Home
Join

34 Replies

  • I would use MariaDB for this, not MySQL. All the same resources, better code base and support.  All the same difference, though, just none of the Oracle weirdness.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • XAMPP is for Windows and NEVER for real world use.  Avoid that like the plague.  Just install the proper components on your Mac or run Linux in a VM to make things much easier (why deal with the complexities of Mac when this could be SO easy?)

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • phpMyAdmin is a great tool, but you've not mentioned any real use for it.  If you don't need it, why have all that complexity with PHP and all of that if all you want is Excel and a database?  You'll spend more time installing phpMyAdmin than you will just setting up the database.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • You mentioned moving to a CRM, why not just go with a CRM right now?  Look at SuiteCRM, it's pretty nice.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • Thanks! I'm looking into MariaDB right now.

    But in case that doesn't work, pretend I'm dumb: what would be the proper components for a Mac? Just the regular downloads from MySQL (Server, Cluster)? And configure the server directly?

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:


    We're small and scrappy and don't have a dedicated server of our own - we use a cloud-based management system - and my coworkers are decidedly not tech-y. 


    You could for like... $5.  Even if I was doing this project for me personally and not for a business, I'd up the ante a little over your thinking.  MariaDB or MySQL on Mac OSX will work just fine, but if this was me doing this for a household project, I'd probably spend the $5/mo on a real enterprise server or $6/mo really so that it includes backups.  You have twelve employees, that's eleven more than I would want for this to be running on a desktop.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • Very simple on Mac it would appear...

    https://mariadb.com/kb/en/mariadb/installing-mariadb-on-macos-using-homebrew/

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    But in case that doesn't work, pretend I'm dumb: what would be the proper components for a Mac? Just the regular downloads from MySQL (Server, Cluster)? And configure the server directly?

    Yes, you just need the server and the client and you are off and running.  If you were on Linux this would be SO easy.  This is what it looks like on CentOS 7:

    yum install mysql mysql-server

    That's it, that's all that it takes.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • My supervisor made the decision a couple of years ago to forego a server and do everything using a cloud-based doc management system and Macs (laptops, even, not desktops). It's not something I would have done but he seems to be sticking to his guns. 

    So will installing MySQL server then connect me to the cloud-based server? I really do not understand this part. 

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    My supervisor made the decision a couple of years ago to forego a server and do everything using a cloud-based doc management system and Macs (laptops, even, not desktops). It's not something I would have done but he seems to be sticking to his guns. 

    Well you are building a server now, so he's given up his guns.  Now he's not fighting for "server vs. hosted apps" he's now just saying "use a desktop as a server so we can't do this well."

    I'd make it clear to him... there is now a server, that decision is over and done with.  Now the question is... will he be willing to take this business seriously or is he going to drop below the home line and make you do things poorly without a good reason?

    So either he's not sticking to his guns, or his guns are only "not trying to do a good job" and not what you thought that they were.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    So will installing MySQL server then connect me to the cloud-based server? I really do not understand this part. 

    There is no cloud based server.  Your desktop will be the server.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • Okay. This has all been really helpful so far, thanks.

    Still two questions:

    1.) I understand that using a desktop or laptop as a server is, in general, a bad idea. But I can't quite pinpoint why. Because it could get stolen? Or burn out? No backups? Why this this a bad idea?

    2.) You mentioned earlier you could find server hosting for $5 or $6. Where would one go to price this kind of service? What would work for this kind of instance - a small, open-sourced database as a temporary holdover to something nicer and professionally built?

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:


    1.) I understand that using a desktop or laptop as a server is, in general, a bad idea. But I can't quite pinpoint why. Because it could get stolen? Or burn out? No backups? Why this this a bad idea?

    That's a whole discussion on its own :)  One important point is that if the system isn't important, then of course treating it like a hobby is just fine.  But question... why would you in a business bother installing a database if the data isn't very important?

