Topic: Recorder 6 server, etc

I'm trying to write a business plan for Lincolnshire BRC and I need to put some sort of figure on the hard/software that we would need to run Recorder 6 with over a million records - can anyone help? Also, I don't really understand the whole SQL server bit, i.e. what it consists of, licences, etc. and what it actually does.

Sorry to sound so dim!

Margaret Haggerty
Lincolnshire BRC Development Officer

Margaret Haggerty
Lincolnshire ERC Development Officer

Re: Recorder 6 server, etc

Hi Margaret, welcome to the forum.

The (ideal) hardware requirements for a server based Recorder 6 installation are a bit of an unknown at the moment seeing as it's not really being used extensively in LRCs at the moment. I'll be able to tell you more when we begin testing on our server, which will be soon. I'd suggest either talking directly to Dorset or JNCC. Hampshire have also been using a version of 6 for a while now, so they may be able to help.

One important aspect you'll need to consider is how many users will be accessing and using the database at the same time. It could be that if it's 5 users or less and your database is under 2GB in size, then you'll be able to stick with the free version of SQL Server (called MSDE) that comes with Recorder 6.

There are also other factors to consider when trying to work out a total cost of ownership for a SQL Server beyond buying the hardware and software, such as support costs. Who is going to maintain and administer the server and the software?

In terms of licensing, again there's no straightforward answer. You can buy SQL Server in a plethora of flavours, and in several ways, depending on the way it's being used and by how many people. Microsoft's SQL Server "how to buy" page gives you some information (prices are in dollars, though). The SQL Server 2000 Product Overview should give you some insight into the vast array of options available for a SQL Server.

So as you can see, it's not terribly straightforward, and really you need to sit down with an SQL Server expert, or an R6 reseller, and discuss your needs so as to best formulate a solution. Here in Sussex I have the benefit of having the Wildlife Trust's resident IT person who has administered the Trust's server for some time. I'll be sure to share my experiences and let you know how we get on when we begin testing. Any futher information you are able to gather and share would be most welcome, so please do post your findings on the forum.

Good luck!

Charles

Re: Recorder 6 server, etc

Sorry, I didn't answer your question as to what SQL Server actually does. It's a huge subject, but I'll try and explain very briefly (I've included links to further reading): SQL Server is a server based Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). To undestand what an RDBMS is, you need to first know what a DBMS is. It also helps to understand what what "client" and "server" means.

If you've been using Recorder 2002, which is based on the Microsoft's "Jet" RDBMS (aka Access), then you already know, more or less, what an RDBMS does. SQL Server is, to put it very, very simply, a more powerful version of Jet. It allows you to work with more data and do more with those data; it's simply a more advanced technology. Futhermore, because SQL Server runs on a server, which can be an extremely powerful machine (or cluster of machines running in unison), then the client machines (the actual PCs the users are working on) can be relatively low-powered and cheap because the server does all the hard processing work. Now, although Jet can run on a server, it actually does so very inefficiently and can't make use of the server's powerful hardware. Suffice to say, Jet isn't a true server based RDBMS and is, in comparison to SQL Server, very limited.

So to sum up, SQL Server allows us to expand our data almost infinitely (well, not really infinitely, but you get the point), while Jet limits us to relatively small datasets and imposes various restrictions; although its benefits include it being cheap and simple, which is why it remains popular.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any further questions if you need anything clarifying.

Charles

Re: Recorder 6 server, etc

Just to help with costs. SQL Server does come with Miscrosoft's Small Business Server. I have that here so if your run SBS which is pretty good on price, you should have no problems. I have recenyly bought SQL Server Standard Edition. The cost was about

Tony Price
Data Manager, Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC)

Re: Recorder 6 server, etc

[Cross-posted on SmtGrp. But it hasn't appeared! Besides, this group appears more consistent.]

Well, today's the day when we start system testing!

A couple of things come to mind after liason with out IT dept. Namely for the setup you describe, Charles, how many concurrent users do you anticipate working with R6 on a daily/weekly basis?

Author wrote:
> We're pretty much in the same boat as Brian: we're sharing the SxWT's
> server. It's also got their Progress membership database on there
> along with MS Exchange and a slew of other things. It's a dual Xeon
> 2.8GHz server with 1GB RAM and a SCSI RAID, so it's a fairly powerful
> machine.

The other thing is a recent revelation that the probable reason I can't edit or merge most of my R2K data is likely to be because it came from different sources whom will still be the owner(s).

We've set up an agreement with one of our contractors who will transfer ownership when they upgrade to R6 later on this year. However, what's the chances of trying to transfer ownership for datasets that are 4-5 years old?
In most cases they were done by a volunteer who has moved on & doesn't look like they knew what they were doing either...

Something to keep our overworked cells working on in the background. Will keep ye all posted as regards our testing, Cheers now, Rob.

Rob Bradley
Edinburgh

Re: Recorder 6 server, etc

Rob.Bradley wrote:

A couple of things come to mind after liason with out IT dept. Namely for the setup you describe, Charles, how many concurrent users do you anticipate working with R6 on a daily/weekly basis?

How many concurrent users to we have, do you mean? If so, we only have about 2 or 3 people using R6 at the same time, maximum. Usually only one person uses it at a time. I couldn't tell you how well things scale as I've had no experience with more than three users at a time. What I can say is that a powerful processor and lots of RAM make a big difference even with only a standalone install. I've also found using SQL Server 2005 makes a huge difference when using the import wizard - it's much, much faster than SQL Server 2000.

Rob.Bradley wrote:

The other thing is a recent revelation that the probable reason I can't edit or merge most of my R2K data is likely to be because it came from different sources whom will still be the owner(s).

We've set up an agreement with one of our contractors who will transfer ownership when they upgrade to R6 later on this year. However, what's the chances of trying to transfer ownership for datasets that are 4-5 years old?
In most cases they were done by a volunteer who has moved on & doesn't look like they knew what they were doing either...

Something to keep our overworked cells working on in the background. Will keep ye all posted as regards our testing, Cheers now, Rob.

You can transfer custodianship if you are the custodian of the data. So, what you could do is change your SiteID (to that of the data owners) in the settings table, then do an export with custodian transfer, then change your SiteID back again and re-import. I've never done this before, but it should work, in theory.