[Deploying Sakai] Using VMs

Dario P dario_d_u at unitech.com.ar
Mon Jan 25 08:36:52 PST 2010

We are working on a virtualized environment on Universidad de La Punta. We 
did not hit yet a peak of use, but regarding install & setup, we have no met 
a special situation.

We found that linux VMs guest on linux host with vmware server (free/trial 
product) works pourly regarding the file system (double caching, high cpu 
usage on host on guest file system pressure, etc) out-of-the-box, some 
tuning is required, and full performance can be met only on ESX. We did not 
put much effort, i't just the testing and "http load balancing sandbox" 
environment" so we can't comment more. Just found some tips on blogs and 
vmware forums. vmware does not use direct_io on linux, but ESX does.

Example: 4-5 min to startup tomcat (fully loaded sakai) vs 10 min on same 
host on vmware. That's vmware.

ESX "just works". No problems so far.

very small testing setup
- hp 115 ml, 4 gbytes vmware host
- vmware guest, 2 gbytes

I have to dig in for prod env... Basically, so far:
- apache load balancer
- very small  "node starter" scripts. (what's everybody else using? Just a 
node = server?)
- 6 tomcat "nodes" (3 different installs, 2 nodes per install, each node can 
start on any server)
- 2 vm linux (mounts nodes by nfs, mount repository by nfs too)
- NFS resources temporaly on another vm. Soon to be moved to storage.
- vm linux with Oracle db 10.2

things to (never) do:
- change hosts file resolution to internal dns.
- implement curl to script apache balancer manager:


The ops team at Georgia Tech is continuing to add more VM capabilities to 
our hosting setup and are now asking about running Sakai on a VM setup.
Are there institutions out there that are using virtual machines in either a 
test environment or production? What kind of issues should we be aware of? 
How has your experience been with Sakai + VMs?
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