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Friday, May 22, 2009

From localhost to live in 60 minutes using GoGrid

I made an experiment today. The question I wanted to answer was this:
Given a locally developed ESXX application, running on my laptop, how long would it take to go live, assuming you own no servers or Internet connection suitable for such deployment?

For this, I turned to my favourite grid/cloud service, GoGrid. GoGrid is pretty amazing. With just a few clicks in their admin UI, you can create all kinds of servers in their data center, and they will be available online within minutes. Pretty cool stuff, and a perfect match for ESXX, considering the "friendliness" factor!

The app I tested was the Ajax Blog tutorial, which is available as one of the examples in the ESXX distribution.

So I logged in to my GoGrid account and created a "Web/App Server" called "ajax-blog" using the 64-bit CentOS 5.1/Apache 2.2 image. About 15 minutes later, the server was online and I could log in as the root user. After a "yum update" and a reboot, the system was updated to CentOS 5.3 and ready to be configured according to my requirements.

All in all, setting up the "hardware" and the base OS took about two minutes of work and forty minutes of waiting.

First up: software installation. We need to add the ESXX RPM repository, install Java and (unfortunately) we also need to compile mod_fastcgi ourselves. No big deal.

[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# cat > /etc/yum.repos.d/esxx.repo

[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# yum install esxx java-1.6.0-openjdk httpd-devel.x86_64
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# service esxx start
Starting esxx: [ OK ]
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# wget
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# tar xfz mod_fastcgi-2.4.6.tar.gz
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# cd mod_fastcgi-2.4.6
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 mod_fastcgi-2.4.6]# make -f Makefile.AP2 top_dir=/usr/lib64/httpd/ local-install
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 mod_fastcgi-2.4.6]#

Time to install our ESXX app. We'll create a copy of the Ajax Blog tutorial in /var/www/ajax-blog and tweak the settings a bit:

[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# cp -r /usr/share/doc/esxx/examples/ajax-blog /var/www/
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# chgrp apache /var/www/ajax-blog/
[root@17914_1_20449_109821 ~]# chmod g+w /var/www/ajax-blog/

Edit /var/www/ajax-blog/blog.js and change the line that creates the 'blog' object to include the full path of the SQL database and a new admin password:

XML.ignoreWhitespace = false;
XML.prettyPrinting = false;

var blog = new Blog("jdbc:h2:/var/www/ajax-blog/Blog", "admin", "secret");

Next, create the file /etc/httpd/conf.d/ajax-blog.conf as follows:
LoadModule fastcgi_module modules/

FastCGIExternalServer /usr/sbin/esxx -host localhost:7654 -pass-header Authorization

# Install handler for all '*.esxx' files
AddType text/x-esxx .esxx
Action text/x-esxx /cgi-bin-esxx
ScriptAlias /cgi-bin-esxx /usr/sbin/esxx

# The Ajax Blog
Alias /blog /var/www/ajax-blog/public
RedirectMatch ^/blog/?$ /blog/index.esxx

Restart httpd, and yeah, that's it. The app is now live and you should be able to visit it at http://YOUR-SERVER-IP/blog/. How's that for friendly deployment?

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