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Alakesh

I need to re-setup the Computer Lab for the school that I currently work in

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hello.

 

Please help me. I'am a newbie here and the following is to give you a picture of what i have and what i need.

 

# I need to re-setup the Computer Lab for the school that I currently work in. Following are the user requirements:

 

1. A total of 100 students will sit in a single session.
2. They will use Windows based applications such as MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Scratch, Python, Photoshop, Flash Professional, MySQL, XAMPP (for PHP, HTML) and are learning Linux (Ubuntu/LUbuntu).
3. They will have their own user ID's and can log in anytime (during school hours).
4. They can store their files in a centrally accessible location which will be monitored (Shared D:\ or E:\)
5. They can insert their own pendrives, Headphones/mic etc. (will be supervised)
6. They can use the internet (supervised).

 

# Following is the current configuration of the lab:

 

1. HP Proliant ML 10 Gen9 tower with the following config (Xeon E3-1225 v5, 3.3GHz ; HPE 2x8GB DDR4 2133 ECC ; 1TB WD HDD ; INTEL I219-LM Ethernet ; 300W PSU ; proprietary Motherboard)
2. 27 NComputing L300 thin clients.
3. Windows Server 2012 R2 with "NComputing VSpace Pro" (proprietary software for running the thin clients) installed. 
4. 01 D-Link DES-1024C 24-Port 10/100Mbps Unmanaged Ethernet Switch + 01 D-Link DGS-1016A 16-Port Gigabit Unmanaged Switch.

 

# Problems with the current config:

 

1. Server shows >=67% CPU utilization and >=87% RAM utilization when MS Word is used in all 27 clients (but all clients are slow as hell).
2. Cannot run Photoshop or Flash Pro in more than 7 clients. (entire server slows down)
3. I personally dislike Server 2012 R2 and need to upgrade to 2016.
4. I prefer the NComputing thin clients (zero clients, low latency, available USB and 3.5mm jacks for students) but dislike the NComputing VSpace Pro software that is needed to run those clients.
5. Proprietary hardware restricts upgradability.
6. Need to upgrade from 27 student capacity to 100 student capacity.
7. Cannot run Google Chrome in all 27 computers. (Server + clients hangs and needs reboot)

 

# Help needed in:

 

1. I need to setup a server that can accomodate 100 students using shared desktop thin clients / VM's. So what kind / how powerful of a server do I need?
2. Instead of sharing desktops using thin clients, can I deploy VM's so that each student can have their own computer. Also, since some of them are using Linux, would it be better if they had full-fledged linux VMs instead of using linux shell in windows?
3. Let's say that I choose to use desktop sharing, can any one recommend me good and low priced thin clients that uses Windows RDP instead of proprietary software for running the thin clients, also the minimum spec for a server that can run the 100 thin clients.
4. If I need to run say 40 Ubuntu VM's, what will be the recommended spec for the server that is capable to do so? Also, what kind of client setup do I need? Will the thin clients suffice?
5. Can i get any server config that can run the aforesaid VM's in under Rs. 200000/- ($2880 USD) which is the PO limit given to me by the school.
6. Also, are the D-Link switches sufficient or do I need to upgrade them.
7. Please consider this, as i live in India (and that too, in Jorhat, Assam), does Dell or HP or any company supply a prebuilt server (along the lines of the specs that you are recommending) or do I need to import parts? (As I need to consider transport charges).

 

Again, please help me. Any help is appreciated.

 

With Regards

Alakesh

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22 minutes ago, Alakesh said:

HP Proliant ML 10 Gen9

Does that server only have a single socket in it?

for that many clients it should be like a 4 way or way system if you don't want it to slow down

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Am I reading that correctly, your server only has 16GB for 100 concurrent sessions? At bare minimum for a VM running Windows 10 that will use the office suite, should be 3GB. 3GB x 100 concurrent sessions = 300GB. 

 

Your CPU might be at 67% in terms of frequency but I promise it is as 100% interupts, each VM should have 2 cores and you do not count hyper-threads as cores. If those 100 users are truly going to sign in all at once, I would aim for 100 cores available.

