[K12OSN] Off Topic: Local unix user account limit?

John Lucas mrjohnlucas at gmail.com
Fri Dec 15 12:42:55 UTC 2006

In practical terms there is no limit to the number of users that can be 
handled by Linux; think about it, Google's GMail runs on Linux. How many 
users is that? 

Having said that, this does not mean that there is a "plain-vanilla" 
deployment that will handle 10s of thousands of interactive users. There are 
still CPU/RAM/Bandwidth and other I/O limitations that would have to be 
planned for and dealt with. I would think that this would be a multi-server 
deployment if even a significant fraction of your 24,000 users were going to 
be on line simultaneously. If this is just a mail server, then it isn't as 
critical and you should be able to use a single big server. You have not said 
what those 24,000 accounts are used for; it does make a huge difference.

One thing I do know is that if I were planning such a deployment, I would look 
at a high-performance LDAP solution. Things may have changed, but OpenLDAP is 
not the fastest LDAP implementation out there. I chose Sun's LDAP server 
(this was 5 or 6 years ago) based on speed (transactions per second) over 
OpenLDAP. The RedHat Directory Server may be an open source alternative with 
suitable performance and flexibility. If you don't have lots of experience 
with directory services, find some one who does to assist in the design and 
deployment. At all events, I think that Linux is more suitable to large scale 
deployments than Windows is.

On Thursday 14 December 2006 18:11, you wrote:
> Does anyone know if there is a limit to how many user accounts unix/linux
> can handle?  I have a school district that wants to know if we can build
> them a server that can handle 24,000 local users.  I don't know if linux
> can handle that.  I am also thinking this may need to be a server farm. 
> They want ftp folders for all students.  Is there a limit with LDAP that
> anyone knows about?
> Odd request, but if any of you know, I would appreciate the input.
> I'll google my a$$ off in the meantime as well.
> Thanks,
> Jim Kronebusch
> Cotter Tech Department
> 507-453-5188

        "History doesn't repeat itself; at best it rhymes."
                        - Mark Twain

| John Lucas                          MrJohnLucas at gmail.com               |
| St. Thomas, VI 00802                http://mrjohnlucas.googlepages.com/ |
| 18.3°N, 65°W                        AST (UTC-4)                         |

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