Forum OpenACS Q&A: Web Server and Database on Different Machines

We would like to set up a system with Oracle and AOLServer/OpenACS on different machines and can't seem to find specific information on doing this.

Has someone done this before? Does anyone have any tips? We want to use an existing Oracle installation on a big fat Sun and put the web server on a small skinny Linux PC (reserving the option to add another if needed). Is it safe to assume that it should not be a problem? Can someone share some documentation or experience? A recommendation of the best flavor of Linux (we are considering Debian or Suse) to use would also be of help (or would it be best to use another Sun box)?

Posted by Don Baccus on
When you come out to the Amsterdam Social on Wednesday, we'll show you the Greeenpeace International site which is running on one Sun database server (Oracle) and two Linux AOLserver front-ends.  It should be live by tomorrow (DNS propagation gods willing) ... at least I hope so, as we're all drinking large quantities of champagne here at the office.
What a marvelous way to answer my question!

Looking forward to seeing the aforementioned marvel.

Posted by David Walker on
We have been running well for over a year using Postgres on a Linux box and 2 Linux/AOLServer boxes. We used Redhat 7.0 for this project.

The only issue I know of is something we haven't worried about or looked into. The servers need to be able to talk to each other to issue the util_memoize_flush command to each other. Since our site isn't stressing our hardware we haven't used memoize much and when we do the data is largely static.
I wrote a document ( that describes just what you propose. If you have questions or something is unclear, let me know.

I'd run Oracle on a supported platform, which rules out Debian as far as Linux is concerned. Under Linux, your real options are RedHat and SuSE. As much as I like SuSE, their recent joining of UnitedLinux marks the beginning of the end for them, IMHO. That means I'd use RedHat.

Thank you Daryl!
Posted by Brian Fenton on
We've been doing this for 2 years with various combinations of OS, mostly Linux (RH 6.2 mainly, a little RH 7), but also Solaris and HP-UX. Once the machine your AOLserver is running on can see the database, you should be fine. A quick test of this: type tnsping your_SID at the OS prompt should give you back an OK. I presume you know the only difference in terms of your AOLserver setup is that you enter the SID in the DataSource parameter in your nsd.tcl, whereas you can leave it blank if AOLserver is installed on the same machine as a correctly configured Oracle database?
Brian's basically right in that if you can tnsping your database, most everything is in place to connect to it. It's worth clarifying, though, that the argument to tnsping is not necessarily a SID. It's actually a resolvable name (an entry in $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin/tnsnames.ora, if you're using local naming and the default location of this file). In my system, the SID and TNS name are the same, but that's coincidence. My document above assumes local naming, but you could very well make the necessary changes (to sqlnet.ora) to use host-based naming, an Oracle Names server, or LDAP as well.