[Server-devel] We need: examples of XS hardware in use --

David Leeming david at leeming-consulting.com
Tue Jan 12 17:51:29 EST 2010

Hi All

Yes this is timely. In the Pacific Islands power consumption is a factor,
with a trade off between large expensive solar power systems and air
conditioning requirement (almost impossible in most cases) and the hardware
spec for the XS(s) in the school. Even with grid power, power is 5-6 times
more expensive per unit here than in US or Australia and schools have orders
of magnitude less ability to pay. I smile when I see these films of fully
e-enabled classrooms with full size electronic whiteboards/touch screens and
so on with children of 6 years experts at eToys etc. That is marvellous
pioneering work, and wonderful thing and a vision for the future, but we are
a long way off here.

There is also a trade off on costs of the server hardware of course,
especially when planning to scale up.

So what we have been trying - without any actual school deployments as yet -
are small "eBoxes" as shown attached. I have been using the one shown in
country trials missions as a demonstrator, with a prototype active antenna.
I think it will work better with an access point or two (based on the rule
of 20 per AP, and max group size for presence service of 40 per group). I
haven't had the opportunity to do any rigorous reproducible tests on
performance yet.

Pia of OLPC Friends is cc'd because she sent it to me (with SPC funding). I
don't have the specs, Pia can you provide those or a reference where I can
locate them? 

The one here uses a normal HDD but we would recommend spending a bit more on
solid state, perhaps 160GB per box, with one box per double classroom block
(80 students). The power consumption with the screen off is 10-15W.

Chandana, ICT Manager of Divine Word University, Madang, in PNG is involved
in a 1000-XO roll out and has identified other similar small eBoxes. I am
cc'ing him too, if he can make any comments as I am sure he has lots to say
about it.

Let me know of any tests you would like me to do in terms of pushing the
ebox to it's limits. I will be in Tuvalu next week and will be running
workshops with about 50 XOs available.

David Leeming
Solomon Islands Rural Link 

-----Original Message-----
From: Martin Langhoff [mailto:martin.langhoff at gmail.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, 12 January 2010 11:43 p.m.
To: David Leeming; Reuben K. Caron; XS Devel
Cc: Hamilton Chua
Subject: We need: examples of XS hardware in use --

List, David, Reuben,

We are getting increasing enquiries "what hardware can we use for an
XS in a school with N laptops?", and frankly the
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XS_Recommended_Hardware is a bit slim on
concrete recommendations.

So I need your help -- I've added some info in the "hardware known to
work" section, but I'd like David to put more info on the exact model
of MSI Wind he's using, additional hardware, number of laptops
supported, and any extra notes.

Similarly, Reuben, I need more info on what hw the OLPCCorps crowd is using.

And anyone else that's running an XS (hi Hamilton!)... we need your hw
profile and your numbers.

Additionally, I've added a 'server sizing' section. It'll be great to
get corroboration that the CPU/RAM to number of users match what you
are using in the field, and whether your server gets in trouble when
usage spikes.


 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff

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