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Deploying Blackboard Learn for Dell

The Dell server platform architecture supports Linux and Windows deployments on Intel and AMD processor lines. Performance testing and sizing for Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 focused on Intel’s Nehalem processor series (5500-series). Both Rack mount and highly dense blade servers are available.

Blackboard Learn has been benchmarked on a variety of Dell systems. Evaluations are made against both rack mount and highly dense blade servers. These configurations have been evaluated in a non-virtualized configuration, often referred to as “bare-metal.” Additionally, benchmarking has been conducted with up to three virtualization hypervisors:

  • VMware® ESX Server 4 (Linux® and Windows®)
  • Citrix XenServer 5.5
  • Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 4 & 5 Xen™

Most often these systems contain 2-4 sockets, each with 2, 4, and 6 cores per socket and 8GB to 96GB of memory. Throughput performance increases depending on which CPU model is chosen. At the time of this publishing, the Quad Core Intel® Xeon® 5520 2.26GHz processor with the Hyper-Threading option turned on offers the best overall price performance. The Quad Core Intel® Xeon® 55700, 8MB Cache, 2.93GHz processor offers the best throughput performance.

Blackboard recommends leveraging both physical and virtual configurations. For years, the Blackboard products have been deployed in distributed manner across multiple physical servers. This configuration remains as the primary option for availability and scalability. In recent releases, many Blackboard customers have introduced virtualized configurations within a physical server using technology such as VMWare, Citrix XenServer, and Red Hat Xen. The combination of both physical and virtualized configurations has introduced resiliency, scalability, and high performance. In Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Blackboard introduced a 100% 64-bit offering for all certified and supported operating systems (OSs) as an additional deployment approach to integrate with physical and virtual configurations.