Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cost of hardware for Foundations & SBS & EBS

What does it cost to buy servers for your SMB software solution? Let's consider the absolute minimum dollar cost to get a hardware platform for a cost-concious small business.

Lotus Foundation Server:
The LFS manual lists the hardware requirements as an x86 based system with one GB of memory and a hard disk. (Note that it is feasible, but not recommended, to run the core LFS system from the CD drive). When you add on the requirements for providing Domino services in LFS the picture changes slightly. The manual recommends 1 GB of memory on a Pentium 4 3.0GHz processor (or AMD equivalent) with SATA disks. Personally I'd bump the minimum ram up to 2GB, but I'd suggest that for any server running Domino 8.

That configuration is about as low end as you can get for a server, and if uptime isn't an issue then you might get away with installing LFS on a high-end PC. In reality, you're looking at an IBM X-series or equivilent which might set you back $2-3,000 once you add hard disks and some extra ram.

Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 R2:
Microsoft recommends 1GB of ram and a minimum of 16GB of hard disk space although additional available hard-disk space may be required if you are installing over a network. The OS footprint is a little heavy for my liking but we're still playing in the same financial ballpark as LFS.

Microsoft Small Business Server 2008:
Microsoft recommends a 2GHz Processor with 4 GB RAM and 60 GB hard drive. If you want to run the additional server which is required for SQL then that box will need a 2 GHz processor with 2 GB RAM and 40 GB disk space. That's a heavier investment than you need for LFS, but not dramatically so. Say $5,000 for both servers.

Microsoft Essential Business Server 2008:
Microsoft recommends the following configuration:
  • Three physical servers with 64-bit processors running a 64-bit operating system. If you want to install EBS Premium edition to run SQL server you will need a fourth server.
  • 10GB of RAM split up between Management Server with 4 GB , Security Server with 2 GB and Messaging Server with 4 GB.
  • 60GB of hard disk space per server with hard disk speeds = 10K RPM or greater.

I think the hardware investment just moved seriously into five figures with a corresponding jump in the cost of consulting to glue it all together along with the question of where you are going to physically locate these boxes. I hope they have a properly air-conditioned server room. One of my SMB clients with 25 staff is reasonably free with their IT dollars in terms of investing in technology but I can't figure how I could persuade them to invest in four new servers just to have the honor of running the latest and greatest server package from Microsoft.

Fortunately I don't need to :)

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