QuickBooks Network

QuickBooks and SSD Drives

A reader asked some great questions today.

I am looking to put my QuickBooks company files, accessed by five users, on RAID. Which RAID configuration do you recommend for this?

I know QuickBooks does not recommend RAID and you mentioned it too, but do they mean its not recommended for just for installing QuickBooks and/or the database file too?

I am thinking about getting a 64 bit Xeon, 16 GB memory, Windows 7 Pro computer to use as a server for QuickBooks Enterprise 14, what are your thoughts?

I know its an overkill but I rather be overpowered than under powered and at $600, why not?

I will be replacing the main drive with a 256GB SSD, which will also be used to install QuickBooks Enterprise 14. Again, your thoughts?

My answers:

For my money, I’m following Intuit’s recommendations to not put the QuickBooks application or company files on a raid volume and to use a physical server, not a virtual server.

Regarding RAID generally; RAID 1 volumes run terribly slow. I’ve personally seen many RAID 5 volumes fail completely. I’ve also seen RAID rebuilds after a drive failure cripple a server for over 24 hours. I never use RAID 1 or 5 unless I’m backed into a corner. But, I will use RAID 10 volumes as they are much more dependable, and expensive.

I like your choice of desktop computer. You’re right about it being overkill for the server, but it would make a great client computer. In the default client-server setup with QuickBooks configured as a client-server application and native QuickBooks software installed on each client computer that accesses QuickBooks on the server, most of the processing occurs on the client computers.

I also like your choice of an SSD drive. Anything to speed up I/O will improve QuickBooks performance. That includes regular company file maintenance. RAID slows I/O performance; consequently, Intuit recommends against RAID.

I would still use a Windows XP Pro computer as my server and invest money for performance options in my client computers. I would also consider using an SSD drive in my XP Pro server.

If I was concerned about recovering a failed drive, I would use a product like Acronis to image my server for bare metal recovery. The server should be imaged after every change; like a QuickBooks version upgrade. If the server fails, bring up another server from the image, then restore your last QuickBooks backup to the new server.

Networking QuickBooks Requires Mapping A Network Drive

I’ve been all over the map about QuickBooks requirement to map a network drive in a QuickBooks multi user setup. For awhile, UNC paths were the way to go. First it was \\[server name]\[share name] not mapped, then \\[ip address]\[share name] not mapped. Now it appears that we’re back to mapped drives.

Straight from the source, Intuit spells out QuickBooks curent thinking about mapped drives below.

QuickBooks Map Drive

The take away: Do it by the book, there must be a good reason.

I’ve learned from experience that when picking a drive letter, choose something above LMNOP and make it the same for every computer accessing QuickBooks.

QuickBooks License Problem Solved

Straight from the source, Intuit spells out QuickBooks licensing. Yes, you can use a copy of QuickBooks to support your QuickBooks server company files without using a QuickBooks license.

QuickBooks Licensing

The big take away:

QuickBooks Pro and Premier allow a maximum of five simultaneous users. Need more than five, use QuickBooks Enterprise, good to 30 users.

QuickBooks uses both a per computer and per person license model. Last I heard, my remote accessing CPA was a person and Intuit requires him to have a license. As a ProAdvisor, I’m certain he has his own license, so I don’t have to purchase one for him. Am I wrong? Let me know in the comments.