And as professional advisors, we find it’s part of our service that allows small business IT people to save time as well as money.
This is for information only, and will be particular to the particular organisation at the right time. There are many factors that determine the ‘correct’ solution when considering your company’s IT infrastructure.
Consequently, we feel that as your preferred IT technology partner, or ‘Trusted Advisor’ to use Microsoft’s phraseology, our responsibility is only to arm you with the facts necessary to make an informed decision. Provided we achieve that then whatever the outcome, hopefully, it will be the right one for you and your business. The technology in a typical server isn’t greatly different from that in a desktop or laptop computer.
Like workstations and laptops the performance effecting components are the processor, memory and hard disk sub-system. Of these it’s the later, the hard disk sub-system, that gives us as the provider of your IT support the greatest cause for concern.
Hard disk drives contain the Windows Operating System and, more importantly, your data files. More recently SSD (Solid State Disks) have immerged which are gradually increasing in market share. Eventual failure of traditional hard disk drives is certain and to some extent predictable. Whilst processors and memory modules do fail from time to time, these components will most often be fully functional when a computer, be it server, desktop or laptop, is eventually discarded. Processors and memory, the consequence of whose failure is a mere inconvenience when compared with the failure of a hard disk, simply get old and become obsolete due to advances in technology. The first small form factor computers were introduced in the late 1970s with the most famous (the IBM PC) arriving in 1981.
Since then, broadly speaking, computer processors, memory have doubled in speed every 18 – 24 months with similar advances in hard disk speeds and capacities.
So a new computer (of similar cost and relative specification) will be approximately 4 times faster than a 3 year old one. The key figures are ‘Access Time’ (time to access some randomly selected data- the yellow dots tell the story) and ‘Average Transfer Rate’.
Many people are aware that processor speed is referred to as ‘clock speed’ measured in GHz (i.e.
Since the first IBM PC was launched with its Intel 8080 processor we have seen advances through 8, 16, 32 and more recently 64 bit processing.
Comparison of processor performance is not, therefore, simply a comparison of clock speed, but rather of processing power. The graph below shows relative processor performance of some current entry level netbook, a Dell Latitude laptop and the latest version of the Fujitsu TX200 server processors compared with that of your current server. Advances in technology are such that performance of the processor in your existing server is somewhere between that which you would expect from a netbook and a laptop purchased today. Whilst the processor in a new entry level server would be over 4 times quicker than that which you are current using.
The current performance of your server’s main components hard disk, processor and memory is around half of that which you would expect from a ?479 Dell Inspiron Laptop! Whilst replacement of the hard disk drives is something that needs to be done to reduce the likelihood of business disruption and to ensure data integrity you may feel, given the statistics above, that it is more appropriate to consider replacing the server in its entirety.
Q: I am currently running Small Business Server 2003, will my current hardware allow me to upgrade to Small Business Server 2008 or Small Business Server 2011?
Your server doesn’t meet the processor or memory requirements for either Small Business Server 2008 or 2011.
A: If nothing else has changed since it was installed then potentially until some other component fails.
Q: If we replaced the server would we have to upgrade to Small Business Server 2008 or Small Business Server 2011.
A: No, there is no requirement to upgrade the Operating System in order to benefit from the enhanced hardware performance. In case you arrived in the middle of the document, the above is an example report that we tend to produce for customers who need supporting information as part of their decision process. Everyone wants and needs to extract every last ? of capital investment, that’s the right thing to do.
A server is powerful computer, but like all electronic and mechanical equipment at some point it will fail. If you don’t replace your server whilst it is still operational you’ll have to do so after it has failed.
If your server isn’t replaced whilst still operational you’ll have to do so after it has failed.
On the one hand, in the current economic climate, you want to squeeze every last bang out of your hardware buck. So in the absence of a crystal ball, when is the right time to pull the plug on the company’s existing server?
There are many different approaches to managing hardware life cycle, taking account of company size, number of offices, financial priorities, but the most import thing about a life-cycle plan is to have one!
Many large corporations, for example, make decisions about how long computer hardware will last at the time of purchase. In the absence of an existing life-cycle plan we suggest that 4 years is a reasonable life expectancy for your server.
The very last thing people think about is prevention, urgent things have a habit of getting in the way of the important.
The Houston Chronicle is the premier local news provider for the country's 4th largest city. Currently the nation's sixth-largest newspaper, the Houston Chronicle is a multimedia company publishing print and online products in English and Spanish that reach millions of people each month. I do agree that at some point to edge out more performance and efficiency in hardware, other materials and refined designs will be used.


