Are you only interested in the application server or do you also want recommendations for the SQL server?
I'd suggest the following for your application server.
OS: MS Windows 2K8R2 STD
CPU: a minimum of 4 cores. Latest CPU arch.
RAM: a minimum of 12GB fast memory.
HDD: a minimum of 40GB, more importantly is disk/volume type. RAID 5, 6, 10 or single SSD on PICe for best performance. Stay away from RAID 1.
NET: 1Gbit interface or more without added bloatware. Keep stock drivers.
If running it virtually, stick to the same recommendations but make sure that the resources are not going to be shared excessively with other cpu and memory hungry guests...
Thanks, sorry I meant just the Application server as we have corporate clustered sql instances than are super spec'd.
I am running NPM and IPSLA on the a vmware box at present and it is Slow!
We are running Win Server 2008 now as standard. We tend to use Dell servers.
It was really the CPU spec as this is very general for each SW Module and so I wanted to know a decent combined spec for running all 4 modules on the same App Server. A recommended spec rather than minimum would be beneficial
4 physical cores are enough for what you require. There's even room for more thread processing.
In my experience you should turn off HT on those CPU's as well as power saver features in the BIOS. Control it though the OS instead.
With regards to the NPM server, it is more important to have a well performing SQL server than it is to have a powerhouse NPM server. In almost every case, slow Orion console performance points to an overly congested SQL server with a lack of (the right) resources. Most of the time this can be temporarily adressed by cleaning up the db and doing some maintenance (alot of silt can be stuck in there without proper maintenance).
NPM server polls devices, does on the fly translation, stores everything in the database, reads from the database, does conversions and lists the content in the web console. All the data stored in the database ends there through thousands and thousands of small transactions per minute. All the data you request on every single page when browsing through Orion's web console creates thousands and thousands of small transaction calls to that same database. So, in order to have a well performing Orion web console you also need a super fast SQL server. What is important to note is the type of storage the SQL server uses and how is the data on the SQL server made available.
As you know, SQL performance gains for a web application is categorized by 1. Storage 2. Memory and 3. CPU - in that particular order. It is the exact opposite of any other traditional server layout. That said, you really must have fast storage that can handle read AND write as fast as possible if you want a fast performing web application. In RAID terms you need RAID10 as a bare minimum, no ifs ands or buts. Also, number of disks is not the say all end all, either. There are so many other things to consider. Is the SQL server/farm virtual? Is the storage/controller being shared by other applications/servers? How fast are the disks being used? How much cache on disk/controller is available? These are just a few hardware questions. On the software front, how is the SQL server configured to use resources? Is the SQL server load balancing tasks across several nodes? How is the database configured to run? Collation? Database maintenance plans?
Without going into these finer details, if you want a fast performing Orion web console i'd strongly advise to migrate the database to some standalone hardware. Double up the resources suggested for the NPM server to get minimum recommendations for the SQL server. The last word in SQL performance, though, is still disk performance. Dedicated disks are always a WIN. Get some fast avg latency and avg seek time disks raided into R10 or better yet, get SSDs on a PCIe card and you'll replace the steel toe boots in favor of some lights cross trainers.