    But some reasons:

    • It locks up your data in non-accessible ways.  This would be okay if it was a database for you and only you and access only matters when you are running it locally, in which case you have no purpose for a database server and you should rethink what you are doing - wrong tool for the job.
    • Your system is now functioning in multiple roles, how will it be effectively managed given the mixed needs of being a personal device and the core database for the organization?  The needs of it in one role are opposed to the needs of it in the other.
    • You are using a complex tool to do something that should be simple.  You will easily triple or more the work necessary.
    • You cannot easily treat this well.  You CAN run it on a VM on top of your laptop, but your laptop is not well suited for that, but this is the best case scenario.  You would never mix your database server with other roles when treating it as a server, on your laptop where you have more interactions, this is far more important.
    • Your data is at risk as you mention.  It's not just a copy of your data that's on your laptop like normal, but it is your entire IT infrastructure that would be stolen from your car.  Or dropped on the floor.  Of have coffee spilled on it.  Or have its screen die.
    • Security.  You can lock down a laptop, but not super effectively.
    • Backups.  You can backup a laptop, but you can't back it up really well as a server when used as a laptop.  One of the other has to suffer.
    • RAID.  Industry standard says you can't even considered a workload to be "business class" if you don't at least have it on RAID.  Sure, downtime for this might not be a big deal.  But again... it's SO trivial that it's not up to par with the workloads that I have at home?  It's not that this might not be true, it's just REALLY important to understand that you are working for a "business" that considered its mission to be so trivial, that it's not even a hobby to them. Why are any of you bothering at all if they see it as so unimportant?  That anyone is paid or bothers to show up to work flies in the face of this decision - so there is a fundamental conflict of viewpoints (engineering term: impedance mismatch) at play.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:


    2.) You mentioned earlier you could find server hosting for $5 or $6. Where would one go to price this kind of service?

    Vultr is what we use.  They technically start at $2.50/mo but those tiny instances are always sold out due to the incredible demand so the $5/mo is the smallest that you can reasonably find unless you are crazy lucky, but you don't want those really, really tiny anyway.  Vultr is hardly the only player for this, Linode is really good too.  And you have Digital Ocean, AWS, Azure, Softlayer and on and on.  But Vultr and Linode are the only two I'd seriously consider today for your use case.


    Vultr is $5 for the VM, then 20% for backups, which brings you to $6.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    What would work for this kind of instance - a small, open-sourced database as a temporary holdover to something nicer and professionally built?
    This is a misuse of the term database is and is going to lead you down a dark path, which it already has I think.  I know that you are not in IT, so it's way more acceptable that this happened to you than to someone in IT where this would be ridiculous... and yet happens in nearly every discussion around applications like this on SW.  Argh.

    You are mixing the concept of a database and an application.  You do NOT want a database for anything that you are doing here.  You want a CRM application.  That application will, of course, use a database.  But YOU don't care that it does nor do YOU want a database. You just want a CRM. 


    I'd look hard at SuiteCRM, probably the best CRM for your needs at this point.  You can easily run SuiteCRM (or others like SugarCRM, Zurmo or pretty much whatever you want) on that $5/$6 Vultr instance.  You can also get enterprise SuiteCRM hosting.  I know a firm that does that, you could ask them about non-profit pricing.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    ... a small, open-sourced database as a temporary holdover to something nicer and professionally built?
    What's nicer than open source?  There are some great CMRs like SalesForce, but when would that ever make sense for a non-profit?  I don't know.  MS Dynamics CRM isn't as nice as SuiteCRM.  Why would you look at open source as a holdover rather than the permanent solution?

