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Re: [K12OSN] I need opinions....backup idea for when Terminal server down and I'm not around



David Trask wrote:

This year I'm doing my first totally dedicated thin-client lab....until
this year we've had the ability to dual boot....WinXP or LTSP....(which we
used most of the time).  I'm try to decide on a thin-client model such as
the LTSP Term 150 (I have no more than $279 per unit budgeted....and I
need 28 or so...I already have monitors and keyboards/mice)  Anyway...two
dilemmas....I worry about what happens if the Terminal Server fails while
I'm far away (like at Linux World).  Until now they could boot into
Windows and still have the class go on (remember I'm a computer teacher as
well as the tech director and have a full slate of classes...grades K-8
over the course of a week....I see about 450-600 kids)  When I go to
dedicated thin-clients...K12LTSP server goes down...they're dead in the
water.  So....

3.  Buy a mini-ITX barebones like this one
http://www.caseoutlet.com/shopexd.asp?id=203  (I have one so I know they
work...though mine has no CD drive) and add a CD drive along with 256 mb
RAM and make my own LIVE CD from Knoppix or better yet....PCLinuxOS (very
easy to make your own Live CD with all your own configs in place)....that
way if the server goes down...just pop in the disc and they can boot into
a Live CD

Remember, this is my lab I'm mostly worried about....I'm open to all sorts
of suggestions....my biggest things that are truly important....small size
and very quiet.  I'm even willing to entertain a unit with a HD and a
locally loaded version of Linux (for emergencies) if it's VERY quiet
(fanless or very quiet)...and small.  So....fire away!  I could use some
ideas, thoughts, and opinions.




David,

NCS has been running a dedicated thin client lab for 2 years now, and the server has only gone down hard once (for 1 day). At present there aren't any MS-based PC's on any desks except the front office/staff areas (all the teachers use thin clients as well). We use Casetronic mini-itx systems (no floppy, no cdrom, just a single stick of 128Mb memory and USB ports) for lab, recycled systems elsewhere. In an emergency, I can flip the thin clients to a second (backup) k12ltsp server which exists 'just in case'. It also does some other things, but can pick up the slack in an emergency by switching the cable from the failed server to the second NIC and just reboot the clients (have to keep some conf files in sync to make this work). For our setup, the key issue has been redundancy/backup solutions. (This is a big reason for the new server that is going on-line this fall.) If you are getting a new server for the lab (with redundant power, Raid 1/5 for OS/home + hot spare + UPS), it takes alot to take such a system completely down (in my experience to date). The students/teachers just expect that the system works at this point without any suprises.

Given my choice, I would choose something fanless, and small footprint (we put LCD monitors in the lab). I would also look at putting a second server on-line if your budget allows it. For the cdroms, we have put ISO images on the file server, loopback mounted them, and then just access them 'as if' it was the cdrom drive for those that need them. It works, but we haven't had a real need to do anything with MS-based software that needs a dedicated cdrom.

Also, I thought you were using rdesktop to access a Win2K server for some apps. And don't you also have all those student laptop systems as well? Could they fill in an emergency to connect to some other server?

Sincerely,
Dave Hopkins


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