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server vs shared PC - Help me out please!!

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DoctorDave

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Location
north east
I have been building my own PC's since Celeron 300 and I have really enjoyed all of the overclocking and everything I have learned. I troll on here all the time since the day of SharkyExtreme and this board I have learned a ton. Every 6 months it seems I am building a machine or combining parts from another to build machines for my 4 kids, wife, parents etc... Luv it... thank you all...

Currently, I own a large chiropractic practice with 18 PCs and we have Windows server 2003 or (08, honestly i forget) in a rack in the back. Most of my18 machines are referbed machines from Newegg/Amazon for 200 bucks or so. I upgraded all of them to have SSD and they are super fast for my office for what we do with them. So I am not a newbie, but when it comes to servers I do not know much at all and this is the reason for my post. I can log into my server and do stuff when i need, but the setup is getting old...My server setup is about 8 years old and I am afraid it will not last me, so it is time to upgrade IMO. HD failure/PS/MOBO etc might die and then the office will be down. Not good for us. We are 100% electronic actually.

Here is my question:
Do I even need a server?

Here is why I am asking:
Since we switched to MS 365 we started using Sharepoint and OneDrive so we moved over 200k files OFF of our server to many libraries on Sharepoint and OneDrive as well as archived them to WD books which are offsite. I also duplicated the archived data to my home computer where I have a storage pool with 3 drive redundancy of 10 TB (from 30TB). The archived data is 10-15 years old so I will never need it, but I hate to delete old films and records since WD books are so cheap. So by utilizing OneDrive and SharePoint, we went from having 900-1200 Gigs of data to almost 0. AWESOME. no server needed....well ...ALMOST...The only thing left that we use on our server are 2 programs that are both Electronic Medical Record/EMR for my chiropractic practice.
1. The one program has the billing on it and appointments and the data is about 1.2 gigs.
2. The other program has the EMR on it for treatments and it is 7-8 gigs.

Quote for new server:
I called my IT professionals in my town and got a quote on a server (32 gig/new xeon/dell/dual PS/4 hour parts war 3 years/etc. Nice but not the most bleeding edge chipset or parts) with 2 switches, New APC, an APC card for the server, and a sonic wall with set-up and migration completely done... tax and everything out the door for 18k. Funny because the server was only 6600...
So...that got me thinking. used Porsche down payment...or um... Server...lol.
Well...
I called both EMR companies and they told me for what we do in our office the setup was way overkill. He recommended a nice normal PC (new chipset, 16-32gig ram, nice mobo, SSD drives) with just windows 10 PRO. He didn't have much time to chat so I need to call him back.

Questions:
1. I thought you can only connect 10 PC's to win10. Since we are not usually all logged in at the same time he said we would be ok. I want to add another office and VPN into this main office in a few months. We have 100/100 Mb Fiber line so the new office is going to be on the same network through VPN and a nice Fiber line. Don't I need a server to do that? What are my options?

2. How do I learn more about the server? I just started google-ing and reading online. what do you all recommend? I will probably get more quotes too.

3. Sonic wall is good or ripoff? Definitely more than my current router. It seems they last 3 years and then it is cheaper to buy the new one with support than to add 3 years of support to your old hardware. Seems weird but fine by me. I might buy some of the hardware they recommended on my own for cheaper on Newegg or Amazon. That would save me some money, but i have to make sure they will install my stuff too!...

4. I was hoping to get away from windows server and their expensive licenses and BS. Honestly I hate it. It seems like total BS to me when you can share files on dropbox or Sharepoint SO easy...Everything that has to do with servers is 3x the cost. I love my simple refurbished PC's from Lenovo with SSD's. When they break, i remove the HD and donate them to the Boy Scouts or my church or whatever! lol. Then I take the HD to the range for shredding with my 308 rifle! lol. no headaches.

so the ultimate question:
Can i break away from having a server and the stupid rack, APC, APC card expensive licenses and all the JUNK that goes with it??? Or what do I need to do to escape having a server and the MS software that is so expensive? What questions should I ask my EMR people when I call them again specifically? I am happy with a new router and switches. 1500 bucks there or so...

I will post more when I have more information too...

thank you very much everyone. Please help a brother out!


cya

dave
 
Last edited:

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
I have been building my own PC's since Celeron 300 and I have really enjoyed all of the overclocking and everything I have learned. I troll on here all the time since the day of SharkyExtreme and this board I have learned a ton. Every 6 months it seems I am building a machine or combining parts from another to build machines for my 4 kids, wife, parents etc... Luv it... thank you all...

Currently, I own a large chiropractic practice with 18 PCs and we have Windows server 2003 or (08, honestly i forget) in a rack in the back. Most of my18 machines are referbed machines from Newegg/Amazon for 200 bucks or so. I upgraded all of them to have SSD and they are super fast for my office for what we do with them. So I am not a newbie, but when it comes to servers I do not know much at all and this is the reason for my post. I can log into my server and do stuff when i need, but the setup is getting old...My server setup is about 8 years old and I am afraid it will not last me, so it is time to upgrade IMO. HD failure/PS/MOBO etc might die and then the office will be down. Not good for us. We are 100% electronic actually.