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • This is amazingly helpful, thank you! Really, thanks, for taking the time out of your day to answer some embarrassingly-basic questions.
    You bring up the CRM, so I do want to address that.
    Our non-profit, tiny as it is, has two main functions we need users to enter and use data for: a business development function, in which a CRM is necessary, and an audit management system function, for which it would be best to have a sophisticated audit management system (AMS). We have neither.
    The CRM is definitely on hold for budgetary reasons, and also because our organization is just not ready for a CRM. It is pulling teeth to get buy-in, even from 12, on software and programs. Because the folks who do this kind of work are on the road all the time and not super tech-savvy, there's no perceived need from decision-makers or end users about trying to stretch the budget for a CRM. Which is fine. We can live without one, our pipeline is small enough to manage in Excel and I can do more to make it more functional with just my own Excel knowledge. 
    An AMS is something we're working towards, but again, budgetary concerns have made what's "nice to have" something down the road. So we clobber through with, again, Excel-based documents and analysis. This is becoming less feasible, but since these systems are expensive, unique, and require multiple users from different organizations, not something we can build ourselves.
    But we still have our day-to-day operational data as well as a responsibility to measure our outcomes and impacts for funders and our Board. And this is where we need that temporary holdover. We really need a relational database to analyze efficiently what takes me, honestly, days to do "by hand" in Excel. I know enough about data structuring and SQL queries to know that sometimes it takes me an hour to answer a quick question (because formula building and raw data manipulation) that could be better served by a SQL query. And it's just not efficient to store an organization's data in multiple Excel spreadsheets. It's not good data management. 
    I have the skills to create a reasonably good database system on my own, and I find SQL really easy to learn. So my goal is to build a relational database that stores our data and can help us grow and identify gaps in information and functionality, so that when we have the budget for systems, I can help identify what features are needs and what are just nice to have. Plus, storing it in a relational database will help things smoothly transition into a CRM or AMS (I'm still not sure if one product exists here). The easiest thing would be an Access database, but using Macs, that's not an option. And I'm just hesitant to buy something like Filemaker because I don't think it has enough functionality to justify it (reviews seem to indicate it is a lesser version of Access, and I think Access has about the bare minimum functionality I want). It's just this setting it up, server management, how do I actually do this front bit that I am in no way qualified to do. But here we are. 
    If what I'm trying to do is not possible, than that is good to know. I think I should point out I haven't done anything except think about it and my boss gave me permission to try to figure this out. So no harm done if this is really the wrong way to go.  
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:


    The CRM is definitely on hold for budgetary reasons,....
    Good business sense would say the opposite - it is financially reckless to push it off as it would be free to run yourself (or essentially so) and the cost of working around it will cost more and create risk in the future.  One of the hallmarks of non-profits is always "conservative to the point of reckless" financial decision making.  Like shoving cash in a mattress... feels conservative but is actually insanely risk, because inflation is an sure bet.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    We can live without one, our pipeline is small enough to manage in Excel and I can do more to make it more functional with just my own Excel knowledge. 

    To a for-profit company this sounds like "setting our money on fire."  Excel is a huge cost, CRM is cheap.  Managing desktop app sharing is expensive and hard, good web software is cheap and easy.  "Your own knowledge" means paying money to staff to reinvent the wheel without benefit, instead of leveraging staff to do things useful to the organization.  In all ways, it sounds like "throwing money away" - exactly the opposite of what you would expect to hear if the money was tight.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    And this is where we need that temporary holdover. We really need a relational database to analyze efficiently what takes me, honestly, days to do "by hand" in Excel.
    What about the data makes relational make sense?
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • I can see choosing MariaDB just because you know SQL already. That makes sense. But it is not the relational nature that is useful, it's that you already know some of the tools. Basically you are looking to work with a database at the command line. This is very risk and convoluted. What if you move on or something happens to you or someone else needs to take over? Even most IT firms would be unable to help. Good ones could, of course, but this would be extremely expensive.

    You can build your own apps on top of your database, and it sounds like this is what you need. But at least the CRM, you are re-inventing the wheel. For the AMS, I have no idea what options already exist for you and what would need to be bespoke. But the sooner you get that bespoke stuff built, the sooner those tools are going to be usable.

    For example, if you had simple queries that could be accessed from a web app, everyone could run them, not have to come through you.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • Relational makes sense mostly on example. I mentioned we need an AMS - right now our audit data is such that I can tell you which things are wrong which percent of the time, but I can't aggregate it meaningfully based on which auditors are finding what problems most often, or what audits in California look like over audits in British Columbia, or what greenhouses look like versus open fields. I've tried to organize and re-organize the data a bunch of times in Excel and just can't get around it without wanting to shout IF I COULD JUST DO A JOIN. 

