Part 4: The Other Stuff

Thanks for reading my series on moving from my single all-in-one server and my small ESXi server to ipHouse’s vmForge VDC product. I previously discussed moving my websites to a virtual webcluster, and moving email to a virtual mailcluster. Now I just had to move three small servers, and install a third.

The first server I moved was a small experimental VM used for testing various network, web and other items. I like to have dedicated testing environment for every operating system that I professionally run. This server was responsible for my personal Teredo tunneling, and was the one I put my CGI testing on from awhile a go. I could have easily moved it, but I wanted see how the export/import from ESXi to vmForge worked. I stopped the machine on my ESXi server, downloaded it as a OVF and uploaded it, via my Windows machine, to my catalog. It imported it as a template. I then deployed the template and deleted the server. It worked flawlessly! All I had to do renumber the machine and I was done.

The next server was a little more complicated. It was originally a CounterStrike:Source server that I had converted into a Apache Tomcat JSP host. Because it already had a working Java setup, I added an OpenFire Jabber server, and a LogicMonitor agent to it. This gave me the ability to monitor my internal network from LogicMonitor, a monitoring solution that we’re looking into. The triple Java duties of this machine, unfortunately, put a big crunch on its RAM, so that took a lot of tweaking on the application level to get them to play nicer with each other.

The next server was a monitoring server that I had set up running Zabbix. I had previously gotten Nagios working on it, but it was too burdensome for me to maintain. I also liked having graphing and service level alerting as well as agent based checks, both active and passive. The biggest problem with Zabbix was getting it initially set up to send alerts, so it was nice to be able to import this machine, that had a working base, than to start from scratch. LogicMonitors does pretty much everything that Zabbix does, and better, but why not have two monitoring solutions? I also set up that machine to be a centralized logging server if I ever want to install a log analyzer like Splunk. I set it to copy the logs to a MySQL database, and to run php-logcon, but that didn’t scale past a few thousand entries.

Next was installing a FreeBSD server to act as a centralized tool, mail environment, and storage space for myself and my friends. I love FreeBSD, the only reason I set up my other servers as Linux boxes was pure laziness on my part, which I’ll pay for later in administration time. Also, they are mostly single purpose appliances, and it’s nice to have some of the Debian style scripting for web built-in. I try to stay fairly OS agnostic, but I do have preferences.

Since my shell server would have the most exposure to the internet, so I wanted a relatively secure system. Also, I would be spending most of my time in that server, so I decided to go with the OS I love. That would also bring things full circle, as my pfSense box and Shell server are both FreeBSD.

I decided on installing FreeBSD 8.2 stable. I sliced my disks like this:

/           512MB
swap        1GB (1x Memory)
/usr        5GB
/var        10GB (Modest space for DB and info)
/home       140GB (An egregious space for storing files)

I installed the OS and ports, and I switched from cvsup to csup awhile ago, and updated my ports-supfile and stable-supfiles to point to a local(ish) mirror, and checked out /usr/src and /usr/ports. I then updated my kernel config (Tip: compile without debugging if you want it to fit in 512MB ) reinstalled, and rebooted. Voila! A new FreeBSD system. I’ll probably go into doing a comprehensive FreeBSD install in a later post.

I installed Postfix and Dovecot2 for local mail, Apache 2 for user directories, and migrated my users information, passwords, and home directories from my old server. Everything went surprisingly smooth. I installed Mutt for myself, Alpine for one of my users, and a few other pieces of software, and I had a fully running shell server. I was going to run PowerDNS and PowerAdmin on one of my Linux boxes, but I decided to stick with BIND on the FreeBSD server, as it was more efficient for me to edit text files than use a web interface. Weird, I know. Now that my shell server was done, and everything was migrated, I could turn off my old FreeBSD box. I admit that I did feel a little bad as I typed halt into its shell for the last time. It served me well over the last four years.

Now my infrastructure migration was complete, running fully virtualized, lowering my power consumption, gaining redundancy, and boosting performance for the fraction of the cost of having physical infrastructure.

I Win!

Game Over.