In a pickle

  • kc0tma
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A while back, at my work I migrated the application and database that has all the gradebook stuff for the school from my server to the server belonging to the company that develops and supports the software. I was thinking "Oh cool, less hassle for me!" but now I am kind of regretting it. My network users started getting HTTP 104 messages a little bit ago, so I called my guy there and he says they are experiencing technical difficulties.

So having a hosted software as a service type of thing is great because it makes like easy for us. But when something goes wrong there is nothing we can do and have to sit on our hands and wait for the other guys to fix it. I hate it when things are out of my control like this dammit! Its driving me insane!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • dyfrin
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Grades aren't too important for schools.. they can do that any time.
Now lunch line on the other hand..

We use powerschool so grades/etc all done easily by our server.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

We use Centresis, and everything is back up and running now. That down time was system wide for them, their website was down and everybody who has them host the application were SOL for a couple hours. Its funny because I took that off my own server and moved it to theirs because this server is a piece of junk and doing that was cheaper (free) than buying a new server. So I did the switch because I wanted better availability, and low and behold not even a couple weeks later they have a catastrophy with about 3 hours of downtime. &%^@!%((@#$%^!!!
  • dyfrin
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Do you have a virtual network yet?
For <30k you can have a very nice multi-host + SAN setup that will hold 30 servers or so depending on disk size.

Really for a school it is a big deal.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I was thinking about doing virtualization, but I only have 5 servers total and there are only 300 students and about 30 staff members, so I don't really think I'd be able to take full advantage of it. Having a NAS (as opposed to a SAN) I think I could take advantage of though because my file server is kind of my most critical thing and there is a ton of data on it.
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

haha this reminds me of when I worked for my School District as a student Tech. We have 2 High schools, 3 middle schools and 9 elementary schools. 10,350 students and has 1,400 some employees. All managed by three district techs. Each school has a staff member that manages all the technology in the building but really they are just a person all other staff members report too so the district techs aren't answering phones all day.
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

kc0tma wrote:
I was thinking about doing virtualization, but I only have 5 servers total and there are only 300 students and about 30 staff members, so I don't really think I'd be able to take full advantage of it. Having a NAS (as opposed to a SAN) I think I could take advantage of though because my file server is kind of my most critical thing and there is a ton of data on it.


My suggestion would be to do a file server cluster. I just set one up last week. I used 2008 Server and an iSCSI SAN. You do need two servers to act as nodes but since it is critical this would be a highly recommended solution. The key would be to have the servers in separate locations though.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

grinch, at 1gig network or at 100mb? Not sure he would have 1gig switch ports to maintain the throughput to use a NAS, AND clustering.

kc0,

The SAN could be cheaper with less hard drives, start with 5 of the 12 or whatever (its raid 5 you need a few).

The VM Hosts aren't much cheaper than 6k with vmware, perhaps going microsofts VM way is way cheaper.. 2008 datacenter licenses were super cheap.

In 2004 when I started here we had:
    dc1 was print server too..
    dc2 (other school)
    membr1 dhcp, some apps, and file storage
    membr2 winschool student system, and some apps
    membr4 (other school)
    mail
    tserver1 clustered with tserver2
    tserver2 clustered with tserver1
    backup w/tape

Membr2, tserver1 and 2 were old gateway giant beasts.
Mail was a big dell 1600
Membr1 and backup were 2650's
Dc1 and 2 were 2850's that came that year.
Membr4 is a 2950

In 2005 spent 6k on a 2950 server for powerschool.
That was the last physical server we bought.

In 2006 we bought 2 esx hosts and a SAN.
Spent about 24k on hardware (about 3k in vm support contracts a year).

Since then bought a 3rd esx host and filled the san with disks.
The 3rd esx host just so we could shut down a host and not have to shut down any servers.

Our network today
    Physical:
    dc1
    apps (dc2 box with more ram) for ghost/antivirus/vmware consoles.
    sql (old powerschool box)
    membr1 (now just a repository for all iso/application sources).
    backup (same but faster bigger drives)

    Virtual:
    dc2
    exchange (replaced mail)
    file server (moved all files off of membr1/2 and made its own server)
    print (printers were on dc1 before..)
    powerschool (freed up a nice box for sql)
    library (destiny server)
    6 tservers
    isa (for vpns, was in gateway before on dc2 box but now have ick cipafilter)
    itserver (network management, spiceworks!)
    www (website is now with us, before was with isp..)

    and two play vm's
    ubuntu
    fedora

22 servers now.