    So I realize that paying for systems rather than re-inventing the wheel is the better way to go, but it's just not my decision. And I don't want the organization to rush into software that it won't use properly, or doesn't fit all of our needs, so this seems like a good 1-year-ish solution that's relatively inexpensive. 

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    So I realize that paying for systems rather than re-inventing the wheel is the better way to go, but it's just not my decision.

    So you recognize that someone above you is trying to waste money and hamper the organization?  In such a small non-profit, why stay if an unhealthy culture has already been established?  I mean this 100%.... why is someone in charge trying to waste money, especially when obviously they can't think that everyone doesn't know what they are doing.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    . And I don't want the organization to rush into software that it won't use properly, or doesn't fit all of our needs, so this seems like a good 1-year-ish solution that's relatively inexpensive. 
    You are rushing into software regardless, you have no means of avoiding that at this point.  Whether you use something that already exists or build your own solution, the "rushing in" is the same.  The difference is that using something established has lower cost to get started, more protection and capability if you are not there and existing tools for getting out of.  Going with things the way that you are describing with making your own database takes all of the risks associated with your concern and magnifies them. 

    So your concerns are spot on, but your organization's reaction to those concerns is totally backwards.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • Okay, that is good to hear. I'll probably scrap this and either press for the CRM/AMS systems or at least a Filemaker Pro license for everybody, for my "hit by a bus here's how to data" plan. 

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    Relational makes sense mostly on example. I mentioned we need an AMS - right now our audit data is such that I can tell you which things are wrong which percent of the time, but I can't aggregate it meaningfully based on which auditors are finding what problems most often, or what audits in California look like over audits in British Columbia, or what greenhouses look like versus open fields. I've tried to organize and re-organize the data a bunch of times in Excel and just can't get around it without wanting to shout IF I COULD JUST DO A JOIN. 

    You can do that stuff without relational data as well.  Sure, it isn't called a join, but the results are the same.  I'm not disagreeing with the value of using what you know, just want to make sure that it is clear that you are talking about the value being your personal experience and not what tool is necessarily best for the job without that aspect.  If someone was experienced in non-relational data, they would likely have a completely opposite reaction.  That Excel doesn't do what you want suggests that relational is not what you need, as Excel is a relational data system.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    Okay, that is good to hear. I'll probably scrap this and either press for the CRM/AMS systems or at least a Filemaker Pro license for everybody, for my "hit by a bus here's how to data" plan. 

    I would NOT consider a FileMaker license.  That's taking the worse of the two options we presented (build your own database or get something off of the shelf) and making it so much worse. Filemaker is SO much worse than these options, as is Access.  Filemaker is a poorly known, not-ready-for-business toy.  Sure, you can find some kid that has worked on it, but not an IT pro very likely.  You'll pay top dollar for bad software, then pay top dollar for extensive support.  You could have enterprise databases, on servers for a fraction of the cost of one license of FileMaker.  Your team would still be left not knowing what to do with FM, I don't see it solving any problems realistically, just creating more.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • Scott Alan Miller wrote

     That Excel doesn't do what you want suggests that relational is not what you need, as Excel is a relational data system.
    I think if we weren't working on Macs and could use Power Pivot, Power Query, etc. this would all just be fine. But Macs are what we use, and laptops at that, so it is a bit of a struggle to figure out exactly the best thing to do when the best thing was "not Macs from the start".

    My boss has mentioned getting me a PC, but I don't like that either - it doesn't make sense to have a system that only one person can really see and analyze (see: "hit by a bus" plan), and you do get into trouble with functionality between Excel versions (and other software) between operating systems.

    Although now that I am thinking about it in much greater detail, a PC for me and Power BI or other online dashboarding system would maybe work okay...

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • AMS I don't have any good recommendation other than "get cracking at building it."  The sooner you build it, the less of an impact it will be.  The longer you limp along without really building it, the more data and mistakes are likely to exist.

