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MIS Systems Thread, Virtualise Facility CMIS in Technical; ...
  1. #1
    Trapper's Avatar
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    Virtualise Facility CMIS

    Now I know Link2ICT in Birmingham say not to virtualise CMIS, but are there any technical reasons behind this, or are they just trying to flog Tempus servers to schools?

    Has anyone virtualised and having problems?

    My admin server is getting long in the tooth, and instead of spending a grand for a dedicated server just for MIS, I was considering spending an extra £500 and getting a half decent server to virtualise both MIS and others.

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    I can't see why you shouldn't, however if your support team don't recommend it, then they might complain and not support you. However, if the networking works okay, there is no reason they would know it was virtual unless they needed to see the server. They could remote in and be none the wiser!

    I think @john may have done it with Xen Server but not sure.

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    I have virtualised our eportal server with no problems. Serco don't seem adverse to virtualisation but as vik mentions if link2ict don't support that config you could land in trouble.

    I beleve @john had some issues with the SQL server running from a San.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robk View Post
    ...
    I beleve @john had some issues with the SQL server running from a San.
    I think he just had problems running the SAN period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    I think he just had problems running the SAN period.
    Thats after some "Updates" but its a whole new thread.

    @john did mention he used local storage on a xen server to get performance up.

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    I hear my name being called

    Ok, I do have my Serco all virutalised, my "lovely" SAN has performance for SQL, thus I use my SQL sever on a local disk based host, but it is a virtual install on XenServer and it works fine and dandy and no complaints from Serco or our users and works very well SQL performs very well and the actual install and use of Serco on the server is very quick as Serco did comment last time they were running some SQL on it how quick it was

    Obviously makes backups and upgrades of Facility and ePortal much easier as well, just shut it down, snapshot it, upgrade et voilla (I still do take a Serco backup as well but two backups is always a good thing IMHO).

    I do know that Serco use it on VMWare themselves but as far as I am aware its still not officially supported by Serco but I am sure that if its all done right there won't be any issues or a block from Serco themselves but as your supported from Link2ICT rather than directly Serco you need to obey them really.

    I will poke @michael2k6 who works for Serco to comment / correct me / tell me off as applicable. If he is unable to help I am sure that he could poke one of the number of other Serco staff that are on here to maybe make a more official statement about its support when running Virtualised.

  7. Thanks to john from:

    michael2k6 (28th September 2011)

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    Hi all

    What @john said.
    Basically, we can't officially support Virtual platforms without repeating the entire testing cycle on them. With the amount of different virtual platforms out there it's difficult to achieve. So i'll tell you what the stance is now and where I see it going in future...

    Now... You can take our hardware spec and use this to do whatever you please in a virtual environment, using your own knowledge of virtual environments to ensure it runs smoothly. If you do have performance issues and we cannot find a reason, we will ask you to move it to a physical environment which meets the spec(even if only as a test) to see if this resolves the issue. If it does, you'll be more or less on your own resolving the speed issues with the virtual environment - for example, when John had issues with SQL on the SAN, we looked at the performance issues and I said the bottleneck is SQL disk access, do something about that - he moved SQL to a physical disk array on one of the hosts and it cured the problem. I've seen this at several other places too but not been able to identify the common cause as yet.

    I will say that putting it into a virtual environment does make it more difficult to support, especially remotely, (where performance issues are concerned) and this is the reason that we may ask yoiu to move it as a test - all well and good if you have a spare physical server you can utilise.
    What I would like to add though is we're not in the game of blaming the virtualisation because we can't find the actual problem, we will try and resolve it first and use the move to physical to test as a last resort. It's also worth mentioning that every time we've resorted to that as a test, it's cured the problem. You then have the option of leaving it on physical or going about fixing the virtual environment yourself, we will of course give input where the software is concerned and we can do so.

    In the future... A new hardware spec will be released contianing information for one virtual platform. This will give a better insight as to what we expect from it and will make it easier to adapt to other virtual platforms. The same will still stand though, in principal, we can't cater for every variable a virtual environment creates, and so there will always be that last resort for testing purposes.

    My advice will echo others on here, and is my own opinion and not that of Serco or any of their associates (including Link2ICT) would be to follow their advice - if you rely on them for support and breach support terms, you may find yourself support-less when you need them most.

    Mic

  9. 2 Thanks to michael2k6:

    john (28th September 2011), vikpaw (29th September 2011)

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    P.S - @johns SAN is actually made of jelly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael2k6 View Post
    P.S - @johns SAN is actually made of jelly.
    I just think Oracle's hardware has a built in killer for MSSQL or Postgres. I need Facility for Oracle DBs

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    facepalm_picard21.jpgI think This says it all.

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    I virtualised ours last week!

    Our tempus server was dying, one Nic dead and then one hard drive kaput. So instead of replacing the server i virtualised it.
    Installed a 2003 server in hyper-v setup all nicely and thought i'd just install cmis and job done. WRONG! I forgot that cmis need SQL installed so not problem I'll just get the notes from the link2ict knowledge base simples WRONG!

    Link2ict dont let you install cmis on a new server yourself. you have to pay them to do it at £350 per day. Apparently it'll take 3 days!

    So, instead i used disk2VHD to create a vhd file of my physical admin server and then imported that into hyper-v. Reconfigured the network cards (it needs 2) removed some of the old server monitoring tools and all seems to be running happily at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamin100 View Post
    I virtualised ours last week!

    Our tempus server was dying, one Nic dead and then one hard drive kaput. So instead of replacing the server i virtualised it.
    Installed a 2003 server in hyper-v setup all nicely and thought i'd just install cmis and job done. WRONG! I forgot that cmis need SQL installed so not problem I'll just get the notes from the link2ict knowledge base simples WRONG!

    Link2ict dont let you install cmis on a new server yourself. you have to pay them to do it at £350 per day. Apparently it'll take 3 days!

    So, instead i used disk2VHD to create a vhd file of my physical admin server and then imported that into hyper-v. Reconfigured the network cards (it needs 2) removed some of the old server monitoring tools and all seems to be running happily at the moment.
    3 days doesn't sound right.

    If the host server is fully patched it takes 30mins to install and configure SQL
    5mins to copy and paste the Admin/docs folder from one sever to the next and create the connection file.
    15mins to restore just the current academic year into SQL from a .bdb file
    10mins to install a fresh copy of Eportal and copy n paste settings files across
    10mins to Configure IIS
    5 mins for a reboot
    Job done.

    Leave the rest of the Datasets restoring over night which takes a couple of hours depending on the size of the school

    Last job is to send out a new Admin shortcut pointing to the new server.

    I've done 50+ server build/migrations of Facility/Eportal and we do them in two hour slots.

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    Link2ICT moved us to a virtualised server over the summer, took a day - easy peazy

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    I've built a few full SQL based Facilitys (And a good number of Access based test ones) and 2hrs should do you from start to finish with ease, don't know why Link2ICT say it takes them 3 days, maybe 3 days on a dial up remote connection?!

  17. #15

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    When we migrated onto new hardware it took their most retarded engineer less than half a day, 3 days?? oook!

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