When we were spending 3-4k a server thats well over 70k for "new" servers we installed for basically nothing (1 windows server 2003 license = 4 vms, so $40 a server or so).

Our total cost since starting vmware, about 36k.

Very very cost effective in the long run, with the ability to split up the server roles to minimize issues.

The ability to right click a server and SNAPSHOT, mess with it all you want, and go back to when you snapshotted is priceless for any major tampering.. service packs, upgrades etc.

There are special configured dell servers now just for virtualizing I guess.. we haven't tried them though, they are cheaper.

If there is a referendum at all to give you a 20k budget, you can get 2 esx hosts and a SAN to start.

Just some advice!
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That would be 1GB. We run nothing less and are actually looking at upgrading to 10GB throughout the campus :D
  • dyfrin
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Post 3+ Months Ago

grinch2171 wrote:
That would be 1GB. We run nothing less and are actually looking at upgrading to 10GB throughout the campus :D


Watch out for 10g interfaces.
We got bit hard, we implemented nortel switches (8310 and 4548gt-pwr) summer 2008 and the new 10g link from the main building to our elem school kept dropping.

Finger pointing like crazy between the nortel and the phone company that maintains our fiber run (should have dug it ourselves.. but thats another story).
After a week or so of testing this and that, finally Nortel wanted another interface on the 4548 side.
Sent us another interface from a different manufacturer because of unknown compatibilities. We also cannot upgrade our one switch over there to their newest version (and enable vlan routing over there), because of it, or at least that is what Nortel says.

The current system is working and they won't really support us upgrading it. (those 10g cards are expensive...)

Nortel has awesome price for full poe and gig on every port, but the compatibility issues...

Cisco did come in cheaper.. because they wouldn't give us gig and poe ports on every switch, lol.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I had thought about a high availability cluster because I run a linux terminal server (basically just a dhcp server that sends a rinky dink operating system to the thin client, which then establishes an ssh connection back to the server and loads the gui), which doubles as my file server and triples as a print server. I don't really like having so many eggs in one basket like that, but thats how it was when I got here last April and it works pretty well. I'm mainly a gigabit network, but I'm seriously wanting to get at least 3gig or maybe 10gig fiber channel to run from the server room to the labs with the thin clients. Its a pretty bad hit on my network when I have 50+ students logged into the one server through ssh and running a graphical session with open office and stuff. And it doesn't help that the last tech built the whole network as a daisy chain type of thing, so from the server room there is a single cable that goes to a switch in the main office, then from there another cable to the library which has half a dozen thin clients, then from there to the distance learning room, then from there to the elementary computer lab with 25 thin clients, and then lots of cables out to each elementary classroom. There is a LOT of data traveling along that one cable between the office and the server room, and if a rat would chew through it or something that entire half of the building would be offline so there is no fault tolerance. I don't have the funding to get a couple thousand feet of fiber optic and new switches and network cards for the servers though, so I'm just dreaming at this point.
  • dyfrin
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Have you considered attaching a tserver linux box locally to that switch with 802.3ad?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

We are a 100% Cisco shop. I don't handle the Cisco side of things but I do know a 10Gb backbone is in the talks. We run all our own fiber. We are purchasing new chassis for the 6509's so we can eventually support 10GB and we also purchased a few Nexxus 5020's which also support 10GB. So we have the capability I think.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The only cisco gear I have is the little router at my gateway to handle the PPP for my dsl, but I've actually been thinking about 86ing that and my trendnet firewall and replacing it with a watchguard appliance. My switches are mostly 3com super stacker switches, and a few of them have the little expansion slot thingamabobber where I can slip in a fiber transceiver, but to take full advantage of 3gig or 10gig I would need to have fiber NICs on each server. I've pulled some fiber in the past, where we exceded the 300 feet limit of CAT5 and putting up the alvarian radios wasn't totally feasible. (that was pretty fun, it was through a little corridor from the sheriffs office to the court house underneath the highway were steam pipes for boilers ran back and forth about 475 feet distance)

T-server and 802.3ad are new to me, so I'll have to check that out more later.

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