QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

dylane
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QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:37 pm

First off I want to apologize for a very newbie type question. I'm in way over my head at the moment and it's likely I'm not even posting in the right subforum.

Here's the situation. Small company with users all working out of their home. Right now we don't really have any active shared resources and work using a combination of emails and things like Dropbox. Right now we have one person using an older version of QuickBooks Pro Desktop version, but we'd like to be able to have two people access it from different locations. We were already planning on getting a QNAP NAS, most likely the TS-451+ and I'm trying to see if it would be possible to install QuickBooks directly on the server setup for Multiuser access that would let each user access it remotely (with a VPN?)

I've done some reading and it looks like people have had trouble with NAS access and QuickBooks, especially since Intuit made changes to how the multi-user access works in 2015.. But it isn't clear to me if the people who were having trouble were just hosting the data file on the NAS, and QuickBooks itself was installed on a Windows PC, or if they were using something like a QNAP with Virtualization Station and trying to install it on a virtualized server.

Just trying to get an idea if what we want to do is even possible before going too far down the rabbit hole.

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Trexx
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by Trexx » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:34 am

To run QuickBooks inside of VS, you would still need to install and setup some flavor of Windows to run Quickbooks on top of. VS itself just simulates a PC with a blank hard drive. You have to install/configure it just like a regular desktop.

If you are going to be running Quickbooks on there, and performance is of a concern, you might want to look at a "beefier" QNAP model. Remember, VS is not the QNAP's primary function, and you are running on a quad-core Celeron processor. Also make sure you have plenty of memory in the QNAP to give a decent amount to VS.
Paul

Model: TS-877-1600 FW: 4.4.3.x
QTS (SSD): [RAID-1] 2 x 1TB WD Blue m.2's
Data (HDD): [RAID-5] 6 x 3TB HGST DeskStar
VMs (SSD): [RAID-1] 2 x 500GB Evo 860
Ext. (HDD): TR-004 [Raid-5] 4 x 4TB HGST Ultastor
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 64GB DDR4-2666
GPU: EVGA GTX 1060 6GB
UPS: CP AVR1350

Model:TVS-673 32GB FW: 4.4.3.x Test/Backup Box
Model:TS-228a FW: 4.4.3.x Test/Backup Box
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NAS RAID Rebuild Times | Live QTS Videos | | QNAP NAS Guide | Information needed when you ask for HELP | QNAP Links, Tutorials, etc.
2018 Plex NAS Compatibility Guide | QNAP Plex FAQ | Moogle's QNAP Faq

dylane
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:20 am

Well the plan was to setup one user with a virtual desktop on the NAS that would be her primary workstation. She's worked for years in a virtual desktop system (XenDesk) and prefers that over working on local hardware. My understanding is that the QuickBooks recommended setup for multi-user support just wants it installed one one computer that is always on and turn on the host multi-user access function. There is a separate guide for server installs, but that seems more complicated and not as supported.

So I assume a virtual desktop using the VS with QB Pro and multi-user access turned on would be sufficient for someone else to access QB Pro on their own local machine if we have a VPN setup (probably more of a QB expert question than a NAS question).

As far as hardware goes, what would be your recommendation for a "beefier" model that would be used as a persons primary desktop as well as a file server and VPN server? The desktop needs are fairly minimal office type things (browsing, Office, QB). The plan is to have two NAS in different locations syncing with each other.

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dolbyman
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dolbyman » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:06 am

why multi user ?...
its simulates a regular pc...i think you are mixing this up with terminal sevices (or simmilar)

dylane
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:29 pm

dolbyman wrote:why multi user ?...
its simulates a regular pc...i think you are mixing this up with terminal sevices (or simmilar)


I certainly could be mixing something up since I'm not even sure I understand your question. :)

I want multiuser mode for Quickbooks so that two people, each with a copy of Quickbooks installed on their machine, can access the QB datafile at the same time. If I understand the QB documentation the way you would normally do that is just install QB Pro on two machines and setup one of them that acts as a host and you leave that machine running all the time, and then the other desktop can run QB and access the company datafile without worry about conflicts and datafile corruption. But in the normal setup everyone is sitting in the same office and on the same LAN.

My thought was we could simulate this by setting up a virtual desktop on the QNAP which would be one users primary machine and can also run QB and act as the host. We'd also run a VPN server on the QNAP, so the second user could access the datafile just by connecting to the VPN.

