Prophet 21 System Requirements: What Hardware Should I Choose?

Understanding the Epicor Prophet 21 System Requirements can be a challenge for system administrators and prospective buyers.  The Prophet 21 system is not only large & complex, it is also resource intensive.  It is important to make sure you allocate the right compute resources to Prophet 21 if you want to get the most out of the system.  In this article, we will break down each major portion of the infrastructure and explore the Prophet 21 System Requirements.

The Database Server

The Prophet 21 database is built on Microsoft SQL Server.  As of version 2017.1, SQL Server 2016 is officially supported by Epicor for Prophet 21.  Although, SQL Server is a 64 bit application, in practice this is not really relevant.  A review of P21 database performance shows that about 99.6% of queries executed only do so on a single CPU thread.  This puts a premium on single thread CPU performance.

Focusing on Single Thread performance goes a little bit against the grain of what you normally hear.  Currently, I am a fan of the Intel Xeon E5-2667v4 8 core 3.2Ghz processor.  You can find a good ranking of single thread CPU performance on the Passmark website.  Choose the best single thread performance you can get based on the number of processors in the server, and the number of cores in the processor.  We currently run about 50 users per physical core.

Database Server RAM should not be skimped on.  Even in a very small environment, I would not go below 32Gb of RAM to start with.  You may be able to reduce RAM once you are up and running for a while, but this needs to be done based on actual performance data.  With SQL Server 2016, the standard edition will support 128Gb RAM.

The hard drives should be as fast as you can go.  I personally would not use anything less than an SSD drive.  There is no comparison here.  The SSD drives are so much faster that it really doesn’t matter what the cost differential is.  Trust me on this.  Even if your SAN is already SAS drives, find a way to put an SSD array into the mix and let P21 perform at top speed.

The Desktop Client

The Prophet 21 System Requirements for the desktop client also put the highest premium on single thread CPU performance.  Prophet 21 is a 32 bit windows application using PowerBuilder.  It is not capable of taking advantage of a multi-core processor.  Whether running on a fat client or in a terminal server environment, put the focus on single thread CPU performance.  In a terminal server environment, do not run more than 8 users per core, preferably 6 or 7.

Although Prophet 21 is a CPU intensive application, it is not particularly hard on RAM.  When allocating RAM per user in a virtual environment, 300 megabytes is enough.  Most sessions use far less than this.

In a fat client environment, you are going to be stuck with whatever drives you have.  If you are putting P21 into a terminal server environment, I would highly recommend SSD drives again, just like with the database server.

The Middleware and Web Applications Server

The middleware/web application server is the gateway for the Prophet 21 Hybrid and Web Clients to run.  It will need to be built in a manner that is similar to a terminal server.  As usual you are primarily looking for single thread CPU performance, followed by disk speed, then RAM.  Again, plan for no more than 8 users per core and about 300Mb of RAM per user.

Key Takeaways for Prophet 21 System Requirements

For the sake of simplicity and ease of maintenance, I highly recommend virtualization for the server and desktop clients.  This makes resource allocation much easier to manage.  It also helps assure a consistent Prophet 21 experience from user to user.  In a standard, 50 user environment where all users are on the desktop client, I would recommend the following:

  1. A physical host with 2 Xeon E5-2667 processors, 96Gb of RAM or more, and a disk array in RAID10 using SSD drives.
  2. For the SQL server, dedicate 4 CPU cores and 48-64Gb of RAM (there are ways to measure how much RAM you really need)
  3. For terminal servers, create 2 servers, each having 4 CPU cores and 16Gb of RAM.  Put 25 users on each server

This configuration will provide very good performance (assuming it is all set up properly).  It will also give you headroom to grow your business without worrying about infrastructure for a while.  Since the terminal servers have the same general requirements as a middleware server should you choose to run the web applications, changing one out for the other would be relatively easy.  Hopefully this has given you a good idea of how to handle Prophet 21 System Requirements in your implementation.

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