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Old 12-26-2007, 08:29 PM
Uwe Geercken
 
Default Edubuntu Server

hello friends,

our school has a new computer room with a lot of windows pc's. after a
lot of talking and patience, I can now move in and use it for my linux
courses for the kids of 7th/8th class.

we have been working for nearly a year in a seperate classroom with
lowend hardware, but now we can buy a good machine, place it in the
computerroom and boot all clients from this edubuntu server. this is
all tested with an old computer and works. I can now order the
components for a new computer, but wanted to ask you for your input:

I know that the main components like lan, harddisk, ram and prozessor
are important for the speed of the overall system. but I wonder if a
quad-core system will give me superior performance. is edubuntu using
the full power of such a prozessor and is this an optimal choice for
serving aroung 10 pc's? or would it be better to use a dual core at a
higher speed?

I planned for following system:
Intel Core 2 Quad 2,44 GHz
4 GB RAM
Gigabit LAN
Nvidia 8500 GT Grafic Card
500 GB Samsung Disc
Gigabyte Mainboard

thansk for any help or recommendation you can give. I plan to document
everything very extensively, so that others might learn from this case.

rgds,

uwe


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Old 12-27-2007, 02:09 AM
Jeremy Visser
 
Default Edubuntu Server

On Wed, 2007-12-26 at 22:29 +0100, Uwe Geercken wrote:
> is edubuntu using
> the full power of such a prozessor and is this an optimal choice for
> serving aroung 10 pc's? or would it be better to use a dual core at a
> higher speed?
>
> Intel Core 2 Quad 2,44 GHz

For an LTSP system, more cores are better than more MHz.


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Old 12-27-2007, 11:16 AM
Gavin McCullagh
 
Default Edubuntu Server

Hi,

On Wed, 26 Dec 2007, Uwe Geercken wrote:

> I know that the main components like lan, harddisk, ram and prozessor
> are important for the speed of the overall system. but I wonder if a
> quad-core system will give me superior performance. is edubuntu using
> the full power of such a prozessor and is this an optimal choice for
> serving aroung 10 pc's? or would it be better to use a dual core at a
> higher speed?

The faster processor would have the ability to finish single tasks quicker
(eg encoding a video sequence). Multiple cores will usually give you more
cpu power overall but that power must be split up over different processes
or threads. As you will have multiple desktop users running lots of
processes, multiple cores will probably be more useful. Linux (including
edubuntu) has pretty good support for multiple cpus/cores.

> I planned for following system:
> Intel Core 2 Quad 2,44 GHz
> 4 GB RAM
> Gigabit LAN
> Nvidia 8500 GT Grafic Card
> 500 GB Samsung Disc
> Gigabyte Mainboard

If you're going to leave the server aside and have people log in to thin
clients exclusively (this is not a bad idea in general), that video card
will be a waste of money as it will not be used -- you might as well just
get a €30 one or use the on-board. You will probably need to use a
proprietary driver (generally not recommended) to get anything more than
basic performance from it¹. Unless you have a good reason to want it, I
would not recommend buying that card for a linux system.

My other suggestion would be to consider buying two disks and using RAID1.
This should mean that in the event of a disk failure, your system will
continue to work while you source a replacement disk. Otherwise, the
entire system goes down until you replace the disk, reinstall and recover
from backups (several hours work at minimum). You could either get a SATA
RAID controller for this, or just use linux's in-built software RAID.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID_1#RAID_1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID

Gavin

¹ This is true of the high end cards from both ATI and NVidia. The
situation is improving with ATI now as they have published specs to help
write free drivers. These drivers are in development though so aren't in
Ubuntu just yet. If you really need a flashy video card, I'd prefer ATI
over NVidia.



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Old 12-27-2007, 11:23 AM
 
Default Edubuntu Server

Thanks for your email. I'll be away on leave until 7th Jan.
Have a safe and happy Christmas

Rob Shugg



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Old 12-27-2007, 12:40 PM
Uwe Geercken
 
Default Edubuntu Server

hello gavin,

you are a source of good information as always. tks. for your feedback.

actually I do not need a grafic card on the server but I though it
would be good to have a cheap basic one, just in case I would want to
work on the server or use an attached beamer or so.

to your other point. can you recommend a brand of raid controllers
that will work fine? what about the disk. any basic recommendations
for it (brand/size)?


thanks a lot.

uwe


Quoting Gavin McCullagh <gmccullagh@gmail.com>:

