Making the move...

Making the move...

Post by Albert Laut » Wed, 17 Mar 1999 04:00:00



Hello fellow Pick users!

We are doing some fact finding and cost analysis of our current network
topology and support issues. At the same time we are investigating the
choices for our (forced) OS replacement. D3/Linux, D3/ProPlus, D3/NT,
D3/AIX. (Can you tell we want to go to D3?)

The meat and potatoes of this inquiry are as follows:


/year)

2. Using a distributed database (server per office) we dial each using
PowerComm to retrieve and update information.

3. Each server is running AP-Pro and applications don't rely on any
underlying operating systems. (Though I'm sure we would if there were an
underlying operating system!)

I have worked with both centralized and distributed systems, but it's
difficult to think of ALL the benefits of either system. So...

Please help me understand the benefits and drawbacks of each of these
operating systems and comment on your experiences with distributed vs.
centralized (WAN) topology. Open minded responses only, please. (as I am
trying to be open minded about this myself) Personal opinions are OK. Do not
argue with each other.

Thanks... and have at it.

 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by Albert Laut » Wed, 17 Mar 1999 04:00:00


I see that your recommendation is toward D3/Linux. However, I would like to
know how many users you have on the system at the same time. If we do decide
to go with a Centralized system, will Linux support that high a number of
users? If we decide to stay distributed, do you have pointers for keeping
data transfers small/fast?

I'm interested in your opinion.

Please let me know what you think.

Thank you for responding.

Albert Lauts


 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by Albert Laut » Wed, 17 Mar 1999 04:00:00



>Albert Lauts wrote [edited]

>>We are doing some fact finding and cost analysis of our current network
>>topology and support issues. At the same time we are investigating the
>>choices for our (forced) OS replacement. D3/Linux, D3/ProPlus, D3/NT,
>>D3/AIX. (Can you tell we want to go to D3?)


>>/year)

>>2. Using a distributed database (server per office) we dial each using
>>PowerComm to retrieve and update information.

>Albert,
>    From everything I've seen and read, Linux is coming on stronger and
>stronger every day. Bill Gates is either going to find some way to buy it
or
>compete with it on Linux' terms.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<     C R I N G E   >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by Richard Ginsbur » Wed, 17 Mar 1999 04:00:00


Albert,
    You're going to have ask that question of someone at Pick Systems. Our
largest system has 66 users. With all 66 users logged on at the same time
there is no noticeable degradation in performance. The Linux host is a
Pentium II running at 350Mhz with 128mb of RAM.

--
Richard Ginsburg can be reached at:

internet.: http://www.fawnridge.com
telephone: 561.488.4815
fax......: 561.488.3821
Only the finest software is called COMPASS.


>I see that your recommendation is toward D3/Linux. However, I would like to
>know how many users you have on the system at the same time. If we do
decide
>to go with a Centralized system, will Linux support that high a number of
>users? If we decide to stay distributed, do you have pointers for keeping
>data transfers small/fast?

>I'm interested in your opinion.

>Please let me know what you think.

>Thank you for responding.

>Albert Lauts


 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by Albert Laut » Thu, 18 Mar 1999 04:00:00


Bob,

We would love to go with the less expensive OS for a centralized system but
I have doubts as to the number of users they are able to support. AIX seems
to be the OS that professes to efficiently support our projected number of
users over the next couple of years (500+ increased by 15%/yr.). I haven't
heard what experience people have had using Linux on such a large network.

Thanks for responding.

Albert Lauts

Quote:>AIX has to be run on propietary hardware. In my experience the
>combinations is fantastically reliable but also fantastically
>expensive.

>NT... I have doubts about it's stability, and once you get it people
>will want to run spreadsheets etc on it. Plus EVERYbody is a windows
>expert these days, and they'll fiddle with NT when they'd leave unix
>well alone.

>The choice of OS for me comes down to AIX or Linux. If you are willing
>to spend the money then AIX on RISC is a good option.

