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BUILDING A QUICKBOOKS SERVER

Last response: in Networking
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June 17, 2009 7:45:17 AM

I am upgrading my Quick books network. I don't really know that much about networking and don't have the resources or connections to get a professional to do this so I am forced to figure it out myself.

So far, I have Quickbooks version 7 enterprise running on a windows xp pro network with five pc's. I am upgrading to Quickbooks version 9 and adding five more pc's and a server.

The QB server will be a 64bit dell Quad core machine with 6gb of ram and a 500gb hard drive. Not raided. My router is a linksys gigabit switch.

My question is, will installing Windows server 2008 increase the speed of Quickbooks & the overall network? And should it be configured as a workgroup or domain? I am trying to keep this as simple as possible.

Thanks!
June 18, 2009 9:30:00 AM

By the way, which version of Windows Server would you choose 2003 or 2008? Or just a workgroup using the Quickbooks Server software?

Anyone??
June 18, 2009 12:41:59 PM

To take the full advantage of Server 2008, it has to be paired with Vista SP1 clients as well. Use one of your client PC and install Vista SP1/SP2 on it (remember to have at least 2GB RAM) along with Quickbooks v9 then see how it goes in terms of compatibility.

Going from Server 2003 to 2008 is mainly to do with extra features required by modern database/file servers rather than purely speed improvement.

Any particular reason for the upgrade? Is it just future proofing or are you finding lack of speed in certain areas?
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June 18, 2009 8:25:14 PM

The shop is being expanded and Intuit will not sell me additional licenses for Enterprise version 7. So I am moving to version 9.

Do you think I even need to install a SERVER Operating system? The Quickbooks Server enviroment has it's own Server that I could dedicate to the clients. Do you think that is good enough? Or does a network of this size REQUIRE a server os?

Thanks!
June 19, 2009 6:09:13 AM

Now I am having a problem with my network. I have a workgroup setup and can ping the XP clients but when I ping the VISTA 64 server it will receive but not send. Hmmmmm
June 19, 2009 10:03:41 AM

I'm currently running Server 2008 because of Active Directory, DFS (distributed file system) and running Exchange Server on it. Previously the server was running 2003 with XP clients. The primary reason for the upgrade was moving to Vista SP1 for clients machines (dealing with XP machines is a pain now) and to take advantage of extra speed from SMB2(file serving protocol) which Server2008 provides when paired with Vista.

Quote:
Do you think I even need to install a SERVER Operating system?

If the purpose is just to run Quickbook server, then probably not. But if you require any of the server features that Windows Server provide then obviously yes.

You can also take a look at SBS2008 which is a cut-down version of Server 2008 Standard, there's a comparison chart somewhere in Microsoft's website. It's a little bit cheaper too.
June 19, 2009 10:07:46 AM

robdrmz said:
Now I am having a problem with my network. I have a workgroup setup and can ping the XP clients but when I ping the VISTA 64 server it will receive but not send. Hmmmmm

From another XP machine I'm assuming?
Check the built-in firewall setting (or any 3rd party ones) of the Vista machine. Simple problems can oftenly arise from there.
June 19, 2009 8:13:09 PM

The one thing to note is that the server application that quickbooks uses to share your company files on one device is tied to the account you log in with. Meaning that if you actually log off say the administrator on the machine you have hosting your company files then hosting is turned off and you need to log back in and re-open the 'Quickbooks Database Server Manager.'

A workaround is to just lock a session you are logged in with or google "running a program as a service" and there is many helpful utilites to keep the application running all the time. The Database server manager is a different installation when using version 9 (it is available on the version 9 installation cd and doesn't use a license key) and when opened all you need to do is set where your company files are stored and tell the server manager to scan that and verify all files are setup for multi-user mode. When opened it runs in your system tray on the bottom right.

*** Your network issue may be a result of setting a profile for your LAN connection. When you connect for the first time Vista will generally ask you what type of connection profile should be set for this link (WORK, HOME, PUBLIC). A lot of times that will cause connection issues.

Also check the firewall although if you say it is receiving but not sending do you mean you can ping the Vista device from another machine and are unable to ping anything from your Vista machine?
June 24, 2009 5:09:15 AM


First, I want to say thank you to everyone for all the replies.

Well I have the server up and running, and all of the the machines connected to it. Now I just have a few BIG issues that I have to stamp out before this goes live.

1)I can PING every machine on the network from every machine on the network. My XP clients can LOGON and can share the QB data on the VISTA machine's PUBLIC directory. Try to access a directory on the desktop - NO MATTER WHAT - with permissions, it will not allow the XP machines access. I always get the error "\\server\qbdata is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this resource."

2)My Vista machine has 3 networks listed. One is in use. The XP machines are not part of the same network as the VISTA machine. I downloaded the LLTD from microsoft. All my XP machines are SP3 so it wouldn't install. I have the VISTA Location set as a private network, somewhere is said that I should program IP addresses. I have all the ip's but can't figure that out. Anyone know?

