How much hardware UNIX hardware to support a small college?

How much hardware UNIX hardware to support a small college?

Post by khock.. » Sun, 07 Nov 1993 06:23:13



    Currently, we have an aging VAXcluster on campus that serves as the
main student machine for mail, reading news, telnet/ftp, etc.  We are
looking into replacing it with some high-end UNIX machine(s). (Yay!)

    Since every student gets an account, we have around 3000 accounts,
of which about 1000 are active.  Peak use is under 200 users logged in
at one time.  

    What I'm looking for is input on what level system or systems we
need to replace this.  I'm looking for specifics here, brand names,
numbers, RAM, etc. of comparable systems running elsewhere, since I need
to write up a proposal.

    So what's your view?  How much hardware is enough to handle this
sort of load?

-Kurt Hockenbury

(mail or post; I'll summarize)

 
 
 

How much hardware UNIX hardware to support a small college?

Post by Benjamin Z. Goldste » Sun, 07 Nov 1993 15:15:31



>    Currently, we have an aging VAXcluster on campus that serves as the
>main student machine for mail, reading news, telnet/ftp, etc.  We are
>looking into replacing it with some high-end UNIX machine(s). (Yay!)
>    Since every student gets an account, we have around 3000 accounts,
>of which about 1000 are active.  Peak use is under 200 users logged in
>at one time.  
>    What I'm looking for is input on what level system or systems we
>need to replace this.  I'm looking for specifics here, brand names,
>numbers, RAM, etc. of comparable systems running elsewhere, since I need
>to write up a proposal.
>    So what's your view?  How much hardware is enough to handle this
>sort of load?

     If it is just a bunch of users, I would look into a Sequent Symmetry
system.  At the U of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, one old Sequent S81 (8
386's) supported 160+ users quite well.  It was only slow when 180+ users
logged on (like it was swapping -- it probably needed more memory).  Current
Sequents are going to be much faster and also run much newer versions of
UNIX.  I would give them a call (sorry no phone number) and get some
brouchures.

     An alternative would be a few fast processors -- like a DEC AXP 4200 (a
twin 21064 processors) running either OSF/1 or OpenVMS (hey, if the users
refused to migrate, you could always dump UNIX and switch back to VMS...).

     In general, I would make sure you got enough memory and an OS that was
designed to support a lot of users.

Systems
-------
Sequent: up to 20 486-?? (possibly Pentium available now/soon) processors
(check out competitors like NCR for competitive bids)
SGI: up to 36 R4400-150 processors
DEC: up to 6 21064-200 processors

     I like IBM RS/6000's, but I am not sure if they are appropriate for
this use.  They do have a multiprocessor system -- Power/4.  I am not
familiar with HP's systems except that they handle small-memory FP problems
very well...  Another one to look at is Sun's SPARCcenter (up to 20 SPARC
processors).

     There is a benchmark called AIM Suite III that attempts to measure
multi-user UNIX performance.  You might want to get these numbers to narrow
the list of contenders.  Here is an old list:

     +-----------System
     |
     |           +-------RAM
     |           |
     |           |       +-------Disks
     |           |       |
     |           |       |       +----AIM
     |           |       |       |
     |           |       |       |        +-----Max. Thru-put
     |           |       |       |        |     (Jobs/Minute)
     |           |       |       |        |      +---Max. User Load
     |           |       |       |        |      |
     |           |       |       |        |      |       +--Utility
     |           |       |       |        |      |       | Index (MPH)
Indigo R3000    64M     432M    31.9    312.2   265     49.7
Indigo R4000    64M     432M    71.3    699.1   410     61.6
Indigo R4000    96M     432M    72.1    706.6   485     61.5
DEC 5k/120      64M     665M*3  13.6    132.8   122     26.5
DEC 5k/200      64M     665M*4  14.0    137.6   131     53.2
HP 710C         16M     420M*2  29.6    290.0   180     ?
HP 720CRX       16M     420M*2  35.5    347.7   229     ?
HP 750          64M     1.3G*2  47.1    461.9   337     ?
IBM 320H        64M     400M*2  20.7    202.5   193     30.6
IBM 530H        64M     400M*2  27.9    273.3   244     34.2
IBM 550         128M    400M*2  34.5    338.3   307     48.8
Sun SPARC 2     32M     424M    19.8    193.7   146     27.2
Sun ELC         8M      424M    15.3    149.9    50     27.0
Sun IPX         16M     207M*2  18.3    179.3   128     30.6

     I would, however, try to work with a system a little bit to get a feel
that that numbers are not going to provide.

     Right now, I am on a DG AViiON 5225 (twin m88100-25 processors) running
DG/UX 5.4.  There are about 1500 accounts in /etc/passwd, but no more then
20 logged on users (plus NFS, POP, NNTP, etc clients).  I would guess it
could support 30 simultanious, active X11 users.  I would guess it could
support 60 or more simultanious, active terminal users.  I have never seen
it with that many so I shouldn't really extrapalate...
--
Benjamin Z. Golds*

 
 
 

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