Concorde installations – some thoughts

07Mar07

Now that most of the installations are done, would we do the same decisions and processes again? Would we make the same choices?

Overall we are quite happy with Concorde and our installations…

Hardware & System config

In the ideal world, how about a Dual Processor, Dual Core Blade Server with lots of RAM and a huge disk array of big and ultra fast SCSI disks in a SAN configuration. Well the choice of our used x345 is actually a good compromise, good value, nice RAID adapter and despite being a flat rack model, the Server has still room for 6 hot-pluggable SCSI 320 disks.

The two array, RAID 1 (for Linux) and RAID 10 configuration for “/var” and the virtual machines works fine. The chosen stripe size of 64kbyte of the RAID adapter config seems to have worked out as well. We haven’t tested the performance, but until proof of the contrary as well as a good gut feeling, the choice was sound.

The stripe size of the RAID unit seems to me like one of the last mysterious settings of big server environments.  Very little information can be found.  As an example, at the time of this article, the stripe size is only mentioned in one paragraph of the German wikipedia article on RAID, the english RAID article omits the stripe size.

In our understanding however, the stripe size is having a big impact on overall performance of a system as it looks like the classic bottleneck setting. And it also seems that Domino is preferring rather larger stripe size configs, and we assume so does VMware. (see here, and here, and here)

The IBM ServeRAID (really an Adaptect) gives 4kb as default (or 8kb, I don’t exatly remember).  Modern adapters suggest 128kb, which is much more logical.  Our rule of thumb is rather bigger than smaller, if too big performance might suffer a bit, make the size too small, and it really could hurt (as in our first trials).   If anybody disagrees, please feel free to comment and explain.

Ubuntu

read installation article

We chose the Ubuntu 6.06 because of LTS, long term support that is. Although 6.10 is certainly very nice. Some little but effective things have been improved. Try to remove the games from the Ubuntu 6.06 desktop. Exactly. It wants to remove the entire Ubuntu Gnome Desktop. Under 6.10, removing the games is a child’s play 😉 . OK games on a server a just unused programmes that don’t do anything, unless you play. It just seems bizarr to have games on a server, doesn’t it?

VMware Server

We had many reactions such as “Doesn’t that impact on the performance?” Well, it probably does, but it’s a fast machine, a good RAID system with fast disks. And it seems, that we have done the right config choices of the RAID system and the OS / VMware settings. Performance is still very good. VMware ESX is certainly better, but also mighty expensive and for our environment it just would be over the top.

FreeNX

Yes, FreeNX is a curious mix of open source (the FreeNX server) and closed source (the client from NoMachine). But the seveas ubuntu packages work and FreeNX is really a pleasure to work on (and with). So much better than VNC.

Domino

Not a question of choice, Domino is currently the engine for the member system and directory of the association. 7.0.2 for Linux is a lot less choosy then previous 6.X.X versions regarding Java versions and some libraries. So far it is very reliable and performance is good.

Yes, we did the dirty trick and did a clean re-install using the same nominations (domains, server names, users). The previous installations (and certifications / keys) were the result of years of updates & upgrades, migratrions and installations originating from the first trials in 1993/94. The certifications for example expired once after just 2 years due to a bug of 4.x. Since then the public keys never were quite right. That meant, no enforced rule of encryption, which makes migration much easier. So this time, no old IDs were used or (re-)certified to create the new Domino infrastructure.

A very nice collection of performance tips for  Domino can be found on nfstools.com.  (Although we would politely disagree with the size stripe suggestion of only 16kb, see above)

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “Concorde installations – some thoughts”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: