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Windows 7: Best server OS for use with windows 7 machines


06 Aug 2009   #1

Windows 7 x64 RC
 
 
Best server OS for use with windows 7 machines

Hi,

I do intensive 2d/3d design on 3-4 computers running windows 7 64 bit. I presently have a 'server' which holds all the data, Windows XP 32bit. I am dealing with large files (300mb+) and saving/opening times are too long, so I want to re-configure the server so that it is faster.

The priorities with the server are fast file sharing, and being able to run the printers would be a bonus, but not a requirement.

I am not familiar with operating systems other than Windows and Mac OS, but I do have programming experience and am willing to get my hands dirty.

I am not willing to fork out 500+ for Windows server, though.

There is no tight deadline on this, so I have time to figure it out properly.

Which would the best server OS be for this? (I know this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question, but I have to start somewhere )

Any help, advice or comments would be very much appreciated.

Cheers,

Casputin


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Aug 2009   #2

Win7 Build 7600 x86
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by casputin View Post
Hi,

I do intensive 2d/3d design on 3-4 computers running windows 7 64 bit. I presently have a 'server' which holds all the data, Windows XP 32bit. I am dealing with large files (300mb+) and saving/opening times are too long, so I want to re-configure the server so that it is faster.

The priorities with the server are fast file sharing, and being able to run the printers would be a bonus, but not a requirement.

I am not familiar with operating systems other than Windows and Mac OS, but I do have programming experience and am willing to get my hands dirty.

I am not willing to fork out 500+ for Windows server, though.

There is no tight deadline on this, so I have time to figure it out properly.

Which would the best server OS be for this? (I know this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question, but I have to start somewhere )

Any help, advice or comments would be very much appreciated.

Cheers,

Casputin
Hi Casputin,

Do you have 100mbit or gigabit network?

If you don't have gigabit, you might consider that.
A lot cheaper than changing the os, which will bring you little performance gain anyhow.

Also setting up raid on your server in combination with gigabit network, can improve your transfer more than any OS could.

Greetz
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #3

7264x64/7260x86
 
 

Yup, as mentioned above, your first hurdle is gonna be getting your network to be gigabit. If that's still not fast enough configure everything with jumbo frames (you might have to get new switch/router).

Os isn't gonna make that much of a difference unless is getting stressed with background apps, which it doesn't seem that way.

You could look into getting a headless NAS as well.

ReadyNAS from netgear will do what you need, including act as a printer sharing. I get up to 25 megs a sec with gigabit before optimizing for jumbo frames.

You could look into HP smart server as well. You can run windows applications inside the server if need be, runs on win server.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Aug 2009   #4

Win7 Build 7600 x86
 
 

hi copernicus

Good additions.


btw. 25 mb/s with gigabit is relatively slow, but is of course dependent on many factors, rpm of disks, cache, ide or sata, chipsets, switch, etc..

I get to 50/55 mb/s with large files and 30/35 mb/s with small ones.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #5

Windows 7 x64 RC
 
 

Hi guys,

Thanks for your advice. I have 1gbits ethernet cards and hubs on the relevant computers.

2 further questions:

Is there a program I can get to accurately test transfer speeds over the network?

I have a Dell Dimension 8600, p4 3.0ghz. This computer is now a little old, and obviously not top-of-the-line server material, but do you think I will be able to get decent performance out of it as a server?

Cheers, Caspar
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #6

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by casputin View Post
Hi guys,

Thanks for your advice. I have 1gbits ethernet cards and hubs on the relevant computers.

2 further questions:

Is there a program I can get to accurately test transfer speeds over the network?

I have a Dell Dimension 8600, p4 3.0ghz. This computer is now a little old, and obviously not top-of-the-line server material, but do you think I will be able to get decent performance out of it as a server?

Cheers, Caspar
I have a dell 8400 P-IV 3.2 with 4 gigs and it runs home server well. Ethernet gig cat 6E, network backups, file server, etc.

