Let's take a walk through the completed lab to see how everything fits together.

The lab

An Edubuntu lab provides a comfortable space where members of the community can learn, share, and create. Each time a user sits down at a workstation, they can log in and find their working environment just as they left it the previous time they were there, even if they are using a different workstation.

The machines

An Edubuntu lab usually contains between 20 and 25 workstation computers. Workstations may be added or removed at any time. These workstations are connected to a server computer by way of a highspeed network.

The workstations are where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. They are standing out there on the desks, and everyone who uses an Edubuntu lab is constantly using their keyboards and adjusting their screens, and so they do undergo some wear and tear. Workstations should be cheap and as easy as possible to replace. They should be completely interchangeable, and they store nothing: no documents and no information about any user.

The server actually does all the real work in an Edubuntu lab . If the server goes away, the workstations will just stand around scratching their heads, like bees when something happens to the queen bee. Whatever you see on a workstation has been sent there by the server over the network. All the documents that you save, and all the information regarding users, everything is stored on the server.

The network

The last critical component of an Edubuntu lab is the computer network that connects all the machines. If you're looking at a finished lab, the network cabling might not be terribly obvious. However, every workstation has an Ethernet cable plugged into it that runs to a central switch. The server is also connected to this switch.

In this configuration, it is as if every workstation in the lab is connected directly to the server. The switch itself is transparent to the network, but sees to it that network traffic from the server is sent as directly as possible to the workstation for which it is intended. From the perspective of the workstations, it looks as though they are all connected directly to each other.

If anything goes amiss in your Edubuntu lab, there's an even chance that it may be a problem with your network, since, from the workstation's point of view, a broken network is just as bad as a broken server. It can't do anything in either case.

EdubuntuDocumentation/EdubuntuCookbook/Walkthrough (last edited 2009-04-29 23:31:01 by adsl201-244131014)