Subject: NetBSD - ready for prime-time fileserving?
To: None <>
From: Lou GLASSY <>
List: current-users
Date: 10/07/1999 12:38:21
Hello all,

I'm a sysadmin at a college.  We have an Alphaserver 2100A 5/300
(2 procs) running DUX 4.0E as our main fileserver.

Question:  suppose I could replace this with a system running NetBSD:
     would this be a good idea?  Is NetBSD "there yet" for fileserving?

To help nail down some parameters, here's what I would expect the
system to do:

+ serve user accounts via nfs to (up to) 50 other unix systems
  (say, a mixture of DUX, NetBSD, Linux boxes), concurrently

+ serve user accounts via samba to (up to) 70 Windows boxes, 

Let's say the worst-case peak load would be 50 unix nfs clients and 
and 50 windows smb clients, simultaneously.  (50+70 != 50+50, but 
some of the clients are dual boot boxes, so they can only be doing
either nfs or smb, but not both at the same time.)

Is NetBSD's nfs and smb subsystems robust enough to handle
this sort of load?  Has anyone already "deployed" (gack, hate that word)
NetBSD boxes as departmental fileservers?  I myself have used
NetBSD for two or three years now, just as a desktop general
purpose workstation, and I have heard of many
NetBSD systems being used as webservers, routers, etc at ISPs, 
but haven't heard of NetBSD being used in a primary fileserver role.

The "human clients" in this case are CS students, doing a lot of compiling,
editing, etc.

The replacement box has not been bought yet. Let's ignore the money
question for the moment.  Can NetBSD hack it under load?  (For what
it's worth, I've tried doing fileserving (nfs, smb, <= 20 clients)
from a few Linux boxes, and in my tests the robustness left much 
to be desired.)

One candidate would be a dual-intel box with a sh**load of ram &
scsi disk, running FreeBSD (since NetBSD doesn't support a 
second processor yet).  Another option could involve a few 
smaller uniprocessor servers, and running NetBSD
on them.  (That's my favorite option :-) since I can then use NetBSD, 
which I find pretty admin-friendly to configure and administer.)

If you have experience with using NetBSD as a departmental fileserver
(here I mean "academic CS department" :-) with on the order of 100 to 
200 simultaneous users), please let me know.

Thanks kindly,


Monkey 346:  What do you think of the deal between Megasoft and FooWorks?  
Monkey 347:  It's a Strategic Alliance, and Megasoft is the senior partner.
Monkey 346:  So, uh, all the people at FooWorks are gonna get screwed.
Monkey 347:  I believe I already said that.

	-- from "The Adventures of Code Monkey #347"