[K12OSN] It's Good to be Back

"Terrell Prudé Jr." microman at cmosnetworks.com
Wed Dec 3 05:54:42 UTC 2008

j.w. thomas wrote:
> I used K12LTSP about five years ago and was active on SEUL and on this 
> mailing list back then.  I moved to a different state (NH), and my 
> association with the school where I installed L12LTSP necessarily ended.
> Last year my new church opened a new school, and this year, I have 
> deployed K12LTSP again.  It's good to be back.

Welcome back.  The more, the merrier.

> Since the pilot is going well so far, I decided to start looking for a 
> permanent ltsp server so we don't have to rely on the AV PC. I found a 
> place to buy some very impressive looking refurbished blade servers 
> for next to nothing, and I'd like a little advice:
> http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?cat=821
> The one I have my eye on is an IBM 1U blade with two 2.4GHz Opterons, 
> 4G RAM, and a single 73G Ultra320 SCSI drive:
> http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=E326-R&cat=SYS

Actually, I'd be looking at some of those no-names.  Monarch used to 
make a good server before they finally bit the economic dust.  Just 
about all of the no-names are going to use standard 
components--Tyan/Supermicro motherboards, Maxtor/WesternDigital/Seagate 
hard disks, and so on.  The "tier 1" manufacturers roll their own mobos, 
and thus their boxes can be a royal PITA to upgrade down the road.  
Monarch boxes, for example, use Tyan mobos, as do those from Penguin 

Don't worry so much about CPU clock speed.  The bigger deal is DRAM.  
For your projected load, any CPU's that are 1.6GHz or faster are going 
to do a mighty fine job.  I did it with dual 1.47GHz Athlon MP's several 
years ago for 25 seats.  But I did it with 4GB DRAM!

> I could go with a bigger drive if I went with a no-name blade, and it 
> would be SATA instead of SCSI.  SATA is nice because I can get more 
> capacity cheap, but SCSI just seems so much better.  

SCSI is definitely better.  But you will pay for that, big time.  I've 
found SATA to be quite a good compromise between bucks/GB and 
performance, so SATA would be my recommendation.  Now, if it were PATA 
vs SCSI, then I'd say SCSI all the way.

> And with only 7 students in our whole school, I'm thinking 73G will 
> last a long time.

Heh...Famous Last Words....

As anybody who has ever had a hard disk will tell you, space fills very 
quickly.  :-)

> So what would you do?  Go for a no-name with more HD capacity and a 
> cheap upgrade route, or go with IBM+SCSI knowing that adding more 
> storage later is going to cost some major bux?

I'd go w/ the no-name and get a good-sized SATA disk.

> I'm also looking at one of these to replace my smoked client:
> http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=SAMBA845V-24-4-R&cat=SYS

Hey...for the money, that ain't too bad.  Matter of fact, that looks 
pretty good.  It's about as overkill for an LTSP client as a Dodge Viper 
on a city street...but it certainly would work well in that role!  And 
no, I wouldn't turn down the Viper, either.

> Has anyone dealt with geeks.com before?  Should I be afraid that their 
> offers too good to be true?  (They... they seem like they might be.)

Never even heard of them before, but there are lots of companies selling 
refurb'ed product nowadays.  To protect yourself, use a credit card so 
that if things go bad and you can't get a good resolution, you can issue 
that good ol' chargeback.  It is remarkably effective.


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