Forum OpenACS Q&A: ANN: Oasis 4.5 (Updated OpenACS VM)
For more background, here's the original announcement and a writeup on why I think this is a great thing for Windows folks interested in test driving the OpenACS platform.
I received some positive feedback from people on the first release, but most people had difficulty getting the network up and running. I realize that I oversold the ease of deployment a bit. It is very very easy to deploy if your network architecture looks like the one in my home-office ( behind a NAT/DHCP gateway appliance. ) If your LAN doesn't look like mine (likely), the VM's networking configuration will have to be changed. If you're not VMWare and *nix networking savvy, this will require a bit of reading on VMWare's support pages, an email or two to me, and you should be able to get coding on OpenACS. Although more hassle than I'd like, I think it's the way to go if you're on Windows and want to see the OpenACS in action. I can pretty much guarantee that that the alternatives: getting the whole (cygwin or linux)/aolserver/postgres/openacs stack working on your own hard drive will take longer.
Thanks once again to Musea for hosting this, and I'll see all you Boston-area folks at the Cambridge social on Tuesday.
If they do, in 30 days you get to make another decision: is it worth $300 to not allocate a new hard drive/partition/box and set up Linux/Pg/OpenACS on it? For those of you with (lots of?) time or interest in learning how to set up software, go the do-it-yourself route. For people who'd rather dive right in and code, and forego all that wonderful sys-admin and hardware-compatibility knowledge, pay the VMWare people for taking that task away.
I think the no-cost-for-30-days try-it-and-see approach benefits people in both categories.
I think that a Windows-installer type of thing is a good idea, but realistically OpenACS is going to be a second-class experience on that platform for a long time, esp. given the AOLServer development roadmap.
A client of mine has purchased GSX Server to use as a build/staging/test environment. They idea is that it should support a low-volume intranet site just fine, but despite installing the software I honestly can't say I know how it performs from first-hand experience (we haven't installed anything on it yet)
What I do know is that VMWare introduces about a 30% overhead on your box. Another way to look at it is that your 2GHz server will only operate like a 1.25GHz server. That's really not a big deal - with Moore's law, you're essentially rolling back the clock ~6months on your hardware.
Given that fact, and the fact that VMWare sells the software to support exactly the scenario you describe (running low-volume production systems on consolidated h/w), I would say you shouldn't have a problem.
I'm not sure if you can download a demo... but the software I have installed (GSX running on W2K) looks a lot like they just slapped a perl API on top of their workstation product. I would say if the VMWare workstation product supports the load you're expecting (find out really quickly with my VM), GSX will be fine.
I don't know much about FreeBSD, but I've seen at least a few knowledgeable folks comment on running AOLserver, OpenACS, etc. on it here.