 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by David Wolverto » Thu, 18 Mar 1999 04:00:00


I am having real grief with Digi Xems on a Dell machine with ATI's MegaRAID
controller using RH5.2 - I'm sure it's the ISA hardware setting that Dell
*thinks* is OK but is really in conflict... the hassle is that it takes 4
minutes to do a boot to find out if tweaks have helped... I've reinstalled a
dozen times so far .... ARG! I *do* hate hardware. I wish it was a PCI card
because it would have self configured instead of screwing around with this
ancient beast ISA card...  I'll let you know my magic answer whenever I
discover it. Digi Inc says definately IRQ and/or address related... and if
not, they have a new driver that will be ready RSN. (Real Soon Now)

*Oh, but I still love Linux!

David W.



>>settled on an NT solution

>>Best of Luck -
>>Ron Black

>Ron...

>Your words were chosen well. Hopefully, the company's owner will not settle
>for NT. So far he is in support of Linux.

>Does anyone know of any hidden costs related to Linux? If we remain a
>distributed system, we will be converting from Monolith and Repton boxes
using
>DigiBoard XEM cards and 3Com ethernet cards.

>Thanks for your response.



 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by Jared Solom » Fri, 19 Mar 1999 04:00:00



>Linux supports some incredible number of processors.  See a project called
>"Beowulf" or however it is spelled.

Beowulf is a pile of pc's supercomputer.  It just passes messages from
one machine to another to work on huge multithreaded
applications/problems.  It's not the same as Symmetric
Multiprocessing.
 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by I'm so SICK of e-mail SP » Fri, 19 Mar 1999 04:00:00


On Wed, 17 Mar 1999 21:34:26 -0600, "David Wolverton"


>I am having real grief with Digi Xems on a Dell machine with ATI's MegaRAID
>controller using RH5.2 - I'm sure it's the ISA hardware setting that Dell
>*thinks* is OK but is really in conflict... the hassle is that it takes 4
>minutes to do a boot to find out if tweaks have helped... I've reinstalled a
>dozen times so far .... ARG! I *do* hate hardware. I wish it was a PCI card

   Well, that depends on the BIOS. Some BIOS's like to jump around on
auto-config IRQs with PCI boards. I can NOT get my DPT caching
controller to take IRQ 11 and I can't force the slots to take IRQs in
sequence as they're listed in the CMOS screen. Slot1 = first available
Slot2 second available, etc. Doesn't the Digi Xem use IRQ 10 by
default? I could care less now that I have my Port Server 2. I'm ready
to dump this Xem board. I have to say that the DPT SmartCache IV
is FAST, but it doesn't help much under Linux.

    Let me know what configuration and such you use with the Xem. I'd
like to make a list of known working configs.

      Thanks,

      Glen aka Ryengoth

        http://members.xoom.com/Ryengoth/pick

>because it would have self configured instead of screwing around with this
>ancient beast ISA card...  I'll let you know my magic answer whenever I
>discover it. Digi Inc says definately IRQ and/or address related... and if
>not, they have a new driver that will be ready RSN. (Real Soon Now)

>*Oh, but I still love Linux!

>David W.



>>>settled on an NT solution

>>>Best of Luck -
>>>Ron Black

>>Ron...

>>Your words were chosen well. Hopefully, the company's owner will not settle
>>for NT. So far he is in support of Linux.

>>Does anyone know of any hidden costs related to Linux? If we remain a
>>distributed system, we will be converting from Monolith and Repton boxes
>using
>>DigiBoard XEM cards and 3Com ethernet cards.

>>Thanks for your response.



 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by Paul Stanle » Fri, 19 Mar 1999 04:00:00


Ok, whilst you can use nice stuff like OSFI, ODBC, Remote Q-pointers,etc,
the Proplus available now is more restrictive than the previous version.
I'm not a Linux expert, so I would struggle configuring it to do the sort of
stuff I'd expect to be able to do easily in NT.  Having the use of all the
Linux utilities, GUIs and documentation would considerably ease this task -
D3/Linux let's you install these during setup - Proplus does not.

Then again, I believe Repton have an alternative install product that can
make things happen for Proplus - check with them first!

The Digi XEM problems :  we have found a problem with the drivers. If a
break is actioned (or a power cycle) from a terminal, the Digi driver goes a
bit loopy and the port needs to be killed from another port. All is then OK.
I'm not entirely sure at this moment if I have the latest drivers
installed - maybe it has been fixed. A Linux issue rather than D3.

