Moodle Server Requirement for 5000 users

Moodle in English: News instalation (20k registered users / 1k

Over the past several months there have been a lot of people asking about "ideal server specs" for 2000 plus students. When we get up to the 4-5000 student numbers has anyone seriously looked at the "risk implications" of singular server installs. There has been little conversation or consideration of implementing a "dual server" master/slave, main/backup configurations, or more strategically a small cluster environment.

In a 5, 000 plus on-line student environment there are far more significant issues to be considered that "just the ideal hardware solution". These other "significant issues" will have a direct impact on your hardware selection and management of your environment.

1) The first question I will ask, is are you expecting your environment to be accessible 24/7/365?

If "yes" do you have technical support "on site" 24/7/365?

If "no" do you have technical support "on-site" during the hours your server is "on-line". Does your institution expect "technical support" for their IT environment during business hours? If the answer is yes, then in a risk management argument, your "on-line environment" requires technical support during its business hours.

2) What is the reputation of the on-line environment worth to your institution if the environment is not accessible for a given period of time?

Will students just complain or will they move to another institution? This is an important question when many of an institutions clients (students) are not form a local catchment area

Will the reputation of your institution be affected by downtime of your environment?

These are just the very tip of the iceberg in planning for an online environment and well before one considers the hardware in which to deploy the environment. If you are the manager responsible for deploying the physical environment, then these are a couple of the key questions that should be at the top of the discussion agenda and have solid answers provided. If you can get these key questions answered, then you have the beginnings of a business case to gain the funding to build a solid on-line environment that is sustainable.

From a personal perspective, anyone who is deploying a system for 5000 plus students and who does not have a 2 server strategy, is taking on a huge personal responsibility of that institutions / organisations reputation on their own shoulders something I would want to be paid really well for if I was to accept it. An ideal solution though is a small cluster environment, that provides high scalability and high availability, something that we reviewed, workshopped and demonstrated at the Aussie Moodle conference in July. The strategy works and is a affordable if your institutes reputation is of primary concern.

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