> Hi,
>
> On Wed, 26 Dec 2007, Uwe Geercken wrote:
>
>> I know that the main components like lan, harddisk, ram and prozessor
>> are important for the speed of the overall system. but I wonder if a
>> quad-core system will give me superior performance. is edubuntu using
>> the full power of such a prozessor and is this an optimal choice for
>> serving aroung 10 pc's? or would it be better to use a dual core at a
>> higher speed?
>
> The faster processor would have the ability to finish single tasks quicker
> (eg encoding a video sequence). Multiple cores will usually give you more
> cpu power overall but that power must be split up over different processes
> or threads. As you will have multiple desktop users running lots of
> processes, multiple cores will probably be more useful. Linux (including
> edubuntu) has pretty good support for multiple cpus/cores.
>
>> I planned for following system:
>> Intel Core 2 Quad 2,44 GHz
>> 4 GB RAM
>> Gigabit LAN
>> Nvidia 8500 GT Grafic Card
>> 500 GB Samsung Disc
>> Gigabyte Mainboard
>
> If you're going to leave the server aside and have people log in to thin
> clients exclusively (this is not a bad idea in general), that video card
> will be a waste of money as it will not be used -- you might as well just
> get a €30 one or use the on-board. You will probably need to use a
> proprietary driver (generally not recommended) to get anything more than
> basic performance from it¹. Unless you have a good reason to want it, I
> would not recommend buying that card for a linux system.
>
> My other suggestion would be to consider buying two disks and using RAID1.
> This should mean that in the event of a disk failure, your system will
> continue to work while you source a replacement disk. Otherwise, the
> entire system goes down until you replace the disk, reinstall and recover
> from backups (several hours work at minimum). You could either get a SATA
> RAID controller for this, or just use linux's in-built software RAID.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID_1#RAID_1
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
>
> Gavin
>
> ¹ This is true of the high end cards from both ATI and NVidia. The
> situation is improving with ATI now as they have published specs to help
> write free drivers. These drivers are in development though so aren't in
> Ubuntu just yet. If you really need a flashy video card, I'd prefer ATI
> over NVidia.
>
>
>
> --
> edubuntu-users mailing list
> edubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/edubuntu-users
>




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Old 12-27-2007, 01:58 PM
Gavin McCullagh
 
Default Edubuntu Server

Hi,

On Thu, 27 Dec 2007, Uwe Geercken wrote:

> actually I do not need a grafic card on the server but I though it
> would be good to have a cheap basic one, just in case I would want to
> work on the server or use an attached beamer or so.

You definitely need _a_ graphic card, I just don't think you need an
expensive one -- particularly not if it's going to require you to run a
proprietary driver. I imagine there may be a basic one built-in on the
motherboard but perhaps not.

The first review I found of that card suggested it was 300 which seems a
lot. On reflection, I can now see cards by that name for 30 so I'm not
clear where that came from :-)

> to your other point. can you recommend a brand of raid controllers
> that will work fine? what about the disk. any basic recommendations
> for it (brand/size)?

These are worth a read:

http://linux-ata.org/faq-sata-raid.html
http://linas.org/linux/raid.html
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Gentoo_Install_on_Software_RAID
http://ashtech.net/~syntax/blog/archives/53-Data-Scrub-with-Linux-RAID-or-Die.html

Personally, I mostly use linux's software raid (also called md). Compared
with a cheap RAID controller, I'd say you'd be better off with md.
However, a good hardware RAID controller which

- has battery backed buffers (little RAM modules and a watch battery) on
it
- has proper monitoring tools on linux so it can tell you when a disk
fails

is probably better. This may not be cheap though. I'm not up-to-date
enough to recommend a controller I'm afraid. There is some debate over
whether hardware or software raid are more reliable. I doubt performance
will be an issue with 10 machines.

http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/008696.html

Gavin


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Old 12-27-2007, 02:04 PM
 
Default Edubuntu Server

Thanks for your email. I'll be away on leave until 7th Jan.
Have a safe and happy Christmas

Rob Shugg



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Old 01-09-2008, 02:04 PM
Uwe Geercken
 
Default Edubuntu Server

Gavin,

Iam very excited, as I got the go-ahead and have ordered the parts
for the server for our local school.

I selected a simple graphics card, which I assume is enough. I checked
the ubuntuusers.de hardware list, where it appeared to work properly.

