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Re: [K12OSN] Thoughts for my upgrade...

How much did those 6 servers for 140 machines cost?

We're fundraising to upgrade my lab and our school technology coordinator is planning to stick me with a Windows lab.
I'm worried that I'll be in the same boat again in 4 or so years, so I'd like to upgrade to a better LTSP-style lab. (Also, I love
the idea of not having to worry about 30 different operating systems/installs/etc, and I'm finally getting comfortable writing
reasonable perl scripts to do what I want. Collecting and autograding student work is so much easier to fathom on Linux...)

I'm going to try to use the "terminals last longer, if we upgrade the servers we upgrade every computer argument" and hope
I can convince someone that's a better idea.


On Thursday, December 19, 2002, at 01:33 PM, Chris Hobbs wrote:

Happy holidays gang!

My 6 new servers have come in, and I'm going to be upgrading to them over the holidays. I'm trying to simplify management of the servers as a group, and would like your thoughts on these ideas.

The primary server (SVHSAPP01) in the group has 4 fast, large scsi drives, and I'll be setting them up with software RAID1. Total formatted capacity will be about 100GB. This will contain /home for all users, and /home will be exported via nfs to the servers via a dedicated VLAN on my switch. (It's also shared via samba for windows users.)

User and group info will be synched up using rsync, which is how I currently manage them. I then only have to add users and groups to SVHSAPP01. It works great, and is simpler and more robust than using NIS, though admittedly not realtime. However, I'm synchronizing now every two minutes, and it seems to work fine.

I'm wondering if there's any reason I shouldn't export /usr, /opt, and /tftpboot from SVHSAPP01 to the other servers as well. In theory, none of those filesystems should be having anything written to them under normal circumstances. It would certainly make upgrading simple, as I'd only have to touch one machine.

Terminals would connect to SVHSAPP.silvervalley.k12.ca.us, which would resolve to the different appservers via round-robin DNS. This provides some rudimentary load balancing, and eliminates one step in our current login process, using the chooser screen to pick a server. Obvious downside is that if one server goes down, every n'th terminal will be forced to reboot to try to get to a different server, at least until I can modify the DNS or fix the server. I had been considering mosix, but the majority of our users will be using Mozilla and OpenOffice most of the time, and since those don't migrate, we wouldn't see much balancing.

100GB is far too large for our tape system to handle well, so I'm considering putting together a backup server in another building that's about 150 yards away, but connected by fiber. I'd use rsync to back up SVHSAPP01 - an interesting sample script on rsync.org shows how to do incrementals as well as fulls, so that if a teacher or student comes to me saying they loast a file 3 days ago, I'd still be able to recover it. Using one of our old app servers and buying a large harddrive for it makes this much more economical than upgrading to tape robots and such :)

I apologize for taking up so much bandwidth - writing this stuff down helps me think it through, and if I missed anything dumb, someone here will catch it. And hopefully, it'll help someone else doing a large installation - these 6 servers support 140 terminals spread all over our high school campus.

Chris Hobbs       Silver Valley Unified School District
Head geek:              Technology Services Coordinator
webmaster:   http://www.silvervalley.k12.ca.us/~chobbs/
postmaster:               chobbs silvervalley k12 ca us

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