Just wanted to let you all know that I'll be losing all of my labs in the next few months. My workplace isn't giving me enough of a budget to properly maintain 400 workstations, so I've been left with no choice but to go to a thin-client architecture. Thin clients aren't their own installation of f@h, so as far as a bunch of workstations, this is a total loss of f@h capability for me.
(Don't freak out)
In a thin client architecture, you have several dummy terminals logged into a single master machine. Windows XP only allows 15 concurrent users on a single master machine, and we have to stay on Windows XP for the kiddies. (Maybe next summer we'll look at Vista... That means that for every lab I lose (30 machines) I need two master machines that 15 workstations will be logged into.
And those master machines have to be beasts. So I'm losing 15 workstations at 1-1.5Ghz with about 512MB 333 or 400mhz RAM that were turned on weekdays from 7:30am-4:00pm. (42.5 hours/week) I'm gaining a monster server that I can keep on 24/7 (168 hours/week). I've been pricing out machines, and my main candidate right now is an IBM x3550 - 2 dual-core 3Ghz Xeons and 4GB 667mhz memory.
Here's where I could use some advice. This 15-thin-client-to-server setup is cheaper to purchase and maintain than getting 15 Dell workstations, so that's why I'm doing the thin-client thing. But keeping in mind that I'm going to have at least 6 (probably 10) of these 15-thin-client-to-server setups (3, maybe 5 labs), is it cheaper still to go with a blade setup? My thinking is: I have to support 6 15-machine subgroups with 6 x3550's. Or if I can do it for the same price, I'd much prefer to do 9 10-machine subgroups.
Does anyone have any experience with the bladecenters? I'm thinking of performance here. I'm posting here thinking that the better performance for the same $ I can give my workstations, the better the f@h numbers will be as well.
So, how about it? My primary goal is to get as much computing power to the workstations for a given price
, knowing that I'm going to be limited to 15 concurrent logons per master server. Although my concern is with giving good service to the workstations, in the back of my mind the f@h potential is there too... :bigggrin: Since I think both goals depend on the same output from the situation, I don't feel that there's any conflict of interest here...
This is my first experience with the thin client architecture, besides little tests I've been doing over the last 2 months with workstations linked to other workstations. Any advice / ideas / expirience would help me (and the ppd) out a lot.
Oh, and just FYI, the cheapest Dimension workstations you can get from Dell right now are about $500, which makes the cost of a 30-machine lab $15,000. Thin clients are $300 each, which means I need at least 2 servers for less than $6000
to beat the purchase cost of an entire lab. The maintenance costs speak for themselves - 30 public workstations vs. 2 secured servers... If you extrapolate that out for an entire campus, let's say a high school with 3 labs, that means I've got to stay under $18,000 and get at least 6 servers out of it. (that's why I'm looking into a shared-infrastructure platform like the blades...)