Ask AFP548 September 18, 2005 at 9:02 pm

1:1 Laptop Program Server Infrastructure

I am part of a team designing the infrastructure for a 1:1 Laptop Program. We will have roughly 1,000 users, four different buildings, and mobile home directories. In addition, we will have several graphic labs (G5’s), lit labs (eMacs), and libraries (iMacs). Lastly, we will also have several labs of windoze machines for business apps.

Originally, we were looking to one Dual G5 X-server loaded with memory to serve as an Open Directory Master to manage desktops, laptops, and host the users’ home folders. Recently, we were advised to explore adding replica servers to lessen the load on the single box.

Are we expecting too much out of a single machine?
How many additional replicas should we add for 1,000 users?
Is there a guideline – for example – 100 users per replica?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

No Comments

  • Well, according to John De Troye, one single server should support 1000 users,
    but I would get a replica. In a 1000 users 1-to-1 deployment the servers really
    don’t add to much to the cost… so I would get 3 servers at least, and an Xserve
    RAID. One Xserve for OD, and network services, one for files and OD replica and
    another one for mail.

  • I worked in the past on two projects of similar scale, as an SE for an Apple
    Specialist. These are usually resellers that can help you with the day-to-day,
    week-to-week administration tasks and projects that Apple SE may be too
    expensive for (last time I checked, Apple SE time came in 8-hour blocks only,
    at a fairly high rate).

    During the projects I mention above, I worked with an Apple SE during the
    project management and deployment phases (they had a broader range of
    resources and experience than I), and did support through the Specialist
    outfit for about 2 years afterwards. My impression was that the clients really
    liked this arrangment, and gave good marks to both the Apple Specialist and
    the Apple SE(s).

    Apple Specialists tend to be very good and fine-tuned support of this kind,
    and in combo with the Apple SE folks you get a nice package.

    Of course I don’t know if you have both at your disposal in your location.

    blake irvin (blake at clockworm . com)

    systems engineer, tribune review publishing company

  • I currently have Mac and Windows users with Home directories all on my OD
    server with no OD backups yet. (I’m working on that issue though) I have a direct
    attached XServe Raid for storage.
    I have been pleasantly surprised with what my server can handle. I have had 180
    + users working on the server at the same time and the server was at about 30
    to 35% load. Even a few peaks only went up to 60% for only a few
    seconds at a time. I’m expecting I will top 200 simultaneous users pretty soon
    but I don’t expect the processor usage to change much. But I will keep an eye on

  • We have a 1 to 1 with over 2000 students and over 100 teachers. We have 2 g-5s as authentication and replication servers. We had these on campus already and loaded them with ram. We added two x-serves which are attached to a 3.5 tb raid for student home folders and storage. Both are attached to the raid and the raid is split so each x-serve feeds half. Each half is partitioned raid 5 with online spare. Each of the x-serves is also fully loaded with 8 gigs of ram. This helped when we were imageing from these servers. Besides the fiber channel card in your servers, get the video card installed. We have since added another x-serve for teacher drop boxes and teacher home folders.

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