The World’s Fastest Small Business Server

One sunny day while mowing the yard with the old John Deere I thought, “How cool would it be if I could mount a Small Business Server on this lawn tractor?"

The answer (as you already know) is “not very cool”. Nobody wants to see a lawn mower running Exchange and SharePoint.

Obviously, I need to drink more fluids when mowing the yard in the hot sun, but that’s neither here nor there. The proverbial wheels were turning, and I started brainstorming for something much faster and infinitely cooler than a green and yellow tractor…

Matthew SnoddyEnter Matthew SnoddyMicrosoft Small Business Specialist, Texas LLC formation consultant and owner of Network Therapists in Lexington, Kentucky.

a.k.a. “The Stig” (nobody knows for sure)

Not only is Matthew a fantastic network engineer and wheelman, he’s got some beautiful muscle cars,
like this supercharged 2008 SRT8 Dodge Challenger:

Matthew Snoddy–2008 SRT8 Dodge Challenger on the dyno

 
A Challenger is much cooler than a John Deere, but it gets even better!

Recently, Matthew expanded his stable with the addition of a rare (one of only 20 ever made) 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR convertible. A street-legal race car.

Matthew Snoddy's 2010 Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR convertible

(More pics of Matthew Snoddy’s Viper ACR here)

VIPER SRT10 ACR SPECS – BONE STOCK

  • 8.4-liter aluminum V10 engine
  • 600 horsepower
  • 560 lb. ft. of torque
  • 0-60 in 3.4 seconds
  • Top speed 184 MPH (202 MPH w/o the rear wing, but you’ll die)

If you’re a gearhead, you know all about the ACR. Matthew’s red ACR is a convertible model of the car that broke the Nürburgring track record.

Video of the Viper ACR record-breaking run (7:22) at Nürburgring

 
This video of a white hardtop ACR on the twisting Virginia City Hill Climb
(Nevada State Route 341) is pretty terrifying.

Car and Driver–Video of Virginia City Hill Climb in a Viper ACR

 
Suffice it to say, the word ‘awesome’ does not even begin to describe this car.

So one night Matthew and I discussed the viability of mounting a Microsoft Windows Small Business Server in the Viper, and “Project Daffy” was born.

“Why a goofy name like Project Daffy” you say? Check out what happens when you invert the Viper ACR logo:

Normal Dodge Viper ACR logo Turn the Viper ACR logo upside down and it becomes Daffy Duck

Can you see Daffy Duck on the right? Thought so. Winking smile

We took some measurements of the ACR and (shocker) it’s not really designed to hold a standard server like an HP ProLiant ML370 G6, or even a smaller one like the HP ML110 or ML150.

Trunk of the Viper ACR - empty

The trunk is so small, there’s not even a spare tire – just an air pump (left).

Greg Starks - SMB Solutions Program Manager, Hewlett-Packard.Enter Greg Starks – SMB Solutions Program Manager at Hewlett-Packard. Greg has been with HP and Compaq for over 20 years, has presented at over 10 SMB Nation events, and he really knows his stuff.

a.k.a. “Mr. Awesome” (of that we *are* sure)

We needed something that had enough horsepower to run a server OS, but not so big that it wouldn’t fit in the Viper. With limited space, heat and power requirements, it was a tall order. Greg hooked up Project Daffy with the brand new HP ProLiant MicroServer and got it to us in time to make it to the racetrack!

HP ProLiant MicroServer

HP MICROSERVER SPECS:

  • AMD Athlon II NEO N36L processor 1.3 GHz
  • Supports up to 8 GB PC3 DDR3 RAM
  • Embedded NC107i PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter
  • OCZ Vertex 2 200GB solid state SATA II drive*
  • Cold boot to SBS 2011 login – 2 minutes 45 seconds
  • Shut down – 14 seconds
  • Operating System – Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard

*We took out the stock 160 GB LFF SATA drive and used the SSD instead to mitigate vibration from the car. (The SSD isn’t a factory option.)

View inside the HP ProLiant MicroServer with the USB drive plugged in for OS loadThe HP MicroServer is physically small enough (10.5" x 8.3" x 10.2") to fit perfectly in the Viper trunk with room to spare. The MicroServer doesn’t come with a DVD drive, so we took an ISO of SBS 2011 Standard Edition and made a bootable flash drive and installed SBS 2011 that way – no problem.

After the OS installation, we did some testing with the UPS to estimate battery life (about 55 minutes). SBS 2011 runs on that SSD like a scalded dog!

The next step was powering it and mounting it in the car.

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT:

Due to the irregular shape of the Viper trunk, we used a spare piece of cardboard as a template to map out the shape, and then transferred that outline onto a plank of 3/4” plywood (“The Surfboard”). After some lengthy trial and error moving things around, appropriate measurements were laid out to make sure that there was sufficient room for the equipment, padding, cabling, and tie-down equipment.