3)The QB multi-user mode is SLOOOOW. All these new machines are much better and on a gigabit network yet, it takes longer to open documents and process files in QB. Do you think it is the network settings? I'm freaking out!!

Best,
-Rob
June 25, 2009 5:01:21 PM

Well my first question regarding your file sharing may be related to #2. What type of server are you using? Is this an actual Windows server operating system or are you using a Vista based workstation that is playing the role of server?

My understanding is this:
1. On any Windows XP machine you can load quickbooks, Open an existing comapny profile (stored on your server via a mapped network drive?) and open this file in multi-user mode. --- Or is it that when you search to your Vista (the server) shared directory where the company files are stored you can see the files but cannot open them and log in via Quickbooks on any machine?

2. For issue #2 it sounds like you have your Windows XP PC's setup on a different workgroup than your Windows Vista machines. They should be configured on the same Workgroups for ease of accesss.

3. For issue 3 can you tell me what type of machine the server is? Also how many users are connecting to a company file simultaneously? Do you have more than one company file to test with or is it any of them that are slow (it could be the size of the file that is making it take so long)? How are you hosting the files on the server, do you have a full Quickbooks install or are you using the Quickbooks Database Server Manager to share all files?
June 25, 2009 5:18:46 PM

Can you verify that you have hosting disabled on all quickbooks machines other than the server. I believe if you log in on Quickbooks on all the XP/Vista machines and choose file > utilities > look for something that says "Stop hosting." ( if it says this it means the machine you are using thinks it is serving this company file). If there is a option to "Start hosting this file" then that device is not being used as a server.
August 5, 2009 9:21:32 AM

98869,10,67759 said:

1. what type of server are you using? Is this an actual Windows server operating system or are you using a Vista based workstation that is playing the role of server?

Answer: Yes, I have a 6gb Dell Quad core Server running a 400gb hard drive and it is setup in a workgroup. I did not see benefit in a domain. Also, I am hosting the files with the Database server manager. Not a full install. Does that matter?

The only machine running VISTA is the server. All of the clients are XP. I got lucky at the Point of purchase. ;-)


I am trying to share the printer now. I have purchased a DP-301P+ and am trying to connect my HP LaserJet to the network. I was able to get one of the XP clients to print, but my router is set as a DHCP server.

How do I use a print server with a DHCP server?
August 5, 2009 10:19:01 PM

I guess my question was, how does a print server work on a DHCP server when your print server needs a STATIC IP and the DHCP server is giving out ip addresses?

It seems to conflict on machines when I set it up. For instance, I can either have the printer working or the internet. When I go to that little box and uncheck "get ip address automatically" it will print, but not access the internet. How do I configure my router/network do do both? Am I being clear enough?

Thanks!
September 9, 2009 7:26:41 PM

robdrmz,

Did you ever get this sorted out? I've a couple friends (clients for computer work) who I help with their PCs, and they use QuickBooks. One of them does property management. And I've mentioned the idea of setting up a central file server for their Quickbooks files, documents, etc.

Along those lines, I got to thinking about trying another Linux server just to try it out. My last go round didn't work out, b/c the hardware I wanted to use wasn't fully compatible with different Linux distros for one reason or another.

Anyhow, I thought I'd try again, and specifically got to thinking about the Quickbooks setup on a Linux file server. In case you ever wanted to try this (since it sounds like you're really only needing a file and/or print server out of the deal):
http://www.howtoforge.com/samba_quickbooks_incompatibil...

And also, I'm looking at SME Server again. It would have worked beautifully for me, except it didn't recognize my RAID card before.... but if you're not using RAID anyway, it wouldn't matter:
www.smeserver.org

And you say you can't afford a "professional." That may depend upon what your definition of a professional is, and your location, who you know, etc. But it sounds like if you have the time, you know enough to get it running. ;0)

Post back with your progress.
September 9, 2009 7:41:03 PM

Oh, almost forgot. Your post earlier said:
==>3)The QB multi-user mode is SLOOOOW. All these new machines are much better and on a gigabit network yet, it takes longer to open documents and process files in QB. Do you think it is the network settings? I'm freaking out!!

This problem very well could just be your router. What router model do you have? I know that the DIR-655 will handle a TON of connections, throughput, etc. Of course, if all your clients are wired, not wireless, then it wouldn't be enough by itself. Regardless, your issue could very well be resolved by getting a different router/switch.

Another piece of performance could be this: One user using quickbooks can be fairly resource intensive. If say 5 users access quickbooks files on the server at the same time, that could definitely slow things down. If you don't have a RAID configuration setup, then even more so. Or, the least thing you could do on the server is to have one hard drive for the system, and one for the storage files. You said it has a 400GB hard drive. That may be fine for one PC, but when sharing files, it's best to have them on a separate drive.

Hard drives are cheap compared to a lot of other things. If you can afford to spend $100 to $300 per hard drive, you could set up a faster system this way:

Minimum:
1. 1 WD Velociraptor for the system (on the server) - $150 to $300 depending upon which drive you choose, and where you buy.
2. 2 WD Black 1TB hard drives in a RAID 1 configuration for data files.