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    Scott Alan Miller wrote

     That Excel doesn't do what you want suggests that relational is not what you need, as Excel is a relational data system.
    I think if we weren't working on Macs and could use Power Pivot, Power Query, etc. this would all just be fine. But Macs are what we use, and laptops at that, so it is a bit of a struggle to figure out exactly the best thing to do when the best thing was "not Macs from the start".

    My boss has mentioned getting me a PC, but I don't like that either - it doesn't make sense to have a system that only one person can really see and analyze (see: "hit by a bus" plan), and you do get into trouble with functionality between Excel versions (and other software) between operating systems.

    Although now that I am thinking about it in much greater detail, a PC for me and Power BI or other online dashboarding system would maybe work okay...

    I'm no spreadsheet expert, but have you looked at LibreOffice?  It might do everything that you need and is identical across platforms.  And free.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • Pivot Tables, available on Mac for free....

    https://help.libreoffice.org/Calc/Creating_Pivot_Tables

    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:

    But Macs are what we use, and laptops at that, so it is a bit of a struggle to figure out exactly the best thing to do when the best thing was "not Macs from the start".
    I hate to say it but, as a for profit businessman... this doesn't match the "non-profit" model, either.  Why is all that money being spent on flashy gear that isn't practical at the best of times and is outright now meeting your needs at all?  What business logic is being applied that is paying big money for tools you can't use?  And along the same lines, why are you on MS Office if it doesn't work on your platform?  These are a lot of very expensive decisions that clearly aren't working... and aren't being re-evaluated or corrected.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:


    My boss has mentioned getting me a PC, but I don't like that either - it doesn't make sense to have a system that only one person can really see and analyze (see: "hit by a bus" plan), and you do get into trouble with functionality between Excel versions (and other software) between operating systems.

    Agreed, other than that you could make reports for everyone and send them on.  But Excel is far from the only tool for accessing data here.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down
  • alexandradegrandchamp wrote:


    Although now that I am thinking about it in much greater detail, a PC for me and Power BI or other online dashboarding system would maybe work okay...

    That's a lot of money for a tool for one person when PHP is free and would do it for everyone, and work on Mac.  And not need to be paid for upgrades all of the time.
    Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down

Read these next...

  • Snap! Reporting phishing in Teams, State of IT, Arc A770 graphics card, Optimus

    Snap! Reporting phishing in Teams, State of IT, Arc A770 graphics card, Optimus

    Spiceworks Originals

    Your daily dose of tech news, in brief. How is it already Monday? Actually, how is it already October 2022? It felt like SpiceWorld was just starting, and already it's over (for this year). But don't worry, the fun continues as this month is Cybers...

  • Can you run a print server on windows 10

    Can you run a print server on windows 10

    Windows

    I have many clients with no servers.  Looking for the best way to manage printers.If I share the printer then that machine that shares the printer needs to be online to print correct?   Having to always download the print driver and lookup the printers IP...

  • Lost of VDI rights on Windows 10 Enterprise E3

    Lost of VDI rights on Windows 10 Enterprise E3

    Software

    I am migration from standalone Windows 10 Enterprise E3 online subscription to Microsoft 365 E3 online subscription. However, I am seeing this in the terms.https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/terms/productoffering/Microsoft365/MOSADoes this mean I am losi...

  • Spark! Pro Series - 3rd October 2022

    Spark! Pro Series - 3rd October 2022

    Spiceworks Originals

    Welcome to Monday. I am currently sat at home in isolation, with my wife and I having succumbed to the dreaded Covid-19 after managing to avoid it for the last two and a half years! Still, it gives me the chance to indulge my fancy in yet another Spark! t...

  • What security best practices would you suggest?

    What security best practices would you suggest?

    Spiceworks

    It's Cybersecurity Awareness month, which if people took seriously, would likely be a great boon to all of ITkind. :)  The National Cybersecurity Alliance suggests some specific things that people can do to increase cybersecurity: Enabling multi-facto...