[K12OSN] Which option do you recommend for increased servercapability?

moon moon at smbis.com
Sun Dec 7 20:23:14 UTC 2008

I've been buying Dell Powerconnect 3024 switches off ebay for ~$50 a piece.
These switches are managed, 24-port 10/100 with 2-port Gig copper or fiber
uplink ports and are equivalent to Cisco or Nortel top shelf wiring closet
L2 switches. 

I would also highly recommend spending a few extra bucks up front and get a
low end server solution (use savings from the lower cost switch to offset).

Here is a quick quote I built on ebay:

Qty.	Product Description					Total Price

1 	CHENBRO SR10568-AL Pedestal Server Case          $89.99
1 	OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS 500W Pwr Supply     $54.99
1 	ASUS P5BV-C LGA 775 Intel 3200 ATX Server MB    $144.99
1 	Intel Xeon E3110 Wolfdale 3.0GHz Dual-Core Proc $174.99
1 	G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 SDRAM    $109.99
1 	LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE           $19.99
                                       Subtotal:      $594.94 

Less S&H of course...

-----Original Message-----
From: Joseph Bishay [mailto:joseph.bishay at gmail.com] 
Sent: Sunday, December 07, 2008 02:48 PM
To: Support list for open source software in schools.
Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Which option do you recommend for increased


Robert you are correct -- I made a mistake I believe.  The motherboard
has 4 slots for memory.  Each of the slots has a 512 MB stick, giving
you the 2 GB.

To clarify about the Gigabit NICS - there are 3 of them, one on-board, 2

Thank you.


On Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 2:43 PM, Robert Arkiletian <robark at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 10:05 AM, Joseph Bishay <joseph.bishay at gmail.com>
>> Hello,
>> I hope everyone is doing well.
>> For those following at home, over the past few years I've been running
>> a k12LTSP server hosting 12 thin clients.  It's had its fair share of
>> ups and downs and been a tremendous learning curve.
>> There is now an opportunity to expand the role of the server from just
>> the computer lab it is in to other computers in the building.  We're
>> looking to get the classrooms wired up and take some of the existing
>> really old Windows machines and turn them into thin clients running
>> off the server.
>> Now the audience I'm dealing with is not remotely tech-savvy, and
>> first impressions count.  I estimate that we'll be going from 12
>> clients on one 100 MB unmanaged switch to maybe 20 clients through 2
>> switches or so.
>> The clients range from Pentium I all the way up to Pentium II as they
>> are all machines donated to the Church (I drew the line at the two 486
>> machines!).  Average RAM on the machines is 64 MB.
>> The server is an ASUS p4p800 running a 3 GHz Pentium 4 CPU and has 2
>> GB of RAM.  The server has two 37 GB SCSI Cheetah drives in RAID 1 off
>> a hardware RAID controller.  It has 2 Gigabit network cards plus the
>> onboard gigabit NIC (I turned it off because initially when I first
>> installed Linux the onboard one wasn't recognized but modern versions
>> do recognize it).
>> Whenever the system runs slow, the criticism is that it is Linux that
>> is slow, and if we had Windows it would be faster.  I, of course, know
>> this is not the case, but this is the perception so I want to make
>> sure it works perfectly when we do the switch.
>> As I am going to be increasing the load on the server, I thought of a
>> number of options that I wanted your recommendations on.
>> 1) Increase server ram to 4 GB
>> This one is probably the most expensive options since we've got 2x1GB
>> sticks in the motherboard so I can't just purchase 2 more GB, I'd have
>> to pull them out and buy 4 new ones.
> I'm confused. Your MB has 4 slots. 2 are currently occupied. Why can't
> you buy 2 more and populate the other 2 slots. Providing you buy
> compatible ram to the existing ram.
> Not sure but that MB/cpu probably doesn't support PAE (Physical
> Address Extension). So even if you put in 4GB the board may only see
> 3.6GB or a bit less. Not sure if your cpu will support 64 bit OS.
> that mb only has pci and an agp. I'm assuming your gigabit nics are in
> pci slots. There is no point bonding them as the pci bus bandwidth
> will barely support 1 gigabit nic.
> You will definitely benefit from gbit uplink port on a switch
> However, once you get to about 20 clients 4 gb ram is probably okay
> but your single cpu may suffer. I would recommend upgrading the
> motherboard and cpu. Dual core cpus are so cheap now (under $100) Get
> a quad core if you can. But I don't think your mb can handle dual/quad
> core cpu so you will have upgrade the mb too (another $100) and then
> your old ram is probably ddr not ddr2. So new ddr2 ram (another ~
> $150)
> Your scsi drives+controller are good though, keep those.
> One m
>> 2) Overclock the ASUS P4P800 motherboard
>> The comments about this motherboard are such that overclocking it is a
>> 'feature' so to speak.  All overclocking I've ever seen talked about
>> is in Windows so I don't know how Linux would be affected, if at all,
>> nor would overclocking made a difference to help the load.
>> 3) Replace the 100 MB switch with a gigabit switch
>> The server already has gigabit cards.  Many of the thin clients have
>> gigabit cards that I bought and installed.  The bottleneck currently
>> is the switch.  I saw this 24 port gigabit switch ( DGS 1024D
>> http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=338) from D-Link for $200.  I
>> imagine that this would significantly improve the performance of
>> everything.
>> 4) Bond the server's two gigabit NICs into the switch from #3
>> I suppose that would increase the output of the server even more.  Or,
>> as another option, split the Church into two halves, each half coming
>> through one of the two gigabit NICs  (the third onboard NIC would then
>> be for the Internet).
>> 5) ?? Other options I did not consider?
>> What do you think?
>> Thank you
>> Joseph
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> --
> Robert Arkiletian
> Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada
> Fl_TeacherTool http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/Fl_TeacherTool/
> C++ GUI tutorial http://www3.telus.net/public/robark/
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