Forum OpenACS Q&A: Another OpenACS hosting option

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Posted by Dave Bauer on
I have found a hosting company to host OpenACS/Postgresql accounts.
The rates are very reasonable. He will install just about any software
you might need. I am setting up an account today so I will let you
know how it goes. I let him know there might be alot of interest in
this service.

http://www.cornerhost.com

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Posted by Kenny Chan on
Hi Dave,

Does the OpenACS installation counts towards your space quota? Also, I can't seem to find any words about OpenACS on their site. Do they install it only on-demand? What is the rate that you are paying? Look forward to hear your feelback on their service. Thank you.

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Posted by Patrick Giagnocavo on
Kenny raises a good point.  Standard installs of OpenACS out of the box, along with customizations, etc. often end up at over 200MB disk space.  Odd that none of his pages mention OpenACS from what I can see, however.

(Disclaimer:  I provide "developer" OpenACS instances @ $79.95 per month at www.zill.net)

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Posted by Dave Bauer on
Good question. I didn't think to ask. I am setting up a simple script account at $10/month until I get some $$$ from the client :). The basic charge for $30/month for the daemon account is what I was quoted for OpenACS. If you have any questions I suggest just emailing or filling out the form. He is very responsive. You are both correct, I am the first person who has asked about this service.
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Posted by Arthur Pinkerton on
I am not sure if you also checked with www.hub.org. They have reasonable pricing for both Openacs 3.x and OpenAcs 4. the pricing plan is pretty neat because they split up pricing between bandwidth and storage, that way you're flexible enough to choose what works best for you and not have to pay more for what you don't need.
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Posted by Arthur Pinkerton on
Sorry, I forgot to add that at www.hub.org software does not count towards your storage usage.
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Posted by Michal Wallace on
Hey all,

I'm the guy that runs cornerhost (thanks for the link, Dave).

I don't have a page about OpenACS because I never thought about
hosting it specifically until Dave asked. I'm not an OpenACS pro by
any means, but I've read Phil Greenspun's book and have a basic
idea what it's all about.

In general, I install the basics (tcl, databases, etc), and if you want to install a server of some sort, then I'll assign you the
ports you need, and then you're free to configure it any way you like.

Whatever you install on your own does count towards your space usage. The demon account comes with 250MB, and additional space is 25MB/$1.

Question: is it possible to run a single AOLServer for multiple users? Can you develop comfortably without having to restart the server periodically?

Thanks!

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Posted by Dave Bauer on
Each OpenACS instance needs its own AOLserver. I am not sure on the restarting the server part. There have been improvements where the server does not need to be restarted as much as before, but I think most developers would need the ability to restart the server if necessary.
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Posted by Kenny Chan on
Hi Patrick,

How did you come up with the ~200MB figure? A quick du for a fresh OpenACS that I have (RPM) is ~15MB, and the Postgresql data directory is ~36MB (only the ACS database is present, plus the Pg system database)

Michal, I assume the Postgresql installation itself (not the database space for OpenACS tables) wouldn't count towards the disk quota then?

Thank you

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Posted by S. Y. on
I haven't actually verified it with multiple users, but using Daniel J. Bernstein's daemontools package (supervise, svscan, etc.) should let individual users stop and start their own AOLserver instances.
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Posted by Patrick Giagnocavo on
Kenny, concerning your question about disk space:  I am going by what my clients do/have done.

One of my clients uses 120MB, but that is because I (God or root, what is difference?) pruned their install down and keep on top of their web logs ( I gzip them with gzip --best).

When you keep in mind their disk space as used by Postgres, which appears to be about 100MB (they have a lot of content), you get 220MB.

Add CVS usage, other stuff you might want to keep around, etc. (they do all their development elsewhere) and you can see that it easily gets to more than 200MB.  Oh yes, you want to create a backup or two of the Postgres DB if you are trying out new things.

Another client does do light development on the system (CVS) but does not have as much data in the db.  They do use the file-storage module.  Their disk usage is 140MB, plus a small db footprint of about 20MB.

