We're migrating to Moodle, and would like some advice on server specs. I need to provide my superiors with statistics (users, concurrent access,...) to justify the specs (I myself need some assurance that these specs will fit our requirements).
Our student population is ~14000. There are roughly 200 courses to be migrated in the initial phase (much more growth expected later on). With respect to quizzes, the class size of courses with quizzes can be as much as 1500 students (quizzes are text based for now, no video/audio yet).
INTENDED SERVER SPECS (we'll most likely use Dell servers): Acquire two servers, one for the Database (MySql), and one for Moodle. Each server will have:
Dual Xeons, > 3.0 GHz
SCSI HDD - total capacity (depending on RAID): 74GB or more.
Here are my questions:
1. Concurrent access: I know that the maximum number of concurrent users (which still gives users an 'acceptable' response time) will vary depending on the type of user activity at that point in time. Will the stated configuration support 1500 concurrent users accessing the same quiz (without grinding the server to a halt)? If not, what's a more accurate figure? On our current LMS, large quizzes are staggered during the day, so there may actually be just 300 users at a time taking the quiz.
2. With respect to using two servers, are there any components which should be beefed up (e.g. use more RAM on the Moodle (Apache) server; use a faster processor on the database server...)? Also, am I missing any essential components? I wish we could simply say 'buy the biggest we can afford', but everything needs to be justified.
3. O/S: We were planning to go Linux. However, a couple posts suggest "go Windows until you have proficient Linux support staff". For now, just one or two have dabbled in Linux. I'm now learning it myself. Is it too ambitious to assume that I'll be well versed in Linux by August? Should we go Windows for a while? If Windows, should any server components be beefed up or changed to support our requirements?
Systems Administrator, e-Learning Technologies,
Campus IT Services
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad W.I.