[K12OSN] New Building's LTSP Server

Jeff Siddall news at siddall.name
Thu May 5 19:58:51 UTC 2011

On 05/05/2011 03:17 PM, Julius Szelagiewicz wrote:
> On Thu, 5 May 2011, Jeff Siddall wrote:
>> On 05/05/2011 12:27 PM, Julius Szelagiewicz wrote:
>>> Joe, you are mistaken. I'm about to build some fax servers (don't ask) and
>>> I'm looking at $199.00 servers. For example:
>>> http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=DL380-XEON3200X2-4R&cat=SVR
>>> There's a lot of good cheap hardware out there. If I were to make one of
>>> those baies into an LTSP server, I'd add a SATA controller and external
>>> SATA drives. YMMV.
>> I would say there is a lot of cheap hardware out there but I would argue
>> it is not good.
>> That $199 server has CPUs that perform about the same as an Atom 330 so
>> using that is like deploying an LTSP server on a netbook!
>> A decent _new_ desktop system has more than 10X the performance, more
>> than 10X the storage and likely 4X the RAM of that server.  Getting a
>> server that can keep up with that performance will cost $$$ thousands.
> I'd say you are overly optimistic on the capabilities of Atom processors.

Admittedly that was a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.  An Atom 330
is 80% as fast as a Xeon 3.2 according to PassMark.  It wouldn't take
much to grind both of those CPUs to a halt.

> The $199.00 server has 2 3.2GHz Xeons and 4GB ram. It also has excellent
> HP smartArray controller and 6 SCSI drives and 2 1GB server class NICs. I
> can see how you can get 10 times the performance in a desktop system, but
> it seems to run into multiple thousands of dollars, without ECC memory,
> without redundant power supplies, without good array controllers, without
> SCSI drives ...

The disk subsystem is by far the best thing about this server.  For
random IO it is hard to beat a big array of high RPM drives.  The other
replies about using a machine like this as a file server are worth
considering, although ultimately NFS will become the bottleneck there.

> I'd look for a refurb 4 processor server, either Xeon or AMD 64bit, put
> 12GB ECC memory in it, add SATA controller and drives for big slower
> storage and let her rip. Desktop systems are just that, desktop. Servers
> behave better under load and tend to last better. My $0.02

Sure, a server with 12 GB ECC RAM and 4 processors much newer than the 7
year old Xeons would be great.  My point was simply that a modern
desktop could support oodles more clients than this server, and may not
be significantly less reliable.

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