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[K12OSN] multiple LTSP servers same network: tips/ tricks/ handouts

Greetings all from a harried teacher a.k.a. sys. admin,

I'm at wits end here. I've got my home directories on a second drive. I need all requests for home dir to go through the main LTSP server which is where the second hard-drive is mounted with all of the user directories. I've read the wiki, which is painfully shallow on setting up multiple LTSP servers on the same network,


and it is rarely updated and has only rare bits on real-world setups. I need to add a second server to relieve some of the load on the main server. I searched for sharing load on the wiki and it came up with no hits:


I have no cash. I can't buy more RAM. I put the network together on donations of computers and the generous help of a helpful LUG member.

I need to add a second server without losing home dir. access. I'm thinking some kind of authentication either NIS or LDAP but, after having copied the home dir to a second HD my students __are__ able to log in. Their folders/ files etc. are gone, they __can__ log in, but all of their previously created documents/prefs/ history files are missing so naturally I'm more than worried that adding a second server reffing the /home dir on the second drive on the primary ltsp server is going to really mess things up. I've got a number of scripts that are working on students' files now so I'm loathe to mess around yet further with home dir. paths.

I want the main server.ltsp.one on dhcp response on 100-120. server.ltsp.two dhcp response on 121-130 but the authentication of having the /home dirs is causing me no end of anguish. Accessing the home directories via NFS failed flatout. NFS would not play nice on k12ltsp 4.1/FC2 even for a seasoned linux buddy of mine.

Make no mistake, I love what I've got working now. But, the network is slow and my student's protests are growing louder for paper and pen. I need a cheap 'dummy' solution for my problems here; I'm not a computer science major. I'm only a dedicated teacher trying to put the 21st century in front of my students but I feel like the 21st century is going to beat us because it is __too__ difficult and __too__ complex for the ordinary mortal to set up a network that requires more than one moderately priced LTSP server to support the user load.

We only use firefox and gedit. OpenOffice users are booted off immediately. Tuxtype is the same. Anything more than the most basic webbrowsing and text editing is immediately questioned. Application cop is not the role I want to play as an English teacher in an LTSP enabled classroom.

There has got to be an easy way to add more server power to an existing network without digging deep into moth riddled pockets.

I am a poor teacher, not a rich school district. Is there anything in the works (next version of LTSP?) that makes it __easier__ to add a second, even third server, to existing networks without increasing user authentication problems/home directory issues? I ask because I know that Mandrake will ask you where the home dir will be located...and having read that Skolelinux has an authentication/multiple server configuration already built in(?).

Is there anything in the LTSP that will ask how many servers the admin wants to set up to support the LTSP network? I use webmin but there isn't thing nice in there that says, "Ah, your using LTSP... I see another LTSP server offering DHCP. Would you like to have the second server reference your existing home directories?"

I've got a dual xeon 2.4ghz, two gigs of RAM. ltsp.server.one I've got a second dual PIII ltsp.server.two with two gigs of RAM as well. I can't shell out more cash. The school district Computer Informatin Services head guy wouldn't mind seeing my 'little experiment' fail so that he can push through his Citrix/Microsoft client solution. My LTSP proof of concept is on the edge of failing. I'm not a trained/certificated sys admin. I'm an English teacher. And I find myself asking more and more, "Is K12LTSP only for small boutique/wealthy classes/teachers if you're not a full-fledged and trained sys-admin or have deep pockets?"

I need to squeeze more performance out of my single server(now) 35+ node network before parents/ stakeholders step in and say, "Enough, you failed."

Is there anyone in the Los Angeles region who has a multiple LTSP servers on the same network running? Can I come and see how you've got your network setup? I'm nearing desperation here.

Maybe a competition describing the most performance out of the cheapest setups of LTSP? Anything! I can't get any interest in LTSP out of other teachers or the administrators when they see/hear how much trouble I'm having. I'm not stupid but there are some critical pieces missing in the documentation and narratives on how to get more out of LTSP network on a real classroom size of 35 plus students without spending thousands of dollars on new servers and clients.
Could someone please do a write up on how they set up multiple LTSP servers on the same network to share the load? Please include more details on how you set up the central home directories and the authentication of the user logins.

Many many thanks to all of those who have made the LTSP applications as powerful as it is now! I beg of you to make it easier to add tools to make it easier for the dummies, like me, who see the future in computing in the classroom, but don't have the same years of experience! Please! I want to be able to say that K12LTSP is ready for prime time in the classroom!

many heart-felt thanks!

Dennis Daniels



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