running edubuntu as a virtual server

Daniel Hunt daniel.hunt at
Thu Mar 6 16:19:34 GMT 2008

Something funny going on with the reply-to's here I think.

At the moment, the school I'm involved with has a 10/100 network in place
that I inherited, and I've finally convinced the powers-that-be that a new
networking arrangement needs to be found if they want to allow the school's
networking capabilities to grow in a manageable fashion.
Unfortunately, that may well mean that I'll be drafting in a few friends to
help with recabling the school, and running ethernet cables up and down the
fake-ceilings. Hopefully we won't have to go that far though :)

I'm happy in my understanding that in order to go ahead with an LTSP
network, a gigabit backbone is a requirement, not an optional extra. Or at
least, in order to have any form of acceptable performance its a
There are currently ~50 machines on the network in the 2 computer labs in
the school, plus a few extra ones dotted around the school - totally approx
60-65 machines. Whatever solution I put in place has absolutely got to scale
above 100, and possibly even up to 120-130, to allow for future growth.

Its for these reasons that I've been looking at the _INCREDIBLY_ over
powered server. As far as scalability goes, I'm more than confident that a
machine of this spec will be able to serve the network well enough for the
next few years at the least. Virtualising for a network containing this many
machines just doesn't feel right to me.

About the Dell pricing - the price for the server I listed is approx 7000e,
which, while expensive, is certainly within the realms of possibilities when
you consider exactly what it is that will be happening to the school from a
technological perspective. I intend to replace absolutely every machine that
they have with thin clients (hopefully mounted on the backs of some suitable
TFT monitors) - it will drastically reduce the running costs of the existing
labs, completely eliminate licencing costs and allow for much cheaper
scalability options.

Well, thats the sales pitch I'm going for with them ;)


On Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 4:10 PM, Madzsar, Andrew <amadzsar at>

>  As of now we have 10/100 in place throughout the building.  Ideally this
> grant will allow us to put in a gigabit backbone, a new server, and my boss
> wants 45 clients.
> If I have it my way we will buy an Xserve and a raid solution which if
> virtualized can be used by the whole school rather than just the thin
> clients.
> I just read your blog.  There is a section on Dell's website where they
> sell servers without an operating system.  I think you may have to go to the
> small business section.  Also your server specs are out of this world.  I
> mean I would love to get my hands on it, but it sounds very expensive.  How
> many clients do you want to support?  Now I don't have any experience with
> this, but I would imagine that multiple slower servers would be better than
> one really fast one.  I don't know how well it works but according to the
> manuals you can set up multiple thin client server that synchronize files
> and also do load balancing with the clients connecting to them.  Also this
> way you have redundancy and don't have to worry if something goes down.
> The two issues that I already see being a problem with my adventure are
> that there is already a dhcp server in place on a windows server for the
> whole district.  I will need to figure out how to point the thin client boot
> requests to the linux server.  My 'little network' won't actually be
> separate from the network that is in place because not all of the thin
> clients will be in the same room.   Also I am not sure that a virtualized
> server (an affordable one) can handle that kind of a thin client load
> Though it looks like the server you have spec-ed out could...
> Let me know what you think.
> Thanks,
>    Andrew
>  ------------------------------
> *From:* Daniel Hunt [mailto:daniel.hunt at]
> *Sent:* Thursday, March 06, 2008 10:53 AM
> *To:* Madzsar, Andrew
> *Subject:* Re: running edubuntu as a virtual server
> Funnily enough, I'm intended to do a similar thing, albeit with a real
> server, not a virtual one:
> I'd be quite interested to hear how you intend to go about setting up your
> little network :)
> Daniel
> On Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 3:47 PM, Madzsar, Andrew <
> amadzsar at> wrote:
> We just received a grant which will allow us to buy around 45 thin clients
> + a server.  Has anyone ever run Edubuntu as a virtualized server?  This
> school does not usually get new hardware, so if I can get a new xserve and
> (hopefully soon) run vmware or parallels virtual server products on it then
> we would be very happy.
> -Andrew
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