven't advised the rest of the spec so it's difficult to offer too much advice, but a TS is normally fine running a single RAID 1 mirror using 15K SAS disks. A TS under heavy load may need more (with redirection of user's folders to another disk) etc but for 5 users it seems unnecessary.

4) SSD, while SSD is faster, the load of a pagefile and OS I/O may cause a risk of lifespan fear. Stick with SAS unless you specifically want to go down the SSD route.

Author

Commented:
The overall performance of the system is "normal", I think it is more about user impatience than actual bottlenecks.  In the sense that each company takes 5-10 seconds to open, which is typical.  In a few cases, when the users need to run a report against multiple companies, QB has to open each one grab the data, then close it and open the next, meaning total turn around is 30 or so seconds per company.  Do a report with 3 company files, now you are waiting close to 90 seconds.  Do the weekly one with all the files, and now you are waiting for minutes.

During that time, the others now have their sessions normal of 10-15 now stretches to 15-20, and you start seeing "Quickbooks is not responding" when they impatiently click something and they freak out.  

My question was meant to be more along the lines of what to expect on I/O loads and how much I/O does outlook offline mode use and how many users in the real world on a basic TS drive array becomes a performance hog.  The users currently have 10 gig email boxes on office 365.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
in other words, you haven't done any benchmarking or performance monitoring to see where the bottlenecks may be. from experience I've found moving applications and their data to separate spindles increases performance considerably.  For instance when installing SCCM the intial database prep went from 40 minutes to just a few seconds with this simple change.. moving the database files off of the system drive, log and temp files on separate spindles.
SteveArchitect/Designer
Commented:
From the information we have so far I'd suspect disk contention. run performance monitors on the server/machine with the QB files on and take note of the average & current disk queues. this is especially the case where single servers (like SBS) are performing multiple roles on a single RAID set.
many applications like QB are quite disk intensive due to their database design/type so they tend to be worst affected.

Moving to another server may not solve the issue as the new server could have the same problem, but better disk configurations may do (whether on the same or a new server)
Assuming your monitoring confirms this is the issue, consider adding some extra disks to the server and creating a new RAID set (logical disk)
move the files to that and see what happens.

Author

Commented:
I think there is a misunderstanding on my question.  Quickbooks itself is running fine.  The time it takes to open and close is "normal" in the sense that it should take a 100 MB company 5-ish seconds to open and 5 ish seconds to close.  The problem is the user feels it should be faster, as in instant.  The server itself is operating fine and within expectations.  MY question isn't what to do about QB, it is about MS's term of "When I/O isn't a concern, it is possible to run Cached mode on outlook in a TS", and what that means real world.

Prelim tests on a HyperV RDS server shows that the open/close times are cut by 2-5 seconds, and I would imagine once we have 5 accountants all over it will slow it down, but since now the QB file is loading locally instead of through network it will still be faster than through the network and their workstations.  The part I am unsure of is what the I/O is on cached mode for 5 users, or if it even matters for such a low count of users.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
a 7200rpm SATA 3 disk will give you about 60MB/sec sustained throughput. 2 disks in raid 1 will give you 120MB/Sec read 60MB/Sec write. I will keep harping on the fact that you have to benchmark the system and measure the real world performance. Raid 10 will give you 240MB/sec read 120MB/write

Outlook in cached mode is disk intensive while non-cached is network intensive. That is what MS is getting at when it says if disk performance is not an issue.  All we can do is lead you to water but we can't make you drink..  You have to measure using the tools available i.e. perfmon/resource monitor.
for more information refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOPS

8 Disk Raid 10 15K SAS ~200 IOPS
Speed gain      8x read and 4x write speed gain = 1600 IOPS Fault tolerance      At least 1-drive failure

A single SSD or 2 SSD's in RAID 1 will give you more IOPS.  For instance,  Samsung 850 EVO Pro 100,000 read IOPS
90,000 write IOPS

You are probably disk i/o bound so increasing the speed of your disk subsystem will probably give you the most bang for the buck..

Author

Commented:
All great points on troubleshooting a slow QB file, and eventually got to the origional question of what is the through put for a RDS server for 5 users using Offline mode for Outlook?

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial