[K12OSN] what is the maximum number of clients per serve]

Kanwar Ranbir Sandhu m3freak at rogers.com
Thu May 11 04:10:02 UTC 2006

On Sun, 2006-07-05 at 12:32 -0400, Daniel Howard wrote:
> Folks, next year we're going to move to an enterprise model from our
> current model of one server per class, and try to minimize the number of
> servers in the school, but shoot for a 2:1 student to PC ratio.  A
> school like ours with on the order of 700 kids would then have 350
> clients.  Assuming server cost is not an issue, and we separate the
> boot, authentication/file storage, and application servers, what kind of
> monster servers would we need, and how many clients could each serve?
> It's an elementary school, so high levels of graphics and animation will
> be involved (Flash web sites, Tuxtype, etc.).  For word processing, we
> can stick with Abiword if OpenOffice causes the answer to change
> drastically.

Don't put more than about 60 thin clients on a server.  It's not a limit
of the hardware - you can build a massive server to support many more
thin clients.  The problem is that the server becomes a single point of
failure.  If you don't want to knock out hundreds of thin clients in one
go, keep the numbers per server below what you feel is a reasonable

If you do want to put 100 or more thin clients on a server, you would
most certainly need to set up a redundant server to take over if the
master dies.  There are lots of options for high availability, etc., in
the Linux/OSS world.  Clustering is another option.

Considering the applications you want to use, your server will most
certainly be loaded.  Application servers can help, but in my humble
opinion, they defeat the purpose of a thin client environment: you end
up having to maintain multiple servers.  I'd much rather build a server
cluster and run everything from the "same box" instead of splitting apps
across different dedicated machines.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this.  I've built thin client solutions
for school boards, and private companies, so I'm speaking from
experience.  Well, for the most part, anyway.  I haven't built a Linux
terminal server cluster yet, though it would be immensely fun! :)


Kanwar Ranbir Sandhu
Linux 2.6.16-1.2108_FC4 i686 GNU/Linux 
23:50:45 up 17:20, 3 users, load average: 0.40, 0.55, 0.47 

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