We also had a problem with using  SCSI HD and DAT drives on the same
controller card - once the DAT was on it's own card the problem disappeared.
Again I think this was down to RH Linux 4.2 rather than D3.

Hope this helps.

Paul Stanley
--
=================================================
Any views expressed are mine and not my employers
-------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------


>Paul,

>Thanks for the response. You mentioned that D3/Linux gives you more access
>to the networking functions of Linux. That's what we had assumed but hadn't
>heard it from anyone that has used ProPlus. You also pointed out that the
>XEM drivers aren't '100%' yet. What kind of problems will we expect to have
>when we implement this type of migration?

>Thanks again.

>Albert Lauts


>>Albert

>>We moved AP/Native to D3 Proplus.
>>We currently have 30 users, which now needs increasing, and use the Digi
>XEM
>>you mentioned and a bog standard NE2000 network card (with Proplus the
>range
>>of network card drivers during install is limited). The Linux Digi drivers
>>for the XEM are still not 100%, but the network connections are flawless.

>>I would recommend you look at D3/Linux rather than Proplus, not because
our
>>installation of Proplus can't cope in performance terms - like Richard, I
>>see  minimal degradation regardless of what users are doing - but because
>>you're going to want the freedom to use Linux a lot more than is
>comfortable
>>in Proplus for your networking.

>>If possible, ditch the modems and move onto routers on ISDN or even fixed
>>lines.

>>Just my 2pence

>>Paul Stanley.

 
 
 

Making the move...

Post by t.. » Sat, 20 Mar 1999 04:00:00





>/year)

I would be VERY cautious about trying to put this user count on linux
on a single machine. There are some claims out there that it can be
done, but I'm not convinced that it has enough gusto to handle the
data throughput requirements that are required at this level.  They
may claiming SMP processing, but I don't think it has the memory or
disk handling capabilities for that level.  If you choose to keep your
application distributed over multiple boxes at separate sites, then
linux is probably the best choice in this event.  This is the kind of
stuff that will drive Bill Gates crazy because NT just is not up to
the task.  And no additional licensing charges for the OS!

Quote:

>2. Using a distributed database (server per office) we dial each using
>PowerComm to retrieve and update information.  

>3. Each server is running AP-Pro and applications don't rely on any
>underlying operating systems. (Though I'm sure we would if there were an
>underlying operating system!)  

Reality of this situation is that a fair amount unix/linux sys admin
activities are at hand.  With the proper striping/mirroring you can
create very large volume groups/file systems that eliminate the need
to constantly move stuff around.  With the price of disk these days,
it is almost foolish not to use it.  You know your data, so plan,
plan, plan!  We have a 550 user 2 processor risk box that outruns a
750 user 9 processor goliath mainly because the disk is laid out right
and random read activity minimized.

Quote:

>I have worked with both centralized and distributed systems, but it's
>difficult to think of ALL the benefits of either system. So...  

In a distributed arrangement, I just like Universe better.  The unix
file basis of Universe is much more adept at moving data around the
network and a variety of other unix communication and fail over
bennies are available.  In stand-alone it will always be difficult to
beat the benefits of raw disk partitions that D3 offers.

Quote:

>Please help me understand the benefits and drawbacks of each of these
>operating systems and comment on your experiences with distributed vs.
>centralized (WAN) topology.

A lot more stuff goes into a selection of this nature.  How often does
your data need to be updated between machines?  Would real time update
be of any benefit?  How much data is being moved?  How much other
network traffic would be in the mix (email, printing, PC file
services, telcom, internet, etc)  What are the costs?  Believe it or
not, dial-up might just be the most cost effective right now.
Networking via an ISP might be adequate.  Bottom line is that some
planning is essential here.  BTW... make sure you get IP segment
addresses issued to your company for each of your sites.  There is
nothing more difficult than trying to interface and route mixed
'legal' and unassigned ip traffic.  The alternatives to try to work
with it are a lot more expensive than doing it right in the first
place.  Be sure to setup and use DNS and DHCP up front as well.  A
couple of linux boxes will do this task real well at a very reasonable
cost.