Here is my question:
Do I even need a server?

Here is why I am asking:
Since we switched to MS 365 we started using Sharepoint and OneDrive so we moved over 200k files OFF of our server to many libraries on Sharepoint and OneDrive as well as archived them to WD books which are offsite. I also duplicated the archived data to my home computer where I have a storage pool with 3 drive redundancy of 10 TB (from 30TB). The archived data is 10-15 years old so I will never need it, but I hate to delete old films and records since WD books are so cheap. So by utilizing OneDrive and SharePoint, we went from having 900-1200 Gigs of data to almost 0. AWESOME. no server needed....well ...ALMOST...The only thing left that we use on our server are 2 programs that are both Electronic Medical Record/EMR for my chiropractic practice.
1. The one program has the billing on it and appointments and the data is about 1.2 gigs.
2. The other program has the EMR on it for treatments and it is 7-8 gigs.

Quote for new server:
I called my IT professionals in my town and got a quote on a server (32 gig/new xeon/dell/dual PS/4 hour parts war 3 years/etc. Nice but not the most bleeding edge chipset or parts) with 2 switches, New APC, an APC card for the server, and a sonic wall with set-up and migration completely done... tax and everything out the door for 18k. Funny because the server was only 6600...
So...that got me thinking. used Porsche down payment...or um... Server...lol.
Well...
I called both EMR companies and they told me for what we do in our office the setup was way overkill. He recommended a nice normal PC (new chipset, 16-32gig ram, nice mobo, SSD drives) with just windows 10 PRO. He didn't have much time to chat so I need to call him back.

Questions:
1. I thought you can only connect 10 PC's to win10. Technically, not true but with more than 10 you start to have problems as the amount of traffic on that "peer to peer" network can cause significant delays. Since we are not usually all logged in at the same time he said we would be ok. I want to add another office and VPN into this main office in a few months. We have 100/100 Mb Fiber line so the new office is going to be on the same network through VPN and a nice Fiber line. Don't I need a server to do that? What are my options?

2. How do I learn more about the server? I just started google-ing and reading online. what do you all recommend? I will probably get more quotes too.

3. Sonic wall is good or ripoff? Definitely more than my current router. It seems they last 3 years and then it is cheaper to buy the new one with support than to add 3 years of support to your old hardware. Seems weird but fine by me. I might buy some of the hardware they recommended on my own for cheaper on Newegg or Amazon. That would save me some money, but i have to make sure they will install my stuff too!...

4. I was hoping to get away from windows server and their expensive licenses and BS. Honestly I hate it. It seems like total BS to me when you can share files on dropbox or Sharepoint SO easy...Everything that has to do with servers is 3x the cost. I love my simple refurbished PC's from Lenovo with SSD's. When they break, i remove the HD and donate them to the Boy Scouts or my church or whatever! lol. Then I take the HD to the range for shredding with my 308 rifle! lol. no headaches.

so the ultimate question:
Can i break away from having a server and the stupid rack, APC, APC card expensive licenses and all the JUNK that goes with it??? Or what do I need to do to escape having a server and the MS software that is so expensive? What questions should I ask my EMR people when I call them again specifically? I am happy with a new router and switches. 1500 bucks there or so...

I will post more when I have more information too...

thank you very much everyone. Please help a brother out!


cya

dave

Dr. Dave, you probably don't need a full-blown active directory server. What about NAS? That would afford centralized data sharing and backup: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage. Does this sound like something that would meet your needs?
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
I was thinking NAS as well...if you are only interested in data sharing. You can get a 20 TB NAS (like a QNAP TS-453A) for about $1,500 complete with drives. You setup for RAID preferences, create share drives, and map them into the 18 Windows machines. You can also set security as to who can access what data.

If you go this route, you must backup the data from the NAS as RAID arrays are not 100%...almost, but not quite.


 
OP
DoctorDave

DoctorDave

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Location
north east
How fast will NAS be vs Win server? I don't have a lot of data but we want to go for sheer speed. What is the fastest way to server the client machines the data. Monday I am going to call both software companies so I can find out if I need a SQL server or what the exact requirements are.
Keep in mind:
I have 15 employees who are accessing data over and over all day. Some of them are on all day and some are on intermittently depending on their individual jobs they do for us. For instance, front desk staff and billing staff are on the software all day. Every click they do accesses data.

This may help you understand a bit better: A few years back we went from regular HD to SSD in our server and that made a HUGE difference with speed. We don't have a lot of data but we are constantly accessing it all day. For example, all 18 computer have the appointment book up and every 6 to 10 seconds the client machine asks the software for the data. Then a couple of years ago the opposite happened to our speed. We had a staff person plug her computer into her IP phone which had a 100Mb switch. So she went from 1gig to 100Mb. WOW. It made a HUGE difference the wrong way...once we figured out what happened to her computer it was an easy fix.

The one software just needs a Mapped Drive. In fact for some reason it HAS to have a mapped drive on each individual machines. That is easy with a NAS correct?

I will call the other software CO monday but I think it uses SQL. Will I need a windows machine for that? Or will that work on a NAS as well.