I do believe there are still some breakthroughs to be made that will offer great leaps in performance, but nothing that will ever be in things like a smartphone or a home PC.
Hardware has been outperforming software for so long that I think coders have become extremely lazy.
Or just do what Apple did when the technology finally got to the point where they could build a cell phone that resembled a computer they went and put it into a larger form factor and called it a tablet.
Well, without better electron mobility and superior ability to dissipate waste heat it would melt pretty fast at higher clocks.
I think graphene had these two properties which is why for a while it seemed to generate some excitement about it’s use as a transistor material.
There do seem to be a list of propositions in design improvements or a whole rethinking of the current concept to reduce leakage or garbage, like reversible computing etc. The idea that graphene is 15-20 years away from commercial production in CPUs is actually a reasonable figure given the scale of the challenges involved.
Oh well, as another dude on the internet who spends all day reading things, I totally respect your opinion.
Because things like III-V semiconductors (which we can build) are basically necessary to squeeze even 1-2 more generations out of silicon. What happens when intel starts stacking dies on top of each other, using optics to transfer data and some sort of advanced heat pipe to bring all that heat to the surface? Moore’s law originally said that transistor densities would double every 18 months and that these transistors would be *cheaper* than their predecessors thanks to the same advances that made the increased densities possible.
Dennard scaling broke in 2005 as gate lengths could no longer scale downwards and power consumption could no longer be improved by relying on process technology alone. Notice what happens at 20nm, for the first time — 20nm *never* gets cheaper than 28nm except for a very, very tiny improvement at the tail end of its cycle. It wasn’t long ago that SSDs were far too expensive for the consumer market, true enough.
I feel fairly certain that as difficulty in scaling makes it harder to produce high performance consumer chips, we are moving toward an era of servers and thin clients for personal computing. I can see in five to ten years new web APIs that allow a programmer to write his code in JS, Java, and the such that convey the processing to a server that the user rents out time and processing power on. Eventually, when Graphine and then quantum computing come on line, the entire computing industry will have moved to this client-server model and there will probably be no turning back. The world is too dependent on this cycle of computer power increasing constantly for it to end.
All those easy semicon process shrinks were almost solely driven by the 193nm excimer laser. For as long as software developers continue to push the capacity of processors, there will be economic incentive more than sufficient to fund R&D of improved chip technology.
I am interested in IBM’s cognitive computing approach, which could be a game-changer.
Most people dont get that moore’s law seems to be universal and not dependent on silicon chips.
Mr Colwell belongs to the older generation which got a hard time grasping the times ahead us…since he is trying to interpolate the future based on existing patterns. Computers are about 3% faster this year than the year before, if we consider general purpose calculations. I’ll check back next year and see if we have light-based computers that are millions of times faster yet. First of all I have tinkered with my registry, so the first method is not reliable if you are not the only administrator in the domain.
Second of all as my first screen shot shows my processor is operating at 4.2GHz, solidly confirmed by the temperature of the processor (I'm using Corsair H100i water cooling and still reaching 85°).
Just a little thing shouldn't the title of the dialog read get processor frequency as we all know processor frequency doesn't really relate to its speed. Until recently all hard disks were functionally similar; a number of rotating platters onto which data is written and read by magnetic heads. Currently Solid State Disks are only available in smaller capacities and even here the cost per GB makes them expensive when compared with traditional hard disk drives. They do after all have a spindle spinning at, depending upon model, somewhere between 7,200 – 15,000rpm! The consequence of this was, at each change, effectively a doubling in processing power for any given clock speed.
Of which Intel’s Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad are examples; respectively further doubling or quadrupling of processing power for no change in clock speed. Over recent years various benchmarking techniques have been used (mips – Millions of Instructions Per Second was one), nowadays we prefer to use a performance index.
This is not really a surprise as the increase in memory speed was driven by the need for memory to keep up with ever faster processors. Today’s hardware is currently backwardly compatible with Small Business Server 2003 (although this position will change at some point in the future). We always do our best to get hold of replacement parts (most likely available on next day delivery), reload the operating system (about half a day’s work) reinstall your business application software (say, another half a day’s work) and finally restore backup data (which, of course, could be from the night before the failure).
The scenario described is the inevitable outcome of not making a conscious decision to replace a server before it fails.
On the other, the cost of downtime (potentially 3 days of it) that will result from a server failure could have a dramatic effect on your company’s bottom line. To run it past 4 years without replacing, at least, the hard disks, your company runs an ever increasing risk of inevitable server failure. Colwell, who served as a senior designer and project leader at Intel from 1990 to 2000, was critical to the development of the Pentium Pro, Pentium II, P3, and P4 processors before departing the company.
