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Usacomp2k3
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New workstation/Server

Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:30 am

So this isn't strictly SBA material, but some of the decision points are going to be similar. It's more of a configure-to-order versus a build-to-order.

Background: My job responsibilities are shifting a little bit to include inventory analyst type activities. As such I'm going to be doing more reporting and number crunching on larger datasets than before. Longer-term (18+ months) our corporate IT is working on some big-iron BI tools, but that's a ways off. For now, I've been given a task of speccing out a new system to use for local data-warehousing of our ERP data, as well as a machine that can handle the number-crunching.

Environment: It will most likely sit in the server room with RDP access only

Budget: $5-7k

IT Systems: We are primarily a Lenovo shop; all the laptops as well as the engineering/CAD machines are Lenovo

A couple configurations I've run:
Lenovo Thinkstation R920
2x Xeon 4114 10-core CPU's
48GB ECC DDR4 RAM (6x8gb) - I'd prefer to fill all the slots, so we might do 12x8gb
2x512GB SSD in RAID-1 - Many of the files will be stored on the network shares, so this will primarily be for database storage
3-yr same-day on-site support - mucho important IMHO
10Gbe card - this can't be configured through Lenovo, but the Intel X710 will be a good option. I need to work with IT to make sure they have a spare SFP port.

The other one I've looked at is the straight server chassis.
Something like the Dell R540:
This would let me step up to much bigger CPU's. Something like the dual Xeon 6130 16-core. This would be about 8x the processing power of my current laptop.

GPU needs would be bare minimum.
SQL needs are going to be large datasets, but fewer access. Most of the access will be from myself and maybe the other analyst. Once we have the data warehouse setup, there will be reports that will run off of that by ~50 users with simple queries.

Any thoughts or comments?
 
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:15 pm

How big is the inventory database you'll be managing? We have brand new ESX hosts that run somewhere in the range of 30-50 VMs each, including our ERP platform which is backed by Oracle SQL, and they have fewer cores than that. Also it appears that you will be using local storage so what's the 10GbE for?
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:54 pm

I want to do nightly snapshots of all the non-transactional data in our ERP system, so we can have better historical research options in the event of problems.
I envision most of the working files being run off of the network storage for seamless access from other machines.
The cpu grunt power is probably overkill, but right now hardware is cheaper than training or better tools, so we’re trying to make massive Excel files run better. Again, longer term we will probably have a corporate provided BI system with different tools, so w don’t want to invest too much time learning new tools short might be moving away from in the future. I’m able todo most of what I want in excel, knowing that it isn’t the most effiemcr tool for her job when the datasets get larger.
 
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:20 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
I’m able todo most of what I want in excel, knowing that it isn’t the most effiemcr tool for her job when the datasets get larger.

That's an understatement.

You're aware that Excel has a hard limit at 2^20 (just a bit over a million) rows, yes? I also wouldn't count on there not being exponential (in terms of CPU resources) behavior before things get that large as well. If this is potentially problematic, you may want to consider moving off Excel sooner rather than later. (I have no idea how "large" your datasets are.)
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Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:54 pm

Correct. We’d use this machine for that transition process. First steps would be to setup a local SQL session for the main data storage and then Excel for pulling and processing the specific outputs needed. For example if we are storing the history for every SKU in the database, I would never need to process it all, just extract the full history of the part in question.
 
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:21 pm

Since you mentioned Excel then I think I can assume Windows?

What's the Remote Desktop access requirements? Over 2 sessions you will need to enable Remote Desktop Services role and may need additional CALs (unless you are on EA's). If any tools when connected via RDP may need any sort of graphics rendering power, then consider a slightly-over-bare-minimum RemoteFX capable video card to help accelerate server-side rendering. This upgrade may be done after the fact though.
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Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:30 pm

We’ll need to use one of the server licenses, I believe, to get legit concurrent sessions.
I don’t believe there will be anything graphical, but running multi-monitor RDP did seem to benefit from a little bit more raphical horsewpower. I need to research that more though
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:16 am

I made some great progress over the weekend. I setup my local machine as an SQL server and have 14 tables copied over from production. SQL Managemnt Studio is pretty slick. I was able to write a procedure that grabs the last X days of data and copies it over to my local database and the delete any duplicates. I need to do an initial seed, but I want to get the go-ahead from IT before doing that. I was also able to rewrite some of my reports to pull from localhost. Much, much faster than our servers in Virginia.

Next steps are the snapshot tables that I will be using.
 
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:45 am

I'd talk to your IT department and let them do the decision making for you on form-factor.

Chances are high that if they can spare you a 10GbE SPF+ port, you're going to be doing everyone a favour if it can be rack-mounted, and there's a pretty good deal that if you're a company of the size where a 10GbE port is an option for you, they have an account manager with Dell/Lenovo/HP who can get you deals and custom builds. If not at a better rate, at least via payment and paperwork channels that make the whole process easier for everyone involved.
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Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:29 pm

They’re going to have to do all the purchasing and integration anyway. I’m just trying to get an idea of what to recommend that they look at. (Similar to what I had to do to configure my work laptop)
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:45 am

Got the budget approved yesterday and the system quoted and passed off to IT to order today:

Dell Precision 7920 Rack
CPU: 2x Dual Intel Xeon Gold 6130 2.1GHz, 3.7GHz Turbo, 16C, 10.4GT/s 3UPI, 22M Cache, HT (125W) DDR4-2666
Graphics: NVIDIA® Quadro® P400, 2GB, 3 mDP (7920 Rack)
RAM: 32GB (4x8GB) 2666MHz DDR4 RDIMM ECC
Dell Ultra-Speed Drives: Dell Ultra-Speed Drive Duo PCIe SSD x8 Card, 1 M.2 1TB PCIe NVMe Class 40 Solid State Drive
NIC: Intel X710 DP 10Gb DA/SFP+, + I350 DP 1Gb Ethernet, Network Daughter Card

Should be a screamer for what we need.

EDIT: Pasted the wrong config. Updated.
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:05 am

Scheduled for delivery Wednesday. I can't wait to get the background tasks off my laptop and running on there. Should make them run more reliably also.
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: New workstation/Server

Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:37 pm

Guess what showed up in the mail today :D
I'm guessing it'll take IT the rest of the week to get windows installed and the SQL server setup etc.

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