 

So you're looking at 100 cores and ~300GB of RAM for a decent user experience. This is usually achieved by buying multiple servers and creating a cluster. 4x nodes with 24 cores and 96GB would be ideal.

 

Now honestly if this is a lab enviornment (Not a business where this is critical infrastructure) and you only have $3k USD to spent, I would just buy 4x Dell R710s (old but good) with 2x 5670s and 96GB each - should run about $400 USD each.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
20 minutes ago, emosun said:

Does that server only have a single socket in it?

for that many clients it should be like a 4 way or way system if you don't want it to slow down

Yes. Currently it has a single socket and is running 27 thin clients.

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2 minutes ago, Mikensan said:

Am I reading that correctly, your server only has 16GB for 100 concurrent sessions?

Server currently has 16GB and was only serving 27 cliients, soon to be up to 100 concurrent sessions.

 

But to @Alakesh, what both replies state is a step in the correct direction, you need much more "power" to host these virtual desktop environments, especially if multiple people are hitting the server with photoshop and other intensive programs.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, Mikensan said:

Am I reading that correctly, your server only has 16GB for 100 concurrent sessions? At bare minimum for a VM running Windows 10 that will use the office suite, should be 3GB. 3GB x 100 concurrent sessions = 300GB. 

 

Your CPU might be at 67% in terms of frequency but I promise it is as 100% interupts, each VM should have 2 cores and you do not count hyper-threads as cores. If those 100 users are truly going to sign in all at once, I would aim for 100 cores available.

 

So you're looking at 100 cores and ~300GB of RAM for a decent user experience. This is usually achieved by buying multiple servers and creating a cluster. 4x nodes with 24 cores and 96GB would be ideal.

 

Now honestly if this is a lab enviornment (Not a business where this is critical infrastructure) and you only have $3k USD to spent, I would just buy 4x Dell R710s (old but good) with 2x 5670s and 96GB each - should run about $400 USD each.

You are quite right. The current server has only 16 GB but for 27 sessions only. i am planning to upgrade to 100.

 

Multiple servers is doable. Can u recommend where to look for  Dell R710s?

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3 minutes ago, Alakesh said:

Can u recommend where to look for  Dell R710s?

their website?

if you already decided on that machine then what is this thread for

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 minutes ago, NinJake said:

Server currently has 16GB and was only serving 27 cliients, soon to be up to 100 concurrent sessions.

 

But to @Alakesh, what both replies state is a step in the correct direction, you need much more "power" to host these virtual desktop environments, especially if multiple people are hitting the server with photoshop and other intensive programs.

Yes. Photoshop and Flash Pro is a problem. Also my alloted budget is $2800 to $3000 USD which makes it difficult. But if there is any way to just prioritize the linux VM's, it will be appreciated 

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3 minutes ago, emosun said:


if you already decided on that machine then what is this thread for

It was a recommendation from another user.

15 minutes ago, Mikensan said:

I would just buy 4x Dell R710s (old but good) with 2x 5670s and 96GB each - should run about $400 USD each.

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, emosun said:

their website?

if you already decided on that machine then what is this thread for

I have not yet decided, but am considering every option. 

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1. I need to setup a server that can accomodate 100 students using shared desktop thin clients / VM's. So what kind / how powerful of a server do I need?

            I don't understand "shared desktop thin clients"
2. Instead of sharing desktops using thin clients, can I deploy VM's so that each student can have their own computer. Also, since some of them are using Linux, would it be better if they had full-fledged linux VMs instead of using linux shell in windows?

             I'm still a little confused - what do you mean sharing desktops using thin clients vs deploying VMs? I assume you're using VMs now?
3. Let's say that I choose to use desktop sharing, can any one recommend me good and low priced thin clients that uses Windows RDP instead of proprietary software for running the thin clients, also the minimum spec for a server that can run the 100 thin clients.

              You could use ThinOS and a raspberry Pi? Or any linux distro on any device, just install a RDP client. 
4. If I need to run say 40 Ubuntu VM's, what will be the recommended spec for the server that is capable to do so? Also, what kind of client setup do I need? Will the thin clients suffice?