Am I missing something here and this won't work like I'm thinking it should?

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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by Trexx » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:12 pm

I think a simpler method might be host 2 desktops in VS with the date file being stored outside of VS on a standard NAS SMB share.
Paul

Model: TS-877-1600 FW: 4.4.3.x
QTS (SSD): [RAID-1] 2 x 1TB WD Blue m.2's
Data (HDD): [RAID-5] 6 x 3TB HGST DeskStar
VMs (SSD): [RAID-1] 2 x 500GB Evo 860
Ext. (HDD): TR-004 [Raid-5] 4 x 4TB HGST Ultastor
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 64GB DDR4-2666
GPU: EVGA GTX 1060 6GB
UPS: CP AVR1350

Model:TVS-673 32GB FW: 4.4.3.x Test/Backup Box
Model:TS-228a FW: 4.4.3.x Test/Backup Box
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NAS RAID Rebuild Times | Live QTS Videos | | QNAP NAS Guide | Information needed when you ask for HELP | QNAP Links, Tutorials, etc.
2018 Plex NAS Compatibility Guide | QNAP Plex FAQ | Moogle's QNAP Faq

dylane
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:14 pm

Trexx wrote:I think a simpler method might be host 2 desktops in VS with the date file being stored outside of VS on a standard NAS SMB share.


Appreciate the suggestion, but am I misreading the QuickBooks documentation to say that this won't work?

Elimination of the "Alternate Setup Mode": In order to ensure optimum performance and stability, the new version of QuickBooks (2015 and later) no longer supports the Alternative Setup Mode. QuickBooks Desktop requires now the database server manager to be installed and functioning properly on your server (or computer designated as the QuickBooks Host). You can restore Alternate Setup Mode by following the steps below if you need it or run into problems with hosting Multi-User access.

Note: If you have a NAS or similar device, the QuickBooks Desktop 2015 and later Database Server Manager will not install since it is not a supported Windows Operating System. Please refer to the System requirements for QuickBooks 2015 and Enterprise Solutions 15.0 article. You can however activate the Alternate Setup Mode following the steps below as a workaround.

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dolbyman
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dolbyman » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:44 pm

at this point contacting quick books support would be better...its is hardly a nas issue

dylane
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:54 pm

Understood and will do. One question though that is about the NAS, ignoring QuickBooks, is there a model that makes the most sense if it is going to host one (or maybe 2) virtual desktops that would be the primary desktop for one user? Currently we have a server with Citrix XenDesk setup for multiple users and the performance is pretty good, barely noticeable that you're not working on a local desktop. But we've certainly used solutions in the past that were not that good and where you would only want to work on them for short periods of time. I'm trying to get a feel for where a Windows 10 desktop installed on a QNAP 451+ or better would fall on the usability spectrum, and what hardware would be the minimum recommended for that kind of setup?

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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dolbyman » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:57 pm

for real good performance ...I'd say an intel i series cpu and lots of ram

but it also depends on the programs your vm's have to run

dylane
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:10 am

Programs are fairly standard; MS Office, QB Pro, web browsing. Nothing like photo or video editing or anything else that should be too taxing on the CPU.

For Intel I series I'm only seeing the TVS-471. Am I missing any other options? We were planning on getting the 451+ with 8GB RAM, which I think I saw was later upgradeable to 16GB, but that's a Celeron processor. I'm too out of date to know the real world performance differences between processors these days.

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dolbyman
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dolbyman » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:27 am

A celeron is OK for NAS use and maybe a couple containers, but VM's need a little more "ink on the pen", at least if you want a lag free, decent performance.

If you run a VM with no active GUI access (to run some windows only programs in your network for instance) a Celeron with a bit of RAM is OK

dylane
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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:32 am

Thanks. Going to go to the boss with this info. I think they'd be OK with the price bump up to a 471, but I'm not sure if even an i3 would give the kind of performance she's used to on her Win7 VM. And since she's intending for this to be her primary workspace slower performance could get frustrating very quickly. I've been reading this thread on slow performance with Ubuntu on a 453 with 8GB of RAM, which isn't very encouraging for great performance with Win10.

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Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by Trexx » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:04 am

So based on what they are saying, it sounds like you need a Windows Server running their DB Server Manager application for the QB Desktop clients to point to.

This could be done on a QNAP, as you can run Windows Server inside of Virtualization Station just the same as running a Windows Desktop client. The Windows Server "vm" would be storing the QB data file.

