Home > Virtualization, Windows Servers > Deltek Vision a Year Later

Deltek Vision a Year Later

I’ve been getting questions in the comments on my blog about our Deltek Vision system now that it’s been in and in production for a while. Instead of answering them in the comments, I thought I’d do a new post.

First, I’ll describe what we’ve settled on for our hardware deployment. We run Vision completely virtualized on two different VMware platforms, in a three-server configuration. We have a SQL Server 2005 server running Windows 2003 Server Enterprise edition as a VM on VMWare ESX Server on a dedicated blade server. We have a Vision reporting server (Actuate) running Windows 2003 Server Standard edition on ESX Server on a blade server that is shared with other workloads. We have a Vision Web Tier server running Windows 2003 Server Standard edition on VMWare Server (the free server virtualization product) on a SuSE Linux Enterprise Server host that is shared with other workloads. All physical servers use shared storage in a fibre-channel SAN.

The reason we settled on ESX Server for SQL Server 2005 is that under load, we couldn’t get SQL to behave properly in VMware Server. We tried various different setups, different filesystems on the VMware Server host, and in every instance SQL Server behaved in a flaky unpredictable manner, failing in various ways.

The reason we settled on ESX Server for the reporting tier was because we wanted to have a second ESX Server to run the SQL Server VM on in case the first ESX Server died, so we needed it anyways. Otherwise the Vision Reporting tier runs fine in VMware Server.

The end user interface is provided by the web tier which is just an IIS server in VMware Server. It is plenty fast enough for us. We have about 600 users give or take a few. This server is pretty lightweight, all told, and we could probably get away with running the web tier and the reporting tier on the same box, but that would limit our expandability, and we’re growing fast.

All in all, everything has worked great for the last year. My caveats are that you want to strongly consider running SQL Server either in ESX Server or on bare iron. The rest of Vision, at least for a company of our size, works great virtualized on moderately powerful server gear (ours is a couple of years old already).

You don’t generally run into performance issues, unless your accounting people are running big batch jobs or you are running maintenance routines or backups. If you can run all that off-hours, then you can get away with smaller hardware than if you have to do stuff like that during the day. If you are small (a couple of hundred users) you could probably run on one box, but I would recommend server-grade gear, not repurposed desktops. SQL Server is finicky regarding disk I/O and you want to be sure you have a fast disk subsystem. I would also consider the Vision hardware recommendations to be minimums. We doubled the recommended RAM and processor speed and it has worked out well for us. Plus it gives us room to expand. We were under 400 users when we started this.

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  1. Guy Boisvert
    2008-05-23 at 08:08

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for the great info! The company i work for has about 50 employees so i’ll probably go with a single Tyan TA-26 (with Adaptec 3805), splitting System, WEB & SQL on different RAID arrays. I’ll probably put 8 Gigs of RAM and a quad core Opteron.

    I have one question for you: How much space your SQL server use in your context?

    Thanks!

  2. 2008-05-23 at 08:47

    We have several companies setup in Vision, plus we have a subset of our production data configured for testing, and including all that, the databases take up about 35 GB. A complete backup, compressed with zip, takes up about 2 GB. Right now we are not using the custom proposals module much, nor the relationship management piece, so those parts of the data are still tiny.

  3. Guy Boisvert
    2008-05-23 at 09:17

    Thanks a lot!

    So i’ll start with dual 73 Gigs 15K SAS in RAID 1 then.

  4. Jennifer
    2008-07-22 at 14:20

    Hi Scott-

    I am looking for a direct hire individual as a Deltek specialist. This company is currently running Vision 5.0 and wants to implement 5.1. Do you know anyone that may be interested in a fulltime position in the Marina dle Rey area??

  5. kbn
    2008-08-29 at 18:12

    Scott,

    By chance would you mind sharing the specs on your ESX servers blades as well as the configuration of your Windows Hosts (number of virtual cpus, memory, etc.) as well as their utilization levels.

    We are looking at migrating to Vision and what Deltek recommends is just insane for server needs (and we about your size). They are saying we need to have a dual quad-core server for the SQL server (in fact they recommend getting a quad processor capable unit) and the same for the reporting tier.

    Thanks in advance.

    –ken

  6. 2008-11-04 at 15:04

    We are looking at moving to Vision but so far they have been so slow to any question I have and they just sent me the roll out schedule that is 6 months long and we do most of the work . Did you have to do most of the setup and testing for them?

  7. 2009-09-03 at 17:41

    Cool site, love the info.

  8. 2010-01-17 at 19:21

    Scott,

    Now that it’s been almost two year’s since your go live, how have your virtual servers been scaling? Did you have to move your SQL Server to bare metal? If so, what size was your Vision database?

    Thanks.

  9. Bri
    2010-02-05 at 06:21

    Great Blog, Scott. Did you get any heat from Deltek about running it on ESX? One of our developers called them and they said that they don’t support it being run on virtual machines. Has anybody heard of that?

  10. 2010-02-05 at 12:32

    That is theoretically correct. We discussed our deployment plans with them in advance so they knew we were going to virtualize and agreed to support issues that weren’t related to the host environment. However, when we have had issues, their support hasn’t been overly helpful and we have fixed most things ourselves anyways.

    Please don’t take that as an indication that Vision is unreliable. We have had very few problems with it, and it has been very reliable. We still have our whole Vision environment including SQL server running virtualized on ESX (now ESXi) server.

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