              2x CPUs and 1-2GB of RAM depending on the tasks to be done. What do you mean what kind of client? If you mean thinclient - well whatever protocol you chose to remote in with. Again something like ThinOS or just linux on a cheap old desktop will do.
5. Can i get any server config that can run the aforesaid VM's in under Rs. 200000/- ($2880 USD) which is the PO limit given to me by the school.

              See previous post
6. Also, are the D-Link switches sufficient or do I need to upgrade them.

            Gigabit is gigabit in thin-client environment, they are usually low bandwidth so gigabit is overkill as it is.
7. Please consider this, as i live in India (and that too, in Jorhat, Assam), does Dell or HP or any company supply a prebuilt server (along the lines of the specs that you are recommending) or do I need to import parts? (As I need to consider transport charges).

           See previous post, I'd buy used if available.

 

 

NComputing VSpace Pro - idk why this exists in 2019, paying money ontop of already paying for Microsoft licensing which includes RDP.

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Unfortunately I am unfamiliar with the availabily of used servers in India as a whole. In the states I'd use an online auction such as Ebay. 100 concurrent is very demanding, and newer servers is just going to be very expensive, well beyond $3k. A single node would cost $6,000 brand new.

 

16GB and 4 cores for 27 users is also extremely low, would certainly explain the slowness. The disk is also a central point of slowness, mechanicla (traditional) disks only average 100-200 IOPS, where 27 users would overwhelm.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
36 minutes ago, Mikensan said:

Unfortunately I am unfamiliar with the availabily of used servers in India as a whole. In the states I'd use an online auction such as Ebay. 100 concurrent is very demanding, and newer servers is just going to be very expensive, well beyond $3k. A single node would cost $6,000 brand new.

 

16GB and 4 cores for 27 users is also extremely low, would certainly explain the slowness. The disk is also a central point of slowness, mechanicla (traditional) disks only average 100-200 IOPS, where 27 users would overwhelm.

Thank you for your reply.

"shared desktop thin clients" are the thin clients that use the current OS and log in using RDP into the current OS as a different user. Forgive me as I do not know the prevalent terminology for these devices.

I would like to use VM's for the students instead of using the "desktop sharing". I did'nt know know about raspberry Pi's being used as rdp clients. I am sure I will check those out but even raspberry Pi's or HW based on SBC's are hard to get here. Thank you for this info.

I think you are tremendously right for the HDD's being a factor for the slowness. I myself use an SSD for my laptop but have never considered it for the server. Thanks for the deserved hit in the noggin.

BTW "NComputing VSpace Pro" is how they extract money from 3rd wrld people like us. Just look at this link and you will laugh (https://www.ncomputing.com/products/vSpace/vSpace%20PRO). I hate it. But it is required to be installed in the server for the thin clients to detect the server or whatever. 

Money is a huge factor here, as I have only $2500 USD - $3000 USD to spend. Used servers are rare in India. Only a couple of sites provide them but they are unreliable. I presume that the big companies such as HP and DELL have a monopoly here with the local SI's and online retailers as they recommend servers only from them and that too preconfigured. I try to buy parts online but they remain "out of stock" for months (amazon.in or flipkart.in, ebay in India is not availabe as it ended in a strategic partnership with Flipkart following the Walmart deal.)

Can you please recommend me a server config that comes under $3000 USD and can run at least 40 VMs with Ubuntu 18.04. Thanks in advance.

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8 minutes ago, Alakesh said:

Thank you for your reply.

"shared desktop thin clients" are the thin clients that use the current OS and log in using RDP into the current OS as a different user. Forgive me as I do not know the prevalent terminology for these devices.

I would like to use VM's for the students instead of using the "desktop sharing". I did'nt know know about raspberry Pi's being used as rdp clients. I am sure I will check those out but even raspberry Pi's or HW based on SBC's are hard to get here. Thank you for this info.

I think you are tremendously right for the HDD's being a factor for the slowness. I myself use an SSD for my laptop but have never considered it for the server. Thanks for the deserved hit in the noggin.

