Don’t Panic!

MarvinThe countdown is on to the big move. Web Services have two brand new servers to host all the websites (GO, intranet, corporate website and more) and to use for development. Not content with just moving the sites over, we’re also implementing changes to the way we manage projects! And all this is happening on Monday and Tuesday!

One of the new servers will host the live versions of all our sites. This will be a staged process, moving the corporate website first, followed by sites like Hi and Jobs and finally moving the intranet. When you log onto the website on Wednesday there will be little obvious change but the new server will provide a more stable platform for hosting our websites. It’s running new versions of PHP and has more storage space available for multimedia content.

More exciting changes are happening on the second web services server! We’re running VMWare – a virtualisation system which splits a single physical server into lots of “virtual” servers. Each one runs completely separately as if they were physical machines but it’s much more efficient. We’re currently running six virtual servers for a number of different purposes. One runs our Subversion repository and projects wiki/ticket tracking system, another our development server, others are used for testing new versions of software and some exciting new services that are in the pipeline! From the sysadmin side, provisioning a new server goes from days to minutes.

New toys vital server infrastructure is great, but the changes in the way the web services team work are likely to have a much greater significance. All our sites will be stored in a Subversion repository allowing better management of the work we do. Our test servers will be virtually identical to the production server and everyone in the team (plus Contribute users – you know who you are!) will have their own area on the development server making conflicts between changes a thing of the past!

Sound like a lot of work? It is, so check back next week to see how it all went!

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