If you are being careful, yes, you can have stuff under 200MB - by putting your other files somewhere else; but that doesn't give you much room to "move around" as it were.

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12: disk space (response to 1)
Posted by Michal Wallace on
Kenny,

The Postgresql installation doesn't count towards your usage. In fact, I'm working on setting up a system-wide Pg server right now. (I'd been using MySQL before)

Patrick,

I also do CVS hosting. http://www.cornerhost.com/cvs/ , and it's half price with a web hosting account. :)

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Posted by Henry Minsky on
I have been looking at running multiple virtual servers on a single physical linux box, using User Mode Linux. UML is a port of the Linux kernel to run as a standard user process under Linux. It uses an ordinary file as a disk, and can mount the host's filesystem. It can use the ethernet via the TUN/TAP device in linux.

The UML kernel has a nice feature called Copy On Write (COW) which lets you start with a base filesystem image file, and then any incremental changes you make are written to a different file. This means it is easy to share a common read/write filesystem among lots of virtual machines.

My idea is to run a bunch of these virtual machines on a single physical host, and to have the underlying host run Postgres. The virtual machines would each run their own AOLserver process, and could communicate to the host postgres via TCP. I did some rough timing measurements, and running gcc to compile AOLserver inside a virtual machine was about 1/5 the speed of the compile on the host. This leads me to estimate that general performance of a virtual server will be about 1/5 of "native" execution. I am not sure how many virtual machines can comfortable run on a single physical host, but if they are lightly loaded, I would guess that it is roughly RAM limited, and 2 GB of main memory could probably host up to about maybe 50 or 100 virtual machines. They are of course all sharing the same CPU, RAM, and disk, so when I say lightly loaded, I mean it. Still, for casual use like personal web sites, this might be quite adequate, considering that I used to run a web server on a 50 MHz Pentium CPU.

I think the advantage is that you have a real "machine" all to yourself, you can have root access, you can install modified binaries of the server, you can compile extensions to the kernel even. I'd be interested to see if anyone tries to start selling leasing of these VM's rather than these sort of hacked up shared servers.

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Posted by Nagita Karunaratne on
Henry,

Did you get this 'User Mode Linux' hosting setup to work? I'd be interested in what kind of performance you achieved in this configuration.

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Posted by Chris Davies on
I don't know that I would suggest COW mode,but you might look at SKAS mode which has much better performance.

That coupled with some grsecurity patches and you get around some of the security issues introduced by SKAS mode.

Or, there's always BSD's jail which is fairly efficient.

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Posted by Andrew Piskorski on
I don't see why you would want to use User Mode Linux for OpenACS hosting. Yes, it should work, but you're running an entirely separate Linux kernel for every virtual server. Unless you really need custom kernels for each customer - extremely unlikely - that's massive overkill, and I assume performance would suck because of it.

Acorn Hosting uses the Linux VServer kernel patches instead, which is basically the exact same idea as FreeBSD's jail facility. All virtual servers share one kernel, but everything else is virtualized. Should be significantly faster than UML.

This stuff has been discussed here previously, at least in June 2003 and Oct. 2001.

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Posted by Nagita Karunaratne on
Thanks,

For all the searching i've done here, these are new for me.

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Posted by Mark Aufflick on
FWIW, I have a windows server behind a firewall running multiple severs with VMWare. It's horribly inefficient compared to Vserver, but it's damn convenient to admin.

Like if I want to replace the raid array or upgade to a new box I just shut down all the servers, copy the virtual disk files to another box with VMWare, and click start - all done :)

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Posted by Cathy Sarisky on
Actually, Matt, you can do that with vservers too.  Rsync while live, shut down the vserver, rsync again (just to be safe), start it up on the new vserver.

I *really* like vservers for development space and testing.  The isolation is very cool, and the ability to blow away a vserver and replace it with a new one from the template is handy.

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Posted by Mark Aufflick on
even if the other server has completely different hardware (# processors etc.) can you do that?
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Posted by Cathy Sarisky on
Sure can.

Of course, you need a vserver-enabled kernel to do it, but I've moved vservers between P4's, Athlon XPs, Durons, Celerons (ugh), etc.