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HP Proliant Microserver

HP Proliant Microserver
« on: April 16, 2012, 06:44:24 PM »
I am a new member here.

I have started a small business and have realised that a web-server would be a big help going forward. We currently have a simple wireless PTP network. I think that we could achieve significant productivity improvements using a server for CRM and Accounts (ERP). I am interested in the following server based solutions - in order of urgency/desire:

REQUIREMENTS - server based:
accounts (incl stock) ERP - webERP?
CRM - vTiger?
data entry (ecommerce interface - website integration)
VPN - remote access
HR (clocking in/out)
Bar code integration
email - SoGo
calendaring - SoGo
notes
document management (retrieval)
VoIP
word processor / spreadsheet / presentation ...

By the way I have looked at SME-server, ClearOS and Zentyal and favour SME due to it's simplicity, security, apparent stability, ease of upgrade ...

1) My most immediate question is this. Is the HP Proliant Microserver (spec. - AMD Turion II Neo N40L / 1.5GHz, 2GB DDR3 SDRAM, HDD 1x 250GB - UKP150) suitable? I know that it looks way powerful enough (exceeding recommended specs on the contribs site), however I am hesitant as I have Googled "SMEserver HP microserver" and found no responses. I would have thought that this low powered (40W) small, quietish server (that will supposedly work with RHEL) would have been ideal - hence my surprise. Is there something I am missing here? MIght it be too 'new' and have driver issues? I am interested in it as there is a great deal on it in the UK at the moment (again making me wonder why people don't seem to be using it with SME).

2) What is  the general consensus - gateway or NAS deployment in my situation (I currently use a good Draytek router). And perhaps more importantly, can I change my mind later. e.g. I am assuming that the SME box needs to be the Gateway to run as a webserver and asterix server (there are probably security issues here?), so if I start using it as a NAS can I then later change it over (with the addition of another NIC) to be the Gateway ?

3) BTW I am considering using the SME box in a Raid 1 (larger is overkill at the mo). I have seen a nice hotswap HDD bay on Amazon (for UKP 20) that might lend itself to an easy back-up solution, but I am not knowledgeable enough about SME to know - also I don't think that the Microserver has 'hot-swapping' allowable in the BIOS settings - does this matter using SME software Raid.

Three questions.

I would be very grateful for some direction and encouragement :-)

Thanks

Re: HP Proliant Microserver
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 08:07:30 PM »
Hmmm. I have just been mooching about the forum threads and slightly embarrassingly come across two references to the HP Microserver already:

http://forums.contribs.org/index.php?topic=48103.0
http://forums.contribs.org/index.php/topic,48479.0.html

I would still be very interested to hear from anyone using one - any negatives?

Re: HP Proliant Microserver
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 09:14:56 PM »
Hi,
I have just set up an HP Proliant Microserver N40L as an SME 8.0b7 server.
4Gb Ram, 4 X 1Tb SATA HDD in RAID5

I am just using it as a file server, in Server Only mode. Seems to be working well.

The installation was done using a USB attached DVD drive and went smoothly - no hitches at all.

It is a lovely little squat black box that runs very .... very ... quietly.
And it was cheap (under $300 delivered, from Ebay)

With all your requirements, you could consider 8Gb RAM and 2 x 2 Tb SATA HDD in RAID1
Or, they are so cheap you could buy two and use one for VOIP - that way, if you server is down you still have phones.

By the way, I am going to use it to replace an HP Proliant ML110 (currently SME Server 7.5.1) which has run very reliably for 4 years but needs a holiday......

Good luck
Ian
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Sydney, NSW, Australia

Offline janet

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Re: HP Proliant Microserver
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 02:12:23 AM »
Charles2008

The spec for a server really depends on usage & load. For a few users eg 10 - 20 and small web usage ie a few dozen hits a day and small email volume ie a few dozen messages a day, your spec is adequate. As you ask more of your server eg increased email, then there will be more processor power required to scan for spam & viruses etc and more memory being used. As more functionality is required then more processor power & more RAM is needed. You say nothing about anticipated load/usage. Hard disk size depends on your file storage requirements, what is big for one situation is small for another. I would have 4Gb RAM or more in that server given all the contribs you want to run. Probably the processor speed & hard disk size could be upgraded too, it depends on the scale of your intended operations.

You can switch from Server only mode to Server & Gateway mode without any problems, just need a second NIC. You would have to rearrange you network to suit. There are benefits from being in Server & Gateway mode for spam & virus filtering and other email functionality & other stuff too.
You can still have web sites and mail server etc on a Server only install, it really depends on your network layout, ie whether you have an existing firewall you prefer to use.
Personally I would suggest Server & Gateway mode, as it will likely give your the best & easiest setup. Put your modem/router into bridged mode and let sme do the firewalling & gateway functions.
 
While motherboards may support hot swap & you may have a hotswap caddie, I don't think current kernels support that, so you will have to power down the server to remove a drive.
There are a number of automated backup to USB choices which allow easy backup disk swapping.

Start slowly, setup sme server first and after you are comfortable with it, start installing contribs one at a time. Get familiar & comfortable with each contrib before installing the next one.
You have mentioned quite a lot of complex contribs you want to add, I strongly suggest you setup a seperate test server and experiment and get to know these products before installing them onto your production server, that way you can sort out any issues you may have prior to final deployment.
Please search before asking, an answer may already exist.
The Search & other links to useful information are at top of Forum.

Re: HP Proliant Microserver
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 02:26:50 AM »
@ian
Thanks for the encouragement. You certainly sound happy enough.

"... 4Gb Ram, 4 X 1Tb SATA HDD in RAID5 ..." Do you mind me asking approximately how many people are (will be) using this box?

I like you idea of 2 servers, however, perhaps I should concentrate on getting my one test server up and running first :)

@Mary
Thank you for your considered reply. Anticipated load is 3-5 people immediately and (hopefully) increasing perhaps to 15 or so over the next 2 years - if things go well.

I think that any transition will by necessity be a cautious affair - I have a couple of old machines lying around that will suffice as testbeds.

I have noticed a couple of references in the forums to custom.iso's. Tribox is mentioned a lot. I presume that this is SME server / Asterix / vTiger - I am assuming that this offers direct dialling from the CRM and perhaps incoming customer recognition (maybe more) - is this running for 8R7?

Also, I saw mentioned "... Tony's custom .iso ...",  SME 6.0.1-01 Custom ISO. Was this a success and are have there been any other successful custom iso's ?   .... this could add a couple of years to my life (glass half full)!

Thanks for your encouragement.

Offline janet

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Re: HP Proliant Microserver
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 03:21:23 AM »
Charles2008

Quick answer for now, more later
Steer clear of custom iso's, more trouble than they are worth.
Go with sme8b7 (RC1 almost here), and add contribs on as needed basis.
Please search before asking, an answer may already exist.
The Search & other links to useful information are at top of Forum.

Re: HP Proliant Microserver
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 04:10:58 AM »
Charles2008
Only 2 users at the moment - but several hundred Gb of data (music, video) and growing.
The old server had handled a small workgroup of 10 very well until we upgraded theirs. It is a P4 with 2 Gb RAM and 2 x 320 Gb HDD.

They got an equipment grant and decided to buy a new system (still SME, though) and I got their old server 3 years ago. Now I want a new server with new disks - the old one have had 5 or 6 years.

Cheers
Ian
___________________
Sydney, NSW, Australia