Ken
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #7

7264x64/7260x86
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by squonksc View Post
hi copernicus

Good additions.


btw. 25 mb/s with gigabit is relatively slow, but is of course dependent on many factors, rpm of disks, cache, ide or sata, chipsets, switch, etc..

I get to 50/55 mb/s with large files and 30/35 mb/s with small ones.
I just checked my speeds again and I need to do some investigating, just pulled an "awesome" 8megs a second. =/

Wait, you're pulling 50 megabytes, or megabits?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #8

Windows 7 x64 RC
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zigzag3143 View Post
I have a dell 8400 P-IV 3.2 with 4 gigs and it runs home server well. Ethernet gig cat 6E, network backups, file server, etc.

Ken

Hi Ken,

that sounds promising, what sorta file transfer speeds are you getting?

Caspar
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2009   #9
Ndi

Windows 7 RC
 
 

100M connections transfer between 9.7 and 11.2 MB/s in a collision-free environment. We estimate this to be 10M/s in normal operation.

Gigabit connections work at approx 1G (yes), and transfer over 100 MBytes per second on a star architecture over CAT5e or CAT6. CAT5 is OK, but distances are smaller for the same performance.

However, a standard datagram (packet) over the IP connection is quite small, about 1.5K, and that translates to approx 67.000 packets a second, which is way beyond that capabilities of the clocks that drive the NICs as well as the CPUs of lesser machines.

To achieve the bandwidth mentioned above you need

* a gigabit switch that can handle multiple gigabit links (some have gigabit ports and a gigabit pump but the ports share it, so with 10 ports you share the 1000M down to 100M per port) AND jumbo frames

* gigabit NICs (network cards) that support jumbo frames

* CAT5e cable for short distances (few tens of meters) or CAT6 for longer (100m+)

* A server with a decent CPU and a good LAN card that supports task offloading or simply a good, powerful, mostly-dedicated CPU.

* A star configuration. Star configuration consists of a main switch/router in which all clients and the server link directly. This is opposed to a cascaded setup, in which the main switch is linked to a secondary (floor) switch that links to a tertiary (room) switch and so on. With high-performance routers, the loss is small but with low quality equipment it's shot.

The best way to benchmark link is to give it a true-to-reality test.

E.g., write a batch file that does this (Disclamer here)

echo ^M | time
copy z:\mylargefile c:
echo ^M | time

The output will show you time before and after operation. NOTE THE TRANSFER RATE IS LIMITED BY LOCAL DRIVE. If you get a decent rate, like 50M or so, it's probably fine and it's your local drive that is limiting.

If you get 4-5 MB, this is typical of 100M equipment trying to handle 1G data. For example, the NIC at the other end has been upgraded to link at 1000M but the on-board CPU is still processing at lower speed. Also, it could be that not everyone supports jumbo frames, or there's something else out of the order.

You could go on the server and make a copy with the batch file above. Let's assume you copy c:\test.file to c:\test2.file in 10 seconds, to a rate of 30 MB/s. Minus seek time, your hdd should deliver c:\test.file at some 60-65 M/s. Try over the network.

Also, to get no-local-disk results, try to copy a file into "nul".

Or get a trial of a program that displays speed (Windows 7 does, IIRC), but stuff like Speed Commander is easier to monitor.

Oh, and, as a final thought, use the Task Manager to monitor the adapter load. With approx 100M/s and 100% graph, the percentage is sorta equivalent to megabytes. 15% average means 15M/s (1.5 for 100M links).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Feb 2010   #10

Windows 7 x64 RC
 
 

A little update, I ended up impulse buying a new Dell Vostro to have as a dedicated server. Updated all our network infrastructure to gigabit, and put two 1TB hard drives on the server, Mirrored RAID.

It works like a dream, I get 60-80megaBYTE transfer speeds, I just copied a 2gb file over the network and it took a matter of seconds.

I also discovered that in 3ds max I had 'broken links' essentially, which it was searching through the entire server to find these files every time it saved. I fixed this as well, so now my saves are lightning quick!

Thanks for your help, guys!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Best server OS for use with windows 7 machines




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