Medium setup:
1. 2 WD Velociraptors in RAID 1 for the system - $300 to $600
2. 3 WD Black 1TB hard drives in a RAID 5 configuration for data files... or 4 of them in a RAID 10/0+1 setup, possibly to greater increase performance.

High-end setup:
1. 2 to 4 Velociraptors in a RAID config - you choose at this point... if you can afford 4 of them, you could do a RAID 10 or 0+1 for performance and redundancy.

OR
1. 2 to 4 high-end SSDs, Intel models (expensive) setup in RAID. (I don't personally yet recommend this, b/c it's still a young technology, and though they are extremely fast - the high-end models, there seems to still be a fair amount of risk and bottle-necks with flash memory in general - though they are decreasing seemingly by the day.

2. Your data storage would be the same as "medium" setup.

For RAID comfiguration, you can do that in the BIOS or within the OS - Windows or Linux.

RAID is more of a pain to setup, honestly, but it would be well worth it. At the least, I'd setup 1 Velociraptor (or at least an old Raptor) for the OS, and one WD Black 1TB drive for data. That'd set you back $250 at minimum. But the performance difference should be huge.

The Velociraptor spins at 10,000 RPMS, and has a 5 year warranty.
The old Raptor also spins at 10,000 RPMS, and has a 5 year warranty - from mfg date, if there are still any made - you can still get them on eBay for sure.
The WD black spins at 7,200 RPMS, but is built on same tech as Raptor/Velociraptor, and has 5 year warranty.

Also, supposedly, for the best RAID setup and stability from WD hard drives, WD built the RE3 series of hard drives. Those are supposed to be more enterprise level, and more "RAID happy" you could say. ;0)

I hope it all worked out, or is working out for you. Be sure to post back with some sort of info on how things have progressed.
Anonymous
September 17, 2009 7:09:01 PM

robdrmz

Quote:
Oh, almost forgot. Your post earlier said:
==>3)The QB multi-user mode is SLOOOOW. All these new machines are much better and on a gigabit network yet, it takes longer to open documents and process files in QB. Do you think it is the network settings? I'm freaking out!!


I'm seeing a similar response with an upgrade from QB2006 to 2009. The network access has slowed down considerably with the upgrade. Ran version 2006 on a network with multiple users for a few years with no issues. No significant change in users or hardware or anything else. There may be a 2009 issue.

Quote:
Another piece of performance could be this: One user using quickbooks can be fairly resource intensive. If say 5 users access quickbooks files on the server at the same time, that could definitely slow things down. If you don't have a RAID configuration setup, then even more so. Or, the least thing you could do on the server is to have one hard drive for the system, and one for the storage files. You said it has a 400GB hard drive. That may be fine for one PC, but when sharing files, it's best to have them on a separate drive.


Come on, this is a Quad-core server handling just a few users (if I read correctly). I'm supporting 7 QB users plus other multimedia file sharing and access on a dual-core PC with 1GB RAM. I think any slow access is NOT a server issue, but either a networking problem (do you have slow access with other file sharing other than QB?) or a QB problem (as mentioned, I also seeing a significant slowdown just from upgrading to QB 2009). Recommending SSD's and Raptors, IMHO, is unnecessary expenditure and simply throwing money at the problem. The most I will suggest a far as "upgrading" the server, is to install a second hard drive for mirroring (basic redundancy - RAID-1).

If you are still having issues, I suggest getting a knowledgeable person to look at the system for you. It should not cost too much for a "review and recommendation" and would be money well spent.

In any case, the areas to look at:
1. Server access. Test the speed of moving files to & from the "server" independent of Quickbooks. That will determine whether your network is capable or has problems
2. Multi-user Server access. Same as above, but use multiple clients at the same time, also accessing same and different files simultaneously.
3. Server Capacity. Using the Task Manager or other system status tools, determine whether there is adequate memory on you server and that it is not "swapping" - using virtual memory - this causes a slow down of the system
4. Network congestion. With few clients, this is not very likely, but ensure that your network is working. Try something like accessing the Internet from multiple clients simultaneously - try streaming a video or some audio (YouTube or other content) will suffice. If there are problems there, you may have a faulty network switch. The smaller ones are also cheap enough that you can buy a 5-port or 8-port just for testing or comparing with your router.
5. Load on clients. Maybe the clients are too heavily loaded...... doesn't sound like a very likely possibility, but trying to cover all the bases here......
6. Vista as a Server - I have personally found that serving files from Vista is slower on a network than serving from Linux (Knoppix) on the same hardware. Whether this could be responsible for the major slowdown, I'm not sure. But, you can look into the other suggestion of using Linux (one of the Distro's) as your File Server. There are lots of tutorials and HowTo's online on how to do this - even from Intuit themselves.

Hope this helps.
September 12, 2012 10:35:56 AM

With fast performance and higher uptime for than what a local network provides,saving your precious time accessing your accounting data. Additionally, QuickBooks access saves on your transportation costs as you and your client can concurrently work on the same file, update records, as well as all in real time via the Internet.

Quickbooks server
!