One of the tasks we had been considering for a long time was the virtualization of the main server to be able to run multiple Linux and Windows servers at the same time. Over the last couple of weeks we have successfully migrated to a server with is running ProxMox as the virtualization platform with multiple 64 and 32 bit Debian servers and a Windows Server Client.
Set up was pretty easy using the templates provided by Proxmox for the Debian servers including a Sugar CRM server, the windows server was a little different because it had to be installed from the CD’s we had but it did work once we got used to the network setup. Most of what we did comes from a similar setup we did for the local TeenRanch which is a local Christian Camp where we have been supplying support for a network and hotspot set up for the camps etc. They needed the ability to provide internet connectivity over a wide area with lots of trees and obsticles to work around plus they needed to be able to control the access and reduce the problems they had with bandwidth limitations. The now have a fully redundant WiFi network with both 2 and 5 Ghz back hauls to the relevant buildings. We also set up a Hotspot solution to allow the users to pay for some access where required. Our set up was much easier as we simply needed to have the Linux and Windows servers available for test and development work particularly with the EasyCom solution.
The server responses are a less than we used to get with a single operating system running but the difference is acceptable. The disks are all raid 5 protected and we think the card which is a lower level one is affecting the speed of the server somewhat? Eventually the server will be replaced with a new one running the newer chipsets which should improve the response times plus additional memory will help a lot as we only have 4GB on the system today. So far we have been impressed with what we have achieved, we can now take snapshots of the servers so recovery back to a known state is definitely going to be a lot easier.
We use the server mainly for demonstrations such as the EasyCom server running from Linux and Windows. We have also set up a Windows implementation which is actually running on a Windows 7 Thinkpad because we needed the ability to show how the PHP interface can be run an any Apache/PHP server linking back to the IBM i for the data even while we are travelling (We can VPN back to the IBM i and it works really well). The Linux servers are also running 32 and 64 bit versions so we have the relevant EasyCom modules installed with multiple PHP websites running on each again something which was important as we move forward with our relationship with Aura Equipment and EasyCom.
The next challenge will be to virtualize the IBM i to run multiple copies of i/OS and possible a Linux/AIX partition just for fun… That will probably have to wait until we buy the next Power 7 system which should happen either late this year or early next.
If you want to see EasyCom running without the IBM HTTP server on IBM i please let us know, we will be happy to show what we have achieved with the product so far, our intention is for our next product releases to all have the EasyCom server bundled as part of the solution. The cost of the EasyCom server is so attractive in comparison to the Zend Server (EasyCom is used to provide all of the i5 toolkit functions even on Zend Server installs!) that it makes a lot better financial sense than going for the IBM i/Zend Server solution which is free for the first year but has a fairly hefty cost for support thereafter.