BTW "NComputing VSpace Pro" is how they extract money from 3rd wrld people like us. Just look at this link and you will laugh (https://www.ncomputing.com/products/vSpace/vSpace%20PRO). I hate it. But it is required to be installed in the server for the thin clients to detect the server or whatever. 

Money is a huge factor here, as I have only $2500 USD - $3000 USD to spend. Used servers are rare in India. Only a couple of sites provide them but they are unreliable. I presume that the big companies such as HP and DELL have a monopoly here with the local SI's and online retailers as they recommend servers only from them and that too preconfigured. I try to buy parts online but they remain "out of stock" for months (amazon.in or flipkart.in, ebay in India is not availabe as it ended in a strategic partnership with Flipkart following the Walmart deal.)

Can you please recommend me a server config that comes under $3000 USD and can run at least 40 VMs with Ubuntu 18.04. Thanks in advance.

  • Ah I see regarding shared desktop thinclient - this would just be terminal services or now "RDS". So your network is comprised of thin clients and a RDS host.
  • It doesn't have to be a raspberry pi, anything newer than say 10 years would suffice. Even a chromebook could work honestly. RDP has become such a standard that it is available on almost anything. Onlytime you would have an issue is if you use a broker server - some RDP clients get confused.
  • Yes hard drives are commonly overlooked so don't feel bad - but there any many solutions. A good RAID card with cache and a BBU would work fine. There's a reason large business dedicate a person to just storage - it can get very tricky.
  • Normally in a smaller environment I would say even a desktop would work, but given the scope it is hard. I'm sure electricity cost is also a factor - otherwise I would say buy 10 desktops and cluster them lol. Server motherboards give you the extra socket and can handle more RAM.

 

The hardest part is making a recommendation without knowing the availability of hardware to you. To me it is crazy that the used server market is so non-existent with so many large data centers in India, very unfortunate these companies do not give back to the country when they recycle their hardware.

 

Hardware specs is going to be 100 core count and 300GB of RAM if you want to do independent VMs per student. The RDS host is certainly much cheaper and fogiving when it comes to cost and resources. I will think about this and maybe reply back with a RDS suggestion.

 

I am ignoriant of international shipping costs, however is it possible to ship from the U.S. / Europe / Australia / China cost effectively?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 minutes ago, Mikensan said:
  • Ah I see regarding shared desktop thinclient - this would just be terminal services or now "RDS". So your network is comprised of thin clients and a RDS host.
  • It doesn't have to be a raspberry pi, anything newer than say 10 years would suffice. Even a chromebook could work honestly. RDP has become such a standard that it is available on almost anything. Onlytime you would have an issue is if you use a broker server - some RDP clients get confused.
  • Yes hard drives are commonly overlooked so don't feel bad - but there any many solutions. A good RAID card with cache and a BBU would work fine. There's a reason large business dedicate a person to just storage - it can get very tricky.
  • Normally in a smaller environment I would say even a desktop would work, but given the scope it is hard. I'm sure electricity cost is also a factor - otherwise I would say buy 10 desktops and cluster them lol. Server motherboards give you the extra socket and can handle more RAM.

 

The hardest part is making a recommendation without knowing the availability of hardware to you. To me it is crazy that the used server market is so non-existent with so many large data centers in India, very unfortunate these companies do not give back to the country when they recycle their hardware.

 

Hardware specs is going to be 100 core count and 300GB of RAM if you want to do independent VMs per student. The RDS host is certainly much cheaper and fogiving when it comes to cost and resources. I will think about this and maybe reply back with a RDS suggestion.

 

I am ignoriant of international shipping costs, however is it possible to ship from the U.S. / Europe / Australia / China cost effectively?

Yes. It's possible to ship from US. It's $55 to $60 USD extra to ship. Shipping from China is legally $120 t0 $160 ($60 - 70 if you know the other way) but I myself dont know about the costs from UK or Australia.

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Given the budget I would focus on a RDS host as you have now. If it is possible to buy another  E3-1225 v5, RAM, and a couple SSDs to upgrade your current host. Definitely check if the specific server you purchased has an additional CPU socket.