HEADING TO THE TRACK:

It’s a pretty long drive from Louisville out to the Mt. Park Dragway in Clay City, Kentucky (about 120 miles). When we got there it was so cold out that the grass in the shadows was still frosted even though the sun had been up for a few hours. Sadly, that morning one of Matthew’s friends lost control of his Corvette on the track and put it into the wall! Fortunately he’s OK, but the same can’t be said for the Vette. Even with safety equipment, racing is still a dangerous occupation.

Mounting the server and network equipment in the Viper trunk went surprisingly smooth. All of the planning and measuring paid off and it fit like a glove. We powered up the server and the router and ran some connectivity tests while Matthew drove around the track. As long as we kept the Yagi antenna (attached to the netbook in our makeshift pits) pointed at the Viper, we never lost a single ping. That’s pretty impressive considering that the antenna was INSIDE the trunk. The car body is fiberglass (except for the carbon fiber rear spoiler) so there was nothing externally on which to stick the antenna.

Side note: One of the coolest parts of the whole project was seeing the looks when people walked around to the back of the car to see what was in the trunk.

The phrase of the day was, “You put a *server* in a Viper!?”

Everybody thought it was cool! So did we. My face hurts from grinning.

Using the netbook back at the pits, we logged into the HP MicroServer via RDP and ran System Information for Windows (SIW) to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the CPU and SSD drive with the trunk closed. Since it was such cool day, all the temps stayed nice and chilly in the server. In fact, the only moving parts in the entire trunk were one cooling fan in the server and another one in the UPS. The rig doesn’t build up much heat anyway.

By design, the Viper ACR doesn’t have electronic traction control. On a cold day with cold tires, the lack of traction control meant that Matthew couldn’t safely punch the pedal to the floor without risking having the Viper suffer the same fate as the Vette. We know what the car can do in warmer weather, so there’s no doubt that that we truly have The World’s Fastest Small Business Server on our hands.

PICTURES OF THE COMPLETED PROJECT:

Viper SRT10 ACR - Showing off the V10 engine Viper SRT10 ACR - The blue tape keeps the burning hot rubber from sticking
A view of the Viper SRT10 ACR 8.4 liter 10-cylinder engine.
 
The blue tape keeps hot tire rubber from sticking to the paint.
 
SBS 2011 - Left Rear The World's Fastest Small Business Server
Left – HP ProLiant MicroServer
Right – APC Smart-UPS
 
Behold! The World’s Fastest
Small Business Server.
 
Closeup of The World's Fastest Small Business Server What happens when you burn too much rubber
Close-up – You can see Buffalo wireless B/G/N router in the front and the “Surfboard” underneath. The APC and all other equipment is mounted rock solid and can’t move even 1/4”.
 
This is what happens when you burn too much rubber – they have to literally scrape it off the track! I think they’ve been saving this for a while at the track, but I’m not sure how long.
 

If you’ve got questions about the project, please feel free to post them in the comments below.

PICTURES – You can see the rest of the pictures on Flickr (test fit before tie-down and different views of the car, etc.)

VIDEO – Matt Hester (IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft) shot some video of Project Daffy today, so you may see it on his blog soon. If he does, we’ll link to it here.

THANKS – Super-special thanks go to Matthew Snoddy (Network Therapists) and Greg Starks (Hewlett-Packard) for making this dream a reality. Props to Andrew McIntosh too for the UPS, and to Lauren for assistance in the pits.
You guys absolutely rock!!

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Webcast – Changes to the Microsoft Partner Program

Microsoft Small Business Specialist logoEvent Title: 5W/50 Series – New Generation Certifications: Program Overview & Certification Resources Available for the SBSC Community
Date: Monday April 20, 2009
Time: 12:00 PM Eastern (GMT –5)
Duration: 1 hour
Presenters: Deborah Vosler (Microsoft) & Mark Crall (Tech Care Team, Inc.)
Cost: Free
Registration: Click here (Microsoft Partners Only)

Description:
Learn why Microsoft developed the New Generation of Certification, as well as what certification exams and resources are currently available for Microsoft partners, including the SBSC community. Find out more about the value of certification, including how it can benefit your business.

(Personal Note: I’m interested to hear the fate of the 70-282 and the SBSC program.)

Source: Mark Crall’s blog

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Microsoft is Coming to Louisville 10/02/2007

Microsoft is coming to Louisville Register today!

Tuesday October 2, 2007
Theater – Cinemark Tinseltown USA
4400 Towne Center Drive
Louisville Kentucky 40241

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Invitation – Live TS2 and KYSBSUG Events Next Week

You know him and love him from the 2005 & 2006 SBS Tours, the 70-282 Exam Prep Series 1 & 2, and numerous webcasts and live events.  And once again, I’m happy to announce that our favorite Microsoft TS2 Presenter, Ronald Grattopp, is coming back to Kentucky!

