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Re: [K12OSN] K12LTSP server for a student organisation

On Wed, 2007-03-14 at 22:31 -0500, k12osn-request redhat com wrote:
> ------------------------------
> Message: 7
> Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 11:39:43 -0800
> From: "Robert Arkiletian" <robark gmail com>
> Subject: Re: [K12OSN] K12LTSP server for a student organisation
> To: "Support list for open source software in schools."
>         <k12osn redhat com>
> Message-ID:
>         <a18d8e260703141239i5c4e8225iea0148bb56cea441 mail gmail com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> On 3/14/07, Nils Breunese <nils breun nl> wrote:
> > Hello all,
> >
> > I have been on this list for some time now, but have only once just
> > done a short test session with K12LTSP. I have been running Fedora
> on
> > my workstation since version 1 and use CentOS for servers at my
> company.
> >
> > I also happen to be a volunteer in the sysadmin team for a small
> > student organisation for a few years now. This organisation doesn't
> > have an IT budget really and the current setup consists of a server
> > (well, desktop) running Debian (serves Samba shares, runs BackupPC,
> > handles mailinglists and serves some wiki's and other simple
> internal
> > web applications) and ~8 workstations defaulting to Ubuntu, but some
> > of them dualboot Windows XP (the accounting software only runs on
> > Windows). These workstations (a few different models) are not very
> > powerful machines (around 450 MHz or so).
> >
> > I was thinking this is an ideal place to introduce an LTSP server.
> > They are already using OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Thunderbird and
> > Scribus (we started a move to Linux a couple of years ago, Windows
> > licenses were just to expensive). With an LTSP server I think the
> > workstations should be a lot speedier than they are now. Buying new
> > computers has been an ad hoc business until now. "Oh, a computer
> > broke, we need to get a new second hand machine!" I'm trying to
> > figure out what hardware I need for an LTSP server that could serve
> > 8-10 workstations for the coming years and what kind of money it
> > would take to set this all up. Since there is no real budget I'm
> > looking for a cheap solution. If I can convince them that in the
> long
> > run this is cheaper than keep going with fat clients I might be able
> > to get some money for this (I hope).
> >
> > People are a bit sceptical though. The sysadmin volunteers are not
> on
> > site that often and they fear an LTSP server going down and not
> being
> > able to work at all. I might be leaving the sysadmin team at the end
> > of this year, so we'd need something that's low maintainance. Of
> > course only having to admin one machine (the server) should be less
> > work than keeping 10 different machines up to date. But there's a
> > bigger single point of failure as trade-off. Right now, when the
> > server is down they can't get to their files, but at least they
> still
> > can surf the internet and use email.
> >
> > Any recommendations for hardware? We are in The Netherlands, so if
> > anyone has any recommendations for hardware you can get here at
> > interesting prices, I'd be more than interested. I'm planning to do
> a
> > K12LTSP 6 install on an old borrowed 6-way (!) 450 MHz server with 2
> Even though it's 6 way it's probably not going to be much faster than
> the stand alone 450's. Although it sounds like a nice server (ram and
> disks) and it will probably be okay.
> > GB RAM and a SCSI RAID array. I'm thinking that for a production
> > server we should probably get a fast dual-core processor and 1-2 GB
> > RAM? I guess SATA (probably RAID-1) should be fine? Currently
> > everything is on 100 MBit switches, I think we'll need a gigabyte
In our experience, anything over 6-7 needs gigabit if you are running
Flash, Tuxtype, TuxMath or anything similar where there are frequent
redraws. Anything past that and the collisions will slow things down to
a crawl. Flash will seem like it's stuck in the mud.

For 10 clients, you could easily use a Pentium D (dual core) or even
better an Athlon x2. For the minor increase in cost, go to 2 gb of ram.
Two sata 7200 rpm 8-16mb cache drives in a RAID 1 or a single 10k SATA
drive are plenty fast enough.

We've been building Athlonx2 4400-ish boxes for under $1000 US to serve
a classroom of 20 students with 2gb RAM, 10k SATA drives in RAID 1 and
gigabit out to the clients. You could get an off-the-shelf AthlonX2 for
even less. The RAM, faster drives, good motherboard and better case
though, for us, were worth the extra cost.

Good luck,

> For only 10 clients you don't need gigabit. Just make sure it's a
> switch not a hub.
> > model attached to the server? Still debating whether to use the LTSP
> > server as a gateway or not.
> >
> > Thanks in advance for any tips,
> >
> > Nils Breunese.
> >
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> >
> >

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