But the problem is simple enough: With Dennard scaling gone and the benefits of new nodes shrinking every generation, the impetus to actually pay the huge costs required to build at the next node are just too small to justify the cost. Maybe this could be a good opportunity for software creators to see some pressure to optimize like never before! I bet we could eek out code-based performance upgrades for another decade after we hit any kind of hardware wall.


These days it seems to have died down now that people realize it’s quite a ways until it meets the the many conditions required for use. Defects kill chips, more surface area means more chip killing defects… you would have to build a lot of redundancy and few chips would bin with all cores functional.
I’ll bet #4 is the biggest barrier for a vast majority of innovations that never came to pass. I’m telling you the opinion of Google, of Intel, of dozens of research institutions representing thousands of engineers and physicists.
Everyone uses computers for everything, and a breakthrough in any field may have implications in others. Carbon nanotubes are interesting, but the best manufacturing we’ve demonstrated is only about 97% ideal. Dennard scaling says that the smaller transistors will use less power and run at higher clock speeds.
The rule, for about 30 years, was that transistors become faster, smaller, more dense, and more power-efficient with every passing generation.
Chips continued to become more dense, and the cost curves continued to favor lower process nodes. This graph is two years old, but data released in the intervening periods continues to show the same predictions.
We can rely on chips to continue becoming more dense, but we *can’t* depend on those chips to be cheaper per transistor. It’s already beginning to rear its ugly head in the form of cloud storage being pushed by the major tech players and the new rumors that Windows 10 will probably be heavily cloud-based. We should be looking into that instead of throwing more transistors into the performance problem. With two simple functions, one to retrieve the frequency from the registry of your Windows operating system, and one to calculate it with the clock cycles and a high resolution counter. This is a solid evidence against the outputs of your application (seen in the second screen shot). We would advise against continuing to use any disk that has given 4 years good service in a production environment and closer to 3 years if the drive is one that would be classified as ‘consumer’ grade.
What is not quite so well understood is that whilst GHz can be used to compare processors of similar ‘architecture’, over time fundamental design changes are at least as significant as clock speed. Sage) release a new version of software and after installation (nobody reads the minimum requirements before installing an update) the system runs really slowly.
The ‘scaling’ of performance will shift more and more to better software innovations maybe? Were there to be discoveries in subatomic computing to bring about an age of a gazillion zettaflop godcomputer, I wouldn’t imagine it would ever scale down to that small size.
If you turned on all the transistors at once the chip would melt without exotic cooling solutions that just weren’t economically viable? But I can see that the speed of research and progress is faster than it was in the 90s and early 00’s.
The very discovery of graphene itself was totally a surprise that nobody was even looking for right? Maybe Graphene isn’t even the solution that will be the game changer and it will be dumped or sidelined for something better. We need 99.99999999%+ perfection, which means defect densities equal to ~a drop of water in an Olympic swimming pool. I heard recently, maybe on ET, about a different kind that’s more analog, acting on changes in resistance rather than resistance switching on and off.
Since we tend to improve performance by adding transistors, newer chips with high transistor counts may always be more expensive than lower-transistor-count products. There’s no language, no microarchitecture, no cloud-vs-not-cloud configuration that makes this problem go away. High speed networks and huge banks of computers will be necessary for this, but that is coming on-line very quickly.
Here i will tell you how to change your Processor Name and Speed easily without installing any software. If you want to use the function to calculate the speed (frequency), you have to use it with a Pentium instruction set compatible processor (look at the lines below). I suggest revision of the code and comparing this technique to real output from other free system monitoring software.
Kind of like how quantum computing probably won’t scale down to a consumer size (look at them D-WAVE machines!) because of its extreme sensitivity to interference. If someone had done the sticky tape to a pencil under a microscope routine in the early 90s, what a different world we might live in today!
DARPA continues working on cutting edge technology, but Colwell believes the gains will be strictly incremental, with performance edging up perhaps 30x in the next 50 years. I wonder what new tech company will solve that problem and become the wonder-stock of wall street. What you need to understand is that IBM, Intel, TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, Hynix, Sony, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Nvidia, and dozens of other companies are collectively united with tens of research institutions in seeking a way to extend semiconductor manufacturing. There are technologies that are going to continue to improve our underlying level of ability; a 30x advance in 50 years is still significant. But the old way — the old promise — of a perpetually improving technology stretching into infinity? With Dennard scaling having stopped in 2005 (Dennard scaling deals with switching speeds and other physical characteristics of transistors, and thus heat dissipation and maximum clock speeds), the ability to cram ever-more silicon into tiny areas is of diminishing value.




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