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What is the most cost-effective Windows server licence version for a machine to be used solely as a ArchiCAD BIM Server?

We only have 3-7 simultaneously working architects that will be working with the BIM Server application at the same time.

Most of the features of Windows Server 2008 are really not needed. We already have a Linux-based server that handles all the required tasks. The Web Server licence would be enough, but I believe it is not allowed to run it as an application server.

Is using non-server Windows OS an option for such a task?

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Based on the ArchiCAD BIM Server System Requirements, I would recommend running the BIM Server on a PC running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition. It does not appear that a Windows Server OS is required, and at your scale, I do not believe it's worth the expense or effort involved. The most important requirements appear to be a relatively large amount of RAM for a desktop PC (4GB required, 8GB recommended) and the 64-bit OS (without which you cannot take advantage of the full amount of RAM).

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Our fear of using non-server OS is that its maximum of inbound connections might be not sufficient when other connections are established (Windows 7 has maximum of only 20 simultaneous inbound connections if memory servers). – Amy West Feb 4 '11 at 21:54

Windows client machines have a 10 connection limit built into the networking stack. In my experience this limit can be somewhat arbitrarily applied, and depends partially upon how the application is designed. You have little to lose, though, from trying out a client OS, and then moving to a more expensive server OS if you see connections being dropped or errors like failure to connect. With only 3-7 users it might work.

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FYI, Windows 7's limit is 20. – Amy West Feb 6 '11 at 9:09
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Surprisingly we got an offer to get the Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation OEM with a server. The Windows 7 64b on it would be only $20 cheaper.

The Foundation version can fortunately be used as an application server so "experimenting" with a non-server OS won't be necessary.

I guess that makes it the most cost-effective Windows server OS for anything that it allows.

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Interesting - this is the first server description I have ever seen that includes as a feature ( that if you violate the license terms "the server will display a warning message and if not rectified will shut down in 10 days" – user21129 Feb 5 '11 at 20:42
Yes, very nasty feature. That is why it is important to pick the right licence for your needs and why we couldn't use the cheap Web server licence for our application server. Luckily, we got the Foundation licence for even a better price than the Web licence. – Amy West Feb 6 '11 at 9:13

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