I hope all arrives this week, so I can spend the weekend to put
everything together and document it as I promised.

btw: is anybody interested to get a documentation/tutorial from A to
Z? so screenprints, list of parts, setup, etc.

the other thing I thought about was to install the 64bit version of
edubuntu on the server. would that be something you recommend to get
additional performance out of the system. or - taking possible
problems - would it be better to stay with 32 bit? would there be a
limitation on the client side, if I have a 64 bit server running?

rgds,

uwe




Quoting Gavin McCullagh <gmccullagh@gmail.com>:

> Hi,
>
> On Thu, 27 Dec 2007, Uwe Geercken wrote:
>
>> actually I do not need a grafic card on the server but I though it
>> would be good to have a cheap basic one, just in case I would want to
>> work on the server or use an attached beamer or so.
>
> You definitely need _a_ graphic card, I just don't think you need an
> expensive one -- particularly not if it's going to require you to run a
> proprietary driver. I imagine there may be a basic one built-in on the
> motherboard but perhaps not.
>
> The first review I found of that card suggested it was 300 which seems a
> lot. On reflection, I can now see cards by that name for 30 so I'm not
> clear where that came from :-)
>
>> to your other point. can you recommend a brand of raid controllers
>> that will work fine? what about the disk. any basic recommendations
>> for it (brand/size)?
>
> These are worth a read:
>
> http://linux-ata.org/faq-sata-raid.html
> http://linas.org/linux/raid.html
> http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Gentoo_Install_on_Software_RAID
> http://ashtech.net/~syntax/blog/archives/53-Data-Scrub-with-Linux-RAID-or-Die.html
>
> Personally, I mostly use linux's software raid (also called md). Compared
> with a cheap RAID controller, I'd say you'd be better off with md.
> However, a good hardware RAID controller which
>
> - has battery backed buffers (little RAM modules and a watch battery) on
> it
> - has proper monitoring tools on linux so it can tell you when a disk
> fails
>
> is probably better. This may not be cheap though. I'm not up-to-date
> enough to recommend a controller I'm afraid. There is some debate over
> whether hardware or software raid are more reliable. I doubt performance
> will be an issue with 10 machines.
>
> http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/008696.html
>
> Gavin
>
>
> --
> edubuntu-users mailing list
> edubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/edubuntu-users
>




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Old 01-09-2008, 02:36 PM
"Charles Austin"
 
Default Edubuntu Server

On Jan 9, 2008 10:04 AM, Uwe Geercken <uwe.geercken@datamelt.com> wrote:

the other thing I thought about was to install the 64bit version of
edubuntu on the server. would that be something you recommend to get
additional performance out of the system. or - taking possible
problems - would it be better to stay with 32 bit? would there be a

limitation on the client side, if I have a 64 bit server running?

64 bit worked great for me, but you need to build a i386 image for clients that do not have 64 bit processors:

sudo ltsp-build-image --arch=i386


Obviously, any config changes you made to the ltsp root need to be made in the i386 root as well.

I ended up with i386 on my server because the drivers for a newer Dell printer were not available for amd64 architecture.


Charles

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Old 01-09-2008, 02:45 PM
Gavin McCullagh
 
Default Edubuntu Server

Hi,

On Wed, 09 Jan 2008, Uwe Geercken wrote:

> Iam very excited, as I got the go-ahead and have ordered the parts
> for the server for our local school.

Congratulations.

> btw: is anybody interested to get a documentation/tutorial from A to
> Z? so screenprints, list of parts, setup, etc.

I daresay that would be useful alright.

> the other thing I thought about was to install the 64bit version of
> edubuntu on the server. would that be something you recommend to get
> additional performance out of the system. or - taking possible
> problems - would it be better to stay with 32 bit? would there be a
> limitation on the client side, if I have a 64 bit server running?

Opinions vary but for me, I'd go with 32-bit edubuntu on 64-bit hardware
for now. My reasons include:

- Adobe flash plugin is only available on 32-bit (yes you can maybe get it
working on 64-bit using 32-bit firefox but it's very messy). Gnash only
sort of works now.
- Java only seems to be packaged well on 32-bit (I'm running gutsy 64-bit
and there's no Sun Java Plugin, though there is the gcj one)
- Any other proprietary software you need may be quite awkward on 64-bit
(hardware RAID reporting software, ...?)
- You will need to build a 32-bit chroot environment for the thin clients,
though that's not a big deal.
- 32-bit is better tested in general. Not to say that 64-bit is untested
by any means, but 32-bit is still what most people use.

As I say, I'm using a 64-bit desktop myself, but I'm not sure I'd give it
to a school full of non-technical people. You can if you need to install
the 32-bit -server- kernel which will give you use of the extra memory
above 4GB.

Later on, when 64-bit is less of a minority thing and you have free time
you can reinstall with the 64-bit version.

I guess you could call this the conservative view of things.

Gavin


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