[K12OSN] Which option do you recommend for increased server capability?

"Terrell Prudé Jr." microman at cmosnetworks.com
Mon Dec 8 01:19:12 UTC 2008

New server.  Definitely.  If you want to make a good impression, that 
is.  Go for at *least* 64-bit dual core, and preferably quad core.  New 
motherboards that support this very often have twin Gig-E ports that you 
can channel-bond.

4GB is your minimum DRAM, and if you can do 6GB, then I'd go for it.  
The reason is file caching.  You don't want to touch the hard disk any 
more than you have to.

Also, I second (or third?) the Gig-E direction you're getting.  Gotta do 
it.  And most definitely get a switch with at least two Gig-E ports, 
preferably one that supports channel-bonding.

**Make sure your wiring is good Cat 5 or better!**

Note:  all of this will be significantly less money than getting new 
PC's preloaded with Windows Vista.

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Joseph Bishay wrote:
> 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.
> 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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