Subject: Potential big NetBSD project at Berklee
To: None <>
From: Louis Guillaume <>
List: netbsd-jobs
Date: 12/13/2004 15:53:28
Hello everyone,

Berklee College of Music is requesting information regarding a new 
system that will provide server-based desktops for Macintosh clients.

An official RFI is available if you contact me via email. Please note 
that I am not subscribed to the netbsd-jobs mailing list, so please 
respond to this email directly.

Here's a rough outline of what we have and what we need:

Currently the most pressing need is a working solution to store the 
administrative offices' users' desktops. 90% of the users are on Mac OS 
X and we have implemented Apple's Open Directory with their Xserve and 
XRAID hardware. We have had disastrous results. The hardware has proven 
unreliable. The support has been inadequate and the software 
(AppleFileServer in particular) has performance issues. We tried NFS, 
but to no significant avail.

The working scheme we have in the lab currently is set up this way..

1. Open Directory master server. An Apple XServe running OS X 10.3.6 
that holds the user database. By default this machine is configured as a 
Kerberos KDC. The user database is LDAPv3, and the passwords are stored 
in a proprietary location in the scheme.

This is the only part that remains unchanged since it works well.

2. A NetBSD machine running afp services using the netatalk package from 
pkgsrc. This machine is a member of the Kerberos realm defined on the OD 
server. Netatalk has been configured to use Kerberos to authenticate. 
The users' directories are stored on this machine.

3. The client machine is configured to try Kerberos first at the login 
window. A successful authentication gets a service ticket for the file 
server, who then authorizes the user to mount their home directory.

The plumbing works, now we must specify appropriate hardware to do the 
job for the whole user community. There are currently just under 1000 
users whose desktops we must keep. There is talk of a 10GB quota for 
each, meaning a total of (minimum) 10TB or so of total storage. (I think 
10GB is crazy for each user, but better too big than too small.)

What I expect to see is some kind of centralized storage mechanism (like 
iSCSI or a SAN or NAS of some sort) that several NetBSD file servers 
will be attached to. How many file servers will have to be determined by 
more testing. Chances are we're looking at about maximum 400 or so 
concurrent users logging in and using their Desktops.

A scalable storage solution is needed. If the solution scales well, 
various departments that require mass storage for audio/video recordings 
etc. may be brought into the fold.

Backup solutions are essential in whatever is specified, either on the 
SAN/NAS/iSCSI level or at the file server level.

So the main things we're looking at are...

. Specs on hardware to run the file servers (NetBSD machines).
. Specs on a compatible, scalable mass storage system for these file 
servers and others. Currently we have several OSes that may come into 
play: AIX, Linux (redhat), OS X, Windows, Solaris.
. Support. Once installed, we will need telephone-based software support 
for both the file servers and the mass storage devices. Hardware support 
is also essential for these servers.

This is the project in a "nutshell". The official RFI is available 
through me. Please contact me if you are interested...

Louis Guillaume
Senior Systems Analyst
Berklee College of Music