 

For 100 students on a RDS host, I would want 200GB-300GB of RAM  (more RAM the better). The 8 cores 16 threads is not really much honestly but you have what you have and it will "work". Given they are session based it should be ok. I would buy 2 SSDs and mirror them (1TB - gives you room to grow + the 1TB variants are faster).

 

RDP does not consume much bandwidth for the most part so even the gigabit network should be mostly ok. Disable wallpapers and prevent students from playing youtube and such.

 

200gb of DDR4 RAM is probably going to eat most of your budget, so if you can only get 1 SSD just be sure to back up whatever is on it. Or you could get 2x 512GB SSDs and back it up - whichever is more cost effective.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 minutes ago, 18dani said:

Are we talking about Multipoint services, right?

Are the clients virtualized in a single VM?

Yes. Technically Multipoint services but using proprietary software instead of RDP.

 

Assuming you are referring to the current setup, No. The thin clients are not virtualized. 

But If I set up a server, then I would set up a VM for each client. A low spec VM that could run Ubuntu but a VM none the less.

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3 minutes ago, Alakesh said:

Yes. It's possible to ship from US. It's $55 to $60 USD extra to ship. Shipping from China is legally $120 t0 $160 ($60 - 70 if you know the other way) but I myself dont know about the costs from UK or Australia.

whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. It is that cheap to ship from the US?! That's what I pay to ship locally for 50lb servers! Damn!

 

Check out https://techmikeny.com - contact them and see if they will ship to you. This company is almost 1:1 to ebay prices (often better).

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, Mikensan said:

whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. It is that cheap to ship from the US?! That's what I pay to ship locally for 50lb servers! Damn!

 

Check out https://techmikeny.com - contact them and see if they will ship to you. This company is almost 1:1 to ebay prices (often better).

Yeah. $60 USD might sound gr8 but it's 4200 INR for us. 5600 INR if you include taxes, which is a lot where $200 USD is my monthly salary..:-)) 

 

 https://techmikeny.com is a great recommend. I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks....

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Alakesh said:

Yes. Technically Multipoint services but using proprietary software instead of RDP.

 

Assuming you are referring to the current setup, No. The thin clients are not virtualized. 

But If I set up a server, then I would set up a VM for each client. A low spec VM that could run Ubuntu but a VM none the less.

Cause you could try a Windows 2016 Multipoint server with some thinclients (Dell Wyse for example) and a Linux VM next to it, but you'll need to pay for the CAL licences in addition to the hardware cost.

 

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Just now, Alakesh said:

Yeah. $60 USD might sound gr8 but it's 4200 INR for us. 5600 INR if you include taxes, which is a lot where $200 USD is my monthly salary..:-)) 

 

 https://techmikeny.com is a great recommend. I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks....

 

 

 

The amazing point is that for maybe 200 miles it's $50 yet for 6,000 miles it's only $60. However if you are looking at it relatively - don't look at your income, look at the budget. $60 to increase the choice means you can potentially save $1,000USD. (assuming 4 servers and SSDs will cost roughly $2,000USD)

 

Hopefully that $200USD good for your area given your skillset. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
32 minutes ago, 18dani said:

Cause you could try a Windows 2016 Multipoint server with some thinclients (Dell Wyse for example) and a Linux VM next to it, but you'll need to pay for the CAL licences in addition to the hardware cost.

 

Client access licenses will be a bit of a problem for my setup. Also, since the hardware(Thin clients) that is available does'nt support RDS device CAL's, it's impossible.


Dell Wyse is a good piece of hardware that allows ultimate flexibility with multiple OS, connectivity and form factor. But it's pricey and since I already have zero clients, i am looking for similar speced hardware at low price.

 

Linux VM is possible though, Thanks.

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4 hours ago, Alakesh said:

HPE 2x8GB DDR4 2133 ECC

Is this a joke? We are running 4*Dual Socket Xeon with 128GB RAM for around 50 users each.

You'd need around $10k to build this (rough guesstimate)

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