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Re: How bandwidth requirement could be reduced when using thin clients?

Hi Ben,

thanks for your answers.  I'm learning slowly :-)

On Wed, 06 Oct 2004, Ben Higginbottom wrote:

> > Well, he did say there should be a local server.
> Sorry, must have missed that. I thought the X servers themselves were
> being run from the farm as opposed to local.

I think they are.  However, a CF Disk or other small boot media on the
client machine won't solve that.  The applications still have to come from
somewhere.  Admittedly, I would presume you can run more lessdisks type
machines off a single server than you can pure thin clients so a single
server in the school would be more useful in that instance.  However, the
machines themselves will need to be faster.

This central server farm appears to be a government requirement rather than
a design of Knut's.

> Its not too difficult with either a driver disk 

Does that mean they're not bootable in general?  (I've never used one of

> or a modern bios,

A very modern one, on every single client.  Which basically means a fleet
of modern machines.

> although I have to admit I've never tried it with a P1. Schools in the UK
> get rather large sums of money for IT equipment that generally gets spent
> on desktops and MS software as opposed to network infrastructure. 

So I understand.  Where I am (Dublin) saying we are less fortunate would be
an understatement. ;-)

> Of the two TC systems that weve rolled out the networking has been the
> major headache, from builders cutting the fibre to the windows system
> causing appaling latency due to broadcast traffic from NetBEUI. In
> addition the lack of a decent network fs that can be safely left in the
> hands of the schools support staff has hurt us more than once. 

I can well imagine that alright.

> As for maintenance and installation of a CF drive, there certainly no
> more so intensive than an boot chip. Once plugged in they keep working
> until they fail, the same as an boot chip. I suppose the AFS solution
> could have the initial installation files pulled from a tftp server via a
> network boot without it having a severe impact on the system boot times.

But where's the advantage in having a CF disk?  You can put a bootloader or
even a kernel and root fs on it but it still needs to get the applications
over the network so how is this really adding redundancy?  If the server is
down, neither system will be working.  If you put anything more than a
bootloader on (eg a kernel) then that must be updated when you do kernel
upgrades.  This is the maintenance I mentioned.  If it's just a bootloader,
how is it better than the etherboot/PXE?

> Still from a pure thin client, single boot perspective your right their
> just a resorce drain. After spending 11 months thinking about and solving
> the problems with dual boot systems its a little difficult not to think
> in those terms :)

Is it helpful to have CF in a dual boot machine?  Of course if you have any
OS locally installed that's a (at least partial) solution to network
downtime but full local installs are great fun to maintain as I'm sure you


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