Peer Networking

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Peer Networking

Postby Graham Smith » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:52 pm

In the past, it was never a good idea to attempt to run any of the predecessors of Ffenics on a Peer-to-Peer network. It was just too sluggish and the "server" always seemed to "hog" the resources that others needed to allow for reasonable multi-user access.

Are the changes to Ffenics locking likely to make this situation any better or is it still just a plain bad idea?
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Re: Peer Networking

Postby Pete Tabord » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:46 am

Hi Graham

We need a definition of what we mean by 'peer to peer'. (Or an example configuration.) Because in reality Windows doesn't support such a thing, and hence the term has come to mean different things to different people.

The snag with not having a dedicated server machine is that performance and reliability is affected by the actions of the user on the non-dedicated server. This is of course beyond Ffenics' control.

But if we are talking say, two XP Pro machines with one as the server, and we are in a position where we trust the user of the machine acting as server and can tweak its configuration, then it can be made to work reasonably well.

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Re: Peer Networking

Postby Graham Smith » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:49 pm

The best example of what I am referring to as a peer network is a collection of 4-5 WinXP workstations with no server. The database is located on one of these workstations and is accessed by everyone.

Setting aside any issues with the person who is hosting the computer behaving irresponsibly, will Ffenics perform better, worse, or the same as DFW/DFD did under the same circumstances?
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Re: Peer Networking

Postby Pete Tabord » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:22 am

Hi Graham

Depends what you are doing. Because obviously all the changes have speeded up some things and slowed others down.

There should however be somewhat less load on the non-dedicated server (and it is a server - this really isn't peer to peer, you know, XP Pro has all the server functionality, it just doesn't have the full range of admin tools and top end hardware support of the Windows server versions).

Further, you should be safe to run without prioritizing background tasks on the server because everything now has timeouts.

If you do get lockouts because the user on the server is keeping it too busy to respond you can twiddle the timeout values on the Ffenics workstation options to deal with the issues. In this kind of setup its important not to flood the server with retries, so there is something that can be done there too - see my faq on what the timeout values are for:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18

I'd be tempted to put STimeout up to 5 secs on this kind of installation. And maybe increase Minor Timeout a bit as well.

It's safe to use full network locking but all machines must be XP Pro - Home won't do.

I've always found in practice that if the server machine is used much at all the other users soon lose patience with this kind of setup, I don't recommend it, but it can be done.

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