Keep in mind I am not going for the cheapest. I just don't want to spend most of 20k. Maybe there is a faster easier solution.

thank you!!

dave

- - - Updated - - -

is there a nas with much less data. We probably only need 1 TB. I would love to go for speed. SSD or whatever is the fastest at getting the data to our machines.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
You will most likely need a solid PC to run a SQL server. I'm not sure if your application with 18 users will require a full server hardware platform though...don't know enough about it. If you go the PC route versus the server hardware route, you can add multi-gigabit LAN cards to the PC. It's best to buy the cards that allow for the incoming/outgoing bandwidth to be split between them. Said differently, just because you put 4 1 Gbps LAN cards in a machine doesn't mean that Windows will see a 4 Gbps pipe. Intel has a card with 4 1 Gbps LAN connections that will look like a 4 Gbps LAN connection to Windows.

As far as for a NAS with raw speed...that's why I recommended the QNAP TS-453A. This unit has 4 1 Gbps LAN ports that can be setup to provide a 4 Gbps LAN interface to the NAS (you connect it to 4 ports on your gigabit router.) I have one of these at home. I have 4 5 TB drives (20 TB total) setup in RAID 10...so 10 TB of useable space. I can do 4 simultaneous 1 Gbps file transfers (read, write, read/write) to the NAS. It is truly impressive. However, the processor in the NAS probably will not have enough horsepower to properly run a SQL database. The NAS itself has many tools that you can run, and states that it can be a database server...but I have not used it in this fashion.

Edit: The TS-453A also has the ability to create a "cache drive" that will speed up access for multiple file transfers (these drives are usually SSD...and you only need 1).
 
OP
DoctorDave

DoctorDave

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Location
north east
ok thanks for all of your help. Here is an update b/c I called BOTH software companies that we use for EMR and both said the same thing.

...Run their EMR software from a windows 10 machine that is new/nice fast etc... The one guy said i could go to Best Buy and get one for 500 bucks! lol. I am NOT doing that! Those computers are crap. They also said that 99% of office do that and one office has 14 doctors logging into the computer throughout the day. no issues no hangups.

The other computer EMR CO said it ...JUST needs a shared drive to run. So maybe a NAS would work there. I will look more into that after i get the other EMR running on windows 10 first.... I am tackling them one software at a time. I forgot to ask them THAT specific question about the NAS.

The other software company said it runs the MS free version of SQL server for the database. It comes on the software and installs with it. So it will run no problem on a windows 10 machine and probably not on a NAS.

My fear is this: We build a Win 10 machine with a nice I7/ 32 gig memory/SSD/nice PS/MOBO etc. ...Then you can only share to 10 computers or so at once and after that the PC starts to cry or complain or get slow. What is the story with that? Is it 10 machines can log in at once, or... I do not understand.

Maybe I should build TWO computers and then if one dies i can put the backup on the other one and share it out? Is that a good idea? It would bel like having 2 servers really. I can build these machines for 1200 bucks or so I bet. My next post if this all works will be what hardware to get for each machine, but let's not attack that problem just yet.

also I am going to move my data off my old server one ONE of the EMR's at first before i break the whole office. lmao.

So what hangups will i have with windows 10 and sharing out the files? limit of 10? or... please help a brother out and thanks so far for all the help!


cya

dave
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
If you want fast and easy, frankly, you need an expert to come in and outfit your office..break down and pay for it.. get it done right. If you don't need the hardware they quoted, tell them what you need.

Id also get a full service 'vendor'. One that also is aware of security risks of taking/sending potential HIPAA protected data home. Can't lie... I'd be pissed if this was my doctor's method of an off-site backup...
 
Last edited:

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/980907-windows-10-maximum-connection-limits

According to this, there is 20 a machine limit on p2p with Windlows 10 and it sounds like it's built into the OS. So you would be barely under that limit.

Having said that, I think you should take heed to what Earthdog said. At least pay for a professional consult to see what your options are. Do all your machines have the pro version of Windows?
 
Last edited:
OP
DoctorDave

DoctorDave

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Location
north east
https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/980907-windows-10-maximum-connection-limits

According to this, there is 20 a machine limit on p2p with Windlows 10 and it sounds like it's built into the OS. So you would be barely under that limit.

Having said that, I think you should take heed to what Earthdog said. At least pay for a professional consult to see what your options are. Do all your machines have the pro version of Windows?

Yes. All pro ...win 10.
I understand what you both are saying w professional consultations and that is why I called the software vendor. I spoke to both of them. They think the full blow server is overkill for 10 gigs of data to be shared in a single office. Even if we have a VPN w a few additional users it is too much. All of our files and paperwork are on now on ms 365 which is compliant w Hipaa. That removed 90% of my data off my server. There are just these 2 EMRs that run on the server yet. I will get some more opinions. The good news is we r not down at all so I can leave it alone for now too...

Thanks. Dave
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Dr. Dave, there are companies that specialize in setting up medical office networks. I think you need to have someone actually come in and evaluate the system on site rather than over the phone. Talk to someone who manages a medical clinic in your community and get some names and phone numbers from them.