[K12OSN] Server choices

James P. Kinney III jkinney at localnetsolutions.com
Wed Jul 26 20:37:01 UTC 2006

On Wed, 2006-07-26 at 15:42 -0400, Michael Blinn wrote:
>   I'm nearing the purchase point of my terminal server, but I thought 
> before laying down the serious $$, I should get the opinions of those 
> who have been there before!
>   I'm partial to Dell servers because the ones that I have had in the 
> past have worked very well. They don't (yet) offer AMD products. They've 
> quoted me on an Intel 64-bit dual-processor dual-core system w/ 8GB of 
> ram and a two raid arrays (one system array @ RAID1, one /var, /home 
> array @ RAID5). It will be using a PERC SAS controller card hooked to 
> (2+5=) 7 146gb drives to accomplish this. With three gigabit cards (two 
> for two separate subnets and one for external interface), the grand 
> total came in around $6,500. This leaves me $1500 in the budget for 4 
> terminals & monitors and two switches to round out the testbed.

If you like Dell then run with what you are looking at. Monarch
Computers (the folks who have had the Ultimate Linux Box in The Linux
Journal for the past 4 years) have a good selection of both Xeon and
Opteron servers. The prices and specs are better.
>   Does FC4 or FC5 (and therefore k12ltsp) support Intel's 64-bit 
> architecture? If not, does someone have a good source for reliable 
> Opteron servers?

www.monarchcomputers.com  I have built (or had built for me) several
dual Opteron systems from them. 
>   I have no experience with hardware RAID on the Linux side of things. 
> Dell said they'd provide RHEL drivers for the RAID card - can these be 
> used in Fedora? How does one set up the arrays prior to OS installation?

My thoughts on hardware RAID. Yes, it is slightly faster than software
RAID. It certainly costs much more than software RAID does.

However, when that controller card does finally die, and it will, unless
you can get the exact same model to replace it with, your RAID
configuration is GONE. You will have to restore everything from backups.

The vendors ALL say this won't happen, blah, blah...

The Dell Perc raid systems are made by Adaptec. It's basically good
hardware. But the configuration requires a battery backup. I have had
far too many of them fail during the battery exercise process (which
runs down the battery so it can take a full charge) when the battey is
fully depleted. I have had this happen on Linux systems, Windows systems
and Solaris systems. 

When software RAID is used, the RAID config is stored on the drive
itself. Lose a drive, plop in another, it rebuilds (for RAID 5 and
mirrors) and everything is good. Motherboard dies, put the drives into
another machine and reboot and go back playing chess.

With software RAID, you can do a poor mans drive duplication by breaking
the mirror, pulling the drive(s) and replacing them with new drives and
let the mirror rebuild. Meanwhile the pulled drives go into a new
machine with the missing mirror as new drives and you now have 2
duplicates building (OK so it's not efficient, dd could do it faster.
But it is rather elegant).

For software RAID, during the FC4 or 5 (or Centos 3+, RedHat 9+, etc)
install you can select either full drives or partitions and make them
type RAID. Once you have enough RAID type partitions or drives for the
version you want, select the RAID button and fill out the form as
needed. Then once the RAIDed device has been formed, select it and set
the mount point and file type as normal.
> Thank you to everyone - I've enjoyed reading the archives, especially 
> the newer posts about local devs and NIC bonding to remove that bottleneck.

NIC bonding is great!
> Many thanks,
>   Michael Blinn
James P. Kinney III          \Changing the mobile computing world/
CEO & Director of Engineering \          one Linux user         /
Local Net Solutions,LLC        \           at a time.          /
770-493-8244                    \.___________________________./

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
<jkinney at localnetsolutions.com>
Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
URL: <http://listman.redhat.com/archives/k12osn/attachments/20060726/8507985c/attachment.sig>

More information about the K12OSN mailing list