  • TS2 Live Seminar – Lexington, KY
    Tuesday June 19, 2007
    Start time:  1:00 PM Eastern

    Venue: Regal Hamburg Pavilion 16
    1949 Starshoot Parkway
    Lexington Kentucky 40509
    Registration URL:  Click here

  • June 2007 KYSBSUG Meeting – Louisville, KY
    Wednesday June 20, 2007
    Start time:  6:30 PM Eastern

    Venue: Money Concepts
    323 Townepark Circle
    Louisville, KY 40243
    Start time:  6:30 PM Eastern
    Registration URL:  Click here

  • TS2 Live Seminar – Louisville, KY
    Thursday June 21, 2007
    Start time:  1:00 PM Eastern

    Venue: Cinemark Tinseltown USA
    4400 Towne Center Drive
    Louisville Kentucky 40241
    Registration URL:  Click here

More Details on the June 2007 KYSBSUG Meeting Next Wednesday!

This month Ron Grattopp will be joined by Tim Barrett, and they will be co-presenting a deep dive on Windows SharePoint Services version 3 (WSS3).  Come learn the best practices for installing WSS3 on SBS, shortcuts to deploy the “Fabulous 40” templates, and other tips and tricks on WSS3.

“How deep is this deep dive” you may ask?  We have over 8 hours of content on WSS3, so we’re prepared to talk about all aspects; from deployment, to extending, to business value.  (The event is only 90-120 minutes long, so we’ll cover the content that the audience wants to hear.)

As always, there will be excellent networking opportunities and Ron is bringing some cool swag.

This Live event is FREE to attend, but registration is required:
http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=119143

The venue is a little tricky to find, since it’s so new it doesn’t show up on most maps, but fortunately there is a map available on Map Quest:

Map to KYSBSUG Meeting at Money Concepts – 323 Townepark Cir Louisville, KY 40243, USA

And if you get lost, just call my cell (502) 817-3456 and I’ll give you directions.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

MCPS and MCNPS

I was moving my Microsoft Certified Professional ID over to Applied Tech today and noticed “MCPS and MCNPS” listed under “Tracks and Specializations”. 

If you’re not familiar with the alphabet soup of Microsoft Certifications:

  • MCAD – Microsoft Certified Application Developer
  • MCDBA – Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
  • MCDST – Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician
  • MCITP – Microsoft Certified IT Professional
  • MCLC – Microsoft Certified Learning Consultant
  • MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional
  • MCPD – Microsoft Certified Professional Developer
  • MCSA – Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator
  • MCSD – Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
  • MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
  • MCT – Microsoft Certified Trainer
  • MCTS – Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
  • MOS – Microsoft Office Specialist
  • MSBC – Microsoft Business Certifications (New)
  • Microsoft Certified Architect Program

Oddly, the following certs don’t show up on the Microsoft site:

  • MCNPS – Microsoft Certified Networking Product Specialist 
  • MCPS – Microsoft Certified Product Specialist

They do show up in a Google search (albeit usually in people’s sig lines on message boards).  Apparently, the MCPS and MCNPS show up when you pass the 70-282.  I called Russ Grover and chatted up Susan on IM, but still no URL of proof. 

I’ve also seen this one:

  • MCPSI – Microsoft Certified Professional in Systems Integration

Not sure if that one is real or not.  I’ll do some research and post back when I get an authoritative answer.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

70-282 Exam Prep Webcast PDFs

Quite a few people have asked where they can get a PDF copy of the slide decks for all 5 days of the 70-282 Exam Prep Series with Ron Grattopp and Bea Mulzer (Jan 8 – Jan 12, 2007). 

Here you go! 🙂

Thanks so much to Bea, RonKevin Clarke & the Microsoft TS2 Team for providing this webcast series for the SMB community!

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

SBSC Quarterly Webcast

SBSC logo in a tree (I don't know why it's up there)Webcast:  Small Business Specialist Community Quarterly Webcast
Presenters: Eric Ligman & Paige Boesen
Date: Tuesday 9/26/2006
Time: 1:30 PM Eastern (GMT -5)
Duration: 90 minutes

Description:
Participate in the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community quarterly webcasts designed to serve as forums where we can unite as a community to hear new developments and gather feedback on the SBSC “Grow Your Small Business Together” strategy.

Join Paige Boesen and Eric Ligman on Tuesday September 26 at 1:30 PM Eastern Time when they will detail plans for our evolving community in FY07. You’ll hear about exclusive offers and promotions to help drive your bottom line. Sign up today.
 
URL: http://www.msreadiness.com/WS_abstract.asp?eid=15004539

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)