Posts tagged Red Hat

Linux Distributions vs PHP

The splintering of Linux distributions seems to be continuing!

This week, I have had requests for PHP versions 5.3 and 5.2 on both Red Hat EL 5 and CentOS 5 – though never distribution supports higher than 5.1.6 in the official repositories.

PHP 5.2 has been out quite a while. Ubuntu Hardy LTS has it and it is 2 years old. Ubuntu Lucid LTS is coming out in April has 5.3 by default. I bet Debian Lenny is at 5.2 or higher already. SUSE is at 5.3 (for version 11.x where X != 0)

“Why” seems to be the question of the day – why doesn’t RHEL do some updates to something people feel they ‘require’ for their PHP web applications? CentOS would then follow.

Even old/stodgy FreeBSD (my personal favorite) is all over the 5.2 camp for PHP since 6.x, and the *BSD people do not play the version of the day.

If I have to run Linux based systems, I choose Ubuntu. Not always the latest version but at least this distribution keeps up with customer wants (and sometimes…needs).

Example cost: Virtual Private Cloud (updated)

Back in September, 2009, I had written a post with a quick overview of what a private cloud (or infrastructure) looks like and some basic costs and information, including why it is a great product (I am biased).

Since then, Dell has retired the PE2900III model server and items change, this is an update for the basic configuration.

Reminder graphic:


2 Servers, 1 firewall

So, originally, the physical servers were configured as:

  • Dell PE2900III (reasonably priced, very reliable, I have spares on the shelf)
  • 4 ethernet ports (2 built in, 2 port card installed, more can be added)
  • 2 73GB SAS drives mirrored together for booting VMware vSphere 4
  • 32GB RAM (48GB is max for this hardware platform)

New servers look like:

  • Dell PET610 (reasonable price, very reliable, spares to go onto the shelf)
  • 4 ethernet ports (all built in)
  • 2 80GB SATA drives mirrored together for booting VMware vSphere 4
  • 48GB RAM (192GB max available – very expensive)

The reason for the RAM change is that I am seeing a 2:1 (or higher) ratio of RAM to CPU usage in terms of percentage, and 48GB is a good place for this sized system. Also, the newer Xeon 55xx series processors uses RAM sticks in 3s instead of 2 or 4 at a time. 48GB is 12 4GB sticks of RAM. The newer 55xx series of processors also has working hyper-threading (or H/T) and I am seeing very nice performance on servers deployed using this processor family in our network.

Cost difference? The original posting listed had estimated the cost at $1,600.00 per month (see previous post), and I estimate this to be very close, inching up to approximately $1,700.00 per month, and this number should be high. (for accurate pricing, please contact ipHouse sales people, they can run up a quote based on real numbers)

Example cost: Virtual Private Cloud on VMware

In the last 6 months, I have helped multiple customers achieve their dream of a virtual machine environment built for them exclusively, but with abilities to control their virtual machine setup, configuration, turn up, tear down, etc.  These dedicated infrastructure environments are in the ipHouse data center.

This isn’t ‘cloud computing’ as many people think of it (thanks to Amazon EC2 and the like), but it is pretty close to that vague definition, and with far more control available in terms of everything-vm-wise.

What do I mean?  With this virtual private cloud, a customer can set up 3 Ubuntu systems, 2 Windows Server 2003, 1 FreeBSD, and 7 Windows Server 2008 systems.  There really isn’t anything novel about this (again, reference Amazon EC2 and the like).

What is novel is that the customer can configure these VMs as they wish.  Disk space allocation, partitioning, memory configurations, number of vCPUs.  Basically, if you can do it on a physical server – you can do it virtually.

Another differentiating feature is that VMware vSphere 4 supports many operating systems while most public cloud providers offer a very limited number in comparison.  This choice alone can be enough to warrant looking at this kind of solution.

No per hour fees, no storage fees (above what the customer has purchased), highly available (if configured to do so), dynamic resource scheduling (if configured to do so), bandwidth fees that are predictable. (see VMare vMotion and Storage vMotion, VMware HA, VMware DRS via website)

I’ll build a configuration example offering shared storage between the VMware physical servers.  I’ll be doing some cost estimates for the per month fees.  These estimates will be high and are purely shown for example.  You would want to contact ipHouse Sales to get a real idea for the costs involved.

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Linux Sucks! – a presentation

Over at Bryan Lunduke’s blog is a presentation on why Linux sucks.  No no, no operating system or distribution bashing, he isn’t from Microsoft, and he isn’t arrogant, snarky, or rude throughout.  He is able to bring up a topic that causes a lot of fervor – Linux distributions have issues.  It sucks.

His thoughts revolve around the desktop and lack of software for the mainstream user, problems with this driver not working with that kernel, and other things that are brushed over when persons talk about the ease of a Linux based system.

My view is much more from the server side of things, that’s where I live day to day, but some of the issues brought up during the presentation reinforce my idea that Linux doesn’t belong in my server network.

But a subscript issue is talked about without ever being brought to the forefront – lack of cohesive anything between different distributions.  He touches on some of it dealing with package management – Debian packages vs RPM vs package-manager-of-the-week, but misses the rest of the picture with the complete lack of standardization across the distributions (there is mention of discussions about creating this – isn’t that so 10 years ago?  15?  Still broken…).

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ipHouse releases VMware based server services

Virtualization, one of the buzzwords flying around the Internet today, is a method of running separate servers (guests) with separate operating systems on shared physical hardware (the host).  I wrote a quick summary back in February, 2009 that should help give some context.

Here at ipHouse, we have chosen to use VMware for our virtualization products.  We chose VMware because of its reliability, great support for many guest operating systems, and integrated set of management tools for both the hosts (the physical servers) and the guests (the running virtual machines).  In fact, ipHouse is an official licensee of the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP), a requirement to sell virtual server services to 3rd parties (and as far as I know, the only authorized hosting provider in Minnesota, though I would love to be corrected).

Dubbed ‘SV’ internally, there are 4 different server editions available.

But before I get into the servers (and their configurations) themselves, I’d like to list the supported operating systems (and Linux distributions), many of which are ready for quick deployment where only the final configuration options need to be entered.

Immediately we support:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard and Enterprise, 32/64bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Standard and Enterprise, 32/64bit
  • FreeBSD 7.x, 32/64bit
  • Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), 32/64bit
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux 5, 32/64bit

These systems are available with and without operating system maintenance handled by ipHouse, and if you choose to maintain your own system(s), we have an interface in place to facilitate your needs for a virtual console that will give you the ability to power on, power off, and reset the system, as well as doing recovery in case of a configuration error.

How does this work?  Here is a tutorial I whipped up (with editing help from Ben) using the client tools we will supply.

(and it was fun to make, but really needs a voice over)

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