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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Synching Internal/Externally hosted Moodle in Technical; We’ve decided to move away from our LEA provided VLE for various reasons, and boldly go forward and create our ...
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    Lars's Avatar
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    Question Synching Internal/Externally hosted Moodle

    We’ve decided to move away from our LEA provided VLE for various reasons, and boldly go forward and create our own. We’ve chosen Moodle for this purpose as it offers us a great deal of flexibility to really tailor the system to our specific needs.

    Our setup is as follows:

    Internally we are running a well specified HP server with Windows server 2003 r2. We use Xampp which runs both Apache and MySQL services. Our Moodle MySQL database is setup and managed via phpMyAdmin.

    Externally we rent a managed webserver from United Hosting. It’s running CentOS which is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. They support Moodle and the associated services and scripts required – It’s running the LAMP environment (Apache, MySQL and PHP)

    UK Dedicated Server Management Overview - Included Server Management - Initial Server Setup - Ongoing Dedicated Server Maintenance - Server Security and Performance Tweaks Gives an overview of what their managed service provides.

    After a little troubleshooting which boiled down to correcting the variables in the hosted config.php file, we successfully migrated our internal Moodle data to the hosted system and from that perspective, it’s all functioning as expected.

    Now, this is where it gets interesting..

    At the moment, our web based Moodle is sitting idle, in maintenance mode ready for when we are in a position to fully use it. We’re currently running with our internal system and looking forward to offering staff and pupils online access from home. Users will access our internal moodle via a shortcut to the server. From home, via a web address. These of course point to two separate systems.

    We require two way real time (or as close as possible) synchronisation/replication between our two moodle servers. In additional to the realtime MySQL database replication we also need to ensure relevant moodle files (moodledata and htdocs\moodle) are also kept in sync. If a pupil uploads some homework onto the hosted web version, we need that to also show on our internal system (and vice versa).

    We’ve gone with this setup as it provides great internal access speeds, pupil/staff home access over the web, redundancy and resilience.

    The support we are receiving from our hosting company is very good but I’d like to gain additional perspective, ideas and help on this technical challenge. It’s a very new area for us and I would really appreciate some advice, software suggestions etc as to how to achieve this. I’d be very keen to hear from people who are running a similar setup and have experience in this area, are thinking of moving in this direction or just have a good idea. In turn, when we are successfully running our system I would be very happy to share my experiences, provide advice and lessons learned.

    Thank you all in advance!
    Last edited by Lars; 25th March 2009 at 07:24 PM. Reason: Spelling corrections

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    penfold_99's Avatar
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    hi,

    I have couple of questions, before i can offer an answer.

    How fast is your schools internet connection?
    how large is your current moodle install? Db and files?

    Do you know the rate space is used up?

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Sounds like a familure question, I had the same problem about a 2years ago.

    Moving moodle? (ignore the title, it goes on to discuss having 2 different installations)

    After extensive reading, I discovered that keeping two different SQL databases and sets of files in sync was not a viable option, and the only workable solution was to have a single installation that is used both in and out of school. This was achieved for us by using reverse proxying in apache to serve moodle to the outside world via a server in our LEAs DMZ hosted for me by the LEA.

    I left that school last June, and it's still working now as far as I know, which is good!

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 25th March 2009 at 03:38 PM.

  4. Thanks to maniac from:

    Lars (25th March 2009)

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    In short, you can't do this with your current setup. Although it's possible to keep the files in sync there is no way to setup a multi master MySQL system and keep multiple masters in sync. Unless you use a cluster, however this requires the entire database set to be held in ram. I doubt your hosting provider will like that idea.

    It is possible with Postgres SQL.

    However as above, a single system both visable internally and externally is the simplest setup (it's what we use).

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    Lars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    hi,

    I have couple of questions, before i can offer an answer.

    How fast is your schools internet connection?
    how large is your current moodle install? Db and files?

    Do you know the rate space is used up?
    Our County provided internet connection speeds can vary via number of factors but a test during a low demand shows 14Mb/s downstream 13Mb/s upstream. We've seen as high as 18Mb/s up but occasionally it drops to sub 1Mb/s speeds.

    With regards to our Moodle MySQL DB, it's currently standing at 33Mb compressing down to about 2.5Mb when exported and compressed.

    \Moodledata is currently weighting in at 2.3Gb

    \htdocs\moodle is 49Mb

    In our school staff uptake of technology traditonally is rather slow. We start off with a core of enthusiastic teachers who's positive experiences filter down to and encourage other teachers. The IT subjects are obviously on board from the outset. Our science dept are keen to involved as are some members of our languages dept.

    Growth is slow in terms of uptake but these subjects do generally work with larger file sizes. In these early stages its hard to estimate the rate the space will be used up. As a rough guess based on current resources in use I can see 50 gigs being uploaded (inc pupil submissions) over the next couple of years.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    There is no way to replicate a mysql db to another host in almost realtime and no solutions for creating an initial replcia and then uploading only files that have changed to mirror the directory structure of 2 moodle hosts?

    Ben

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