You don’t put applications that suck on a SBS box

Small Biz Thoughts by Karl Palachuk: Overloading SBS:

I’m going to disagree with Karl here about placing applications on a SBS box.  The key is not that you should be limiting the amount of applications on a SBS box, but rather you should limit the amount of applications that are written poorly and quite frankly suck, on a SBS box.  And you should look to the number of people in that database and the use and needs.  American Contractor for one is a FoxPro database that I just can’t see should be taxing that box too much.

The image below is a real SBS box, now granted that’s it at the end of the day when everyone has gone home, but it’s still there processing email, doing what it’s supposed to be doing.  The only down time that box has had has been when Trend flatlined it for the untested A/V dat update, and a few oddities here and there…but for the most part it’s been chugging along since 2004.  

As you can see by that CPU usage there, it’s not being taxed right now.  And part of that is chosing application software, throttling back MSDE instances or bumping pu the performance counter for memory, but it’s certainly not overloaded, mainly because the applications on it, don’t suck.

This box has Quickbooks loaded up on the server and not too choppy in it’s performance.

Now this box below, a normal Windows 2003 server has an application on it that I’d never let near a SBS box.  Choppy performance, throws of event log errors, bombs out the IIS worker process.  This app, and all of that choppiness you see is totally from this application that I won’t name, shouldn’t be on a SBS box.

And that’s the key.  When there is an app that just is not designed well, then that’s the reason.

And for the record, I’ve recently called PSS/CSS support for an issue with Windows 2003 sp2.  And the person I spoke with knew SBS, was a front line person as we say down here.  We went through the various steps, ensured my issue wasn’t ISA, and and all in all I had a satisfying experience.  So I’ll argue with Karl that the support line is horribly incompetent.  There are good ones and bad ones in every team.  And I’ve had some bad ones in other teams.

Perhaps what Karl should be pushing for is a statement from PSS that says “We don’t support the installation of sucky/poorly written applications on a SBS box”.  That would help us all push back on the vendors.  Because in my opinion, that’s where the real problem lies.  If you can’t build an application for a small business and fit and behave on a SBS box, then that app vendor needs to code cleaner in general.  Because if they suck on a SBS box, they will suck just as much on a standalone box.

Consider moving both the SBS box and an app server to a virtual box. 

But to flat out say nothing extra loaded on a SBS box?  Sorry that’s going to the extreme in my book.  I think like everything down here in the smb world…. “It depends.”

2 Thoughts on “You don’t put applications that suck on a SBS box

  1. My point had absolutely nothing to do with performance counters. Most of us are selling super over-built SBS boxes.

    The point is: When you lob a bunch of line of business applications on top of the already-complicated SBS system, you’re asking for trouble when it comes time to call tech support.

    I would love to only work with well-written, professionally supported LOBs, but I don’t have that luxury. Clients spend tens of thousands — sometimes hundreds of thousands — of dollars on crap that only works with .net 1.0.

    Is it realistic for Microsoft or any collection of technicians to maintain a list of all LOBs and which are well-written and well-behaved? I don’t think so.

  2. bradley on June 14, 2007 at 8:50 am said:

    If I am spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on crap, then it goes on a separate box merely due to the price tag.

    If I’m spending that much already, it gets it’s own box just as a matter of principle.

    If it’s a thousand or so, I’ll take my chances and handle the patch management.

    It comes down to “it depends”

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