However, now you are potentially talking about 3 different VM's running on the NAS on top of the standard NAS functions.

I would probably recommend going to a bigger NAS to handle something like that (depending on how big the VM's need to be, size of data, etc.) You might want to look at something in the TVS-x73 (new AMD model) or TVS-x82 families that support beefier Quad-Core processors and larger memory footprints (up to 64GB). The other advantage is that with their support for M.2 SSD's, there are multiple ways that can help improve the performance of your VM (Caching, QTier, etc.)

This article give you an idea of how you can layer the storage w/SSD's to maximize performance.
https://www.qnap.com/en/tutorial/con_sh ... ne&cid=181

So YES this is possible, but a lot of it will depend on what the QB Server requirements are. The other aspect to consider is, even if you do get it up and running, what are the support implications?

If you have a problem say with the DB VM, how much support will QB provide for it. If there is a glitch in say VS, how quickly will you be able to get it resolved from QNAP.
Paul

Model: TS-877-1600 FW: 4.4.3.x
QTS (SSD): [RAID-1] 2 x 1TB WD Blue m.2's
Data (HDD): [RAID-5] 6 x 3TB HGST DeskStar
VMs (SSD): [RAID-1] 2 x 500GB Evo 860
Ext. (HDD): TR-004 [Raid-5] 4 x 4TB HGST Ultastor
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 64GB DDR4-2666
GPU: EVGA GTX 1060 6GB
UPS: CP AVR1350

Model:TVS-673 32GB FW: 4.4.3.x Test/Backup Box
Model:TS-228a FW: 4.4.3.x Test/Backup Box
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NAS RAID Rebuild Times | Live QTS Videos | | QNAP NAS Guide | Information needed when you ask for HELP | QNAP Links, Tutorials, etc.
2018 Plex NAS Compatibility Guide | QNAP Plex FAQ | Moogle's QNAP Faq

dylane
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:10 pm

Re: QuickBooks and Virtualization Station?

Post by dylane » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:34 am

Trexx wrote:So based on what they are saying, it sounds like you need a Windows Server running their DB Server Manager application for the QB Desktop clients to point to.

This could be done on a QNAP, as you can run Windows Server inside of Virtualization Station just the same as running a Windows Desktop client. The Windows Server "vm" would be storing the QB data file.


If I read it right I think there are 3 different options for multi-user mode.

1) Host the multi-user access on a desktop on the LAN - the recommended approach and no "server" required as the desktop acts as the server
2) Install the DB server Manager on a Windows server
3) Install the DB server Manager on a Linux server

I was leaning towards #1 since it seemed the easiest to setup and the least resource intensive. And we were already planning on setting up that user with a VM anyway. #2 seemed more complicated and resource intensive, plus we'd need to buy a Windows server license. #3 has the same problems as #2, minus the cost, but potentially more work depending on who we have administering this.

However, now you are potentially talking about 3 different VM's running on the NAS on top of the standard NAS functions.

I would probably recommend going to a bigger NAS to handle something like that (depending on how big the VM's need to be, size of data, etc.) You might want to look at something in the TVS-x73 (new AMD model) or TVS-x82 families that support beefier Quad-Core processors and larger memory footprints (up to 64GB). The other advantage is that with their support for M.2 SSD's, there are multiple ways that can help improve the performance of your VM (Caching, QTier, etc.)

This article give you an idea of how you can layer the storage w/SSD's to maximize performance.
https://www.qnap.com/en/tutorial/con_sh ... ne&cid=181


Thanks for the information on hardware. I hadn't realized that when I was searching before I'd filtered to only show 4 bay models, so I missed a lot of the higher end options.

So YES this is possible, but a lot of it will depend on what the QB Server requirements are. The other aspect to consider is, even if you do get it up and running, what are the support implications?

If you have a problem say with the DB VM, how much support will QB provide for it. If there is a glitch in say VS, how quickly will you be able to get it resolved from QNAP.


A very good point. A lot of this is being driven by one of the owners who doesn't like subscription cloud services and is much more comfortable with owning our own equipment, but we also don't have the technical knowledge inside the organization to manage that. I'm the most technically literate person here, and I'm way over my head even when it comes to basic configuration of something like this, so we will definitely need to rely on outside help, and trying to figure out if something is a configuration problem, a Quickbooks problem, or a QNAP problem is not going to be fun or easy.

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