May 2009

VMware, Apache, MySQL, and PHP Performance Tuning

I posted a few weeks back that Pleth had transitioned some of their equipment over to VMware Server and for the most part it's been a very smooth process. But, as of late we've ran into some slowdowns, especially on the VPS with Plesk (which happens to host several of our websites). After doing a bunch of research and spending many a late hour digging through tons of mpstat and other sysutils data I think I found the culprit(s).

VMware Server, unlike the ESX/ESXi products, does not run in a Type 1 Hypervisor. This means that the underlying OS (in our case Red Hat Enterprise Linux was tuned out of the box for a general all-purpose server. This configuration isn't always optimal for a Type 2 Hypervisor. It works just fine as long as things are "normal," but as the new VMware server got a larger load (in terms of I/O and CPU) performance went downhill.

Mod Security is good for you!

Since I'm back, I've got a few days worth of log files to dig through. A couple of years ago an old legacy PHP script Pleth was running wasn't very secure, but was critical to the operations of a particular customer. It got hacked (well, they used it to upload a C99Shell) a couple of times before the vendor released an update. Scouring the internet for a solution, I learned of Mod Mod Security, an application firewall of sorts. It runs as a module in your Apache configuration and uses a set of user-configurable rules files to detect and prevent a number of attacks against a website. The rules list has a huge community backing, and people have written rules for about every vulnerability out there. Open Source is good no? Anyway, as I was digging through those files today it kinda shocked me to see just how much stuff mod_sec blocked. The internet is a dangerous place.....

Back to the grind.....

Well, the weekend is officially over. I can only imagine what this shortened week will bring. Pleth is going to be busy I'm sure, and pre-registration for Summer I at UACCB, which should be interesting. I'm teaching Intro to Computers and Macroeconomics in June, and it looks like both classes will have enough students to meet. Anyway, today I spent all day today cleaning on my apartment and then helping Candy with hers. She came over this morning and I cooked the typical eggs/sausage/biscuits (yes, homemade)/hash browns (yes, homemade). More cleaning! Sweeping/mopping/vacuuming/dusting/etc... LAUNDRY galore! Being gone for a week put me behind...I hate housework. Discovery has been playing Deadliest Catch all weekend, so caught bits and pieces of that whilst pushing a broom. For dinner, I cooked an awesome Boeuf à la mode (aka French-style pot roast) from a nice Sirloin Tip Roast and some Herb Roasted Potatoes. Roast beef sandwiches tomorrow anyone? I love french food....

Memorial Day

If you've enjoyed today and will enjoy Monday (a day off for most of us), thank a veteran! Just coming back from France and seeing the American Cemetery in Normandy really made me stop and think about things.... The freedoms we have are all because of the sacrifices of soldiers from all walks of life. Tell one you appreciate them!

Figuring this thing out....

Well it's been a couple of weeks since I started this blogging thing. I did it mostly to try to understand some of these web development frameworks (this one is built in Drupal actually function. It's been a good learning experience, although I've got about a billion other things left to learn. Anyway, don't be surprised if you see strange boxes and code pop up all over the page. The best way to learn is through experimentation right?? (and it's also the reason we make backups...lol)

Plesk and the Continuing Saga of My Car (aka the bad comedy)

I got home from France last night at 10pm, went to bed at 11 (had to call everyone and tell them I made it), and was up again at 6am this morning. Did I mention that total awake time yesterday was 25hrs? anyway, I went on over to Pleth this morning to fix the problem they've been having with a server. Every single time I get on an airplane, something breaks with one of their servers. Last year when we took the kids to France, I got frantic phone calls while in Little Rock and Houston, and when I was going to Bulgaria I spent an hour on the phone in Atlanta trying to walk them through something. This year, the whole thing crashed as we were starting to board our flight to Paris. Go figure.

Postmortem

Ugh. That's how I felt when I got up this morning at 6am. I have been up all day trying to keep some degree of busy as to ward off jet-lag. But, since I'm home, I did manage to go find a Dr. Pepper since they are non-existent in Europe. My friend Tsanko takes them home to his dad in Bulgaria. lol.....

To those at UACCB who've been following us we all made it home in one piece! And Bill bought too many knights/crusaders/crests/Faberge Eggs/etc. He has quite the collection! Will didn't lose his passport any more (and we didn't leave him there either, although Roy offered to pay me to do just that).

Something tells me I will go to bed early tonight....

Day 8 - Bon Voyage

After the gargantuan meal that we had last night, no one wanted to get up this morning. Well, that and the fact that leaving Paris is bittersweet - on the one hand, there are those at home who we love and miss and on the other there's this city that just captivates you in more ways than can be explained. We left our apartment at about 7:25 this morning, and as we walked by the local greengrocer he stopped me to say goodbye (I'd become a regular and told him I was leaving last night). Took Metro 6 to Denfert-Rochereau and connected to RER B to Aeroport Charles de Gaulle. The train was crowded when we first got on, but after passing Gare du Nord, it pretty much cleared out. Check in and security clearance took about an hour, and we stopped at the little cafe in the terminal to get one last crossiant. We borded the plane at about 10:45 and finally got in the air about 11:30.

Day 7 - Old Friends and Interesting Sights....

Well, our last day in Paris. My last day of vacation. Can I please have a few more euro and a few more weeks? What can I say? I couldn't ever say that I've truly seen Paris. Or France. Who can? Some try to see it via car, others by train, others by foot, and in July about 200 attempt to see it via Bicycle for 3 weeks. But, for what's its worth, we've experienced it. We saw amazing sights, historical venues, ate amazing food, walked famous streets among a thousand other things.

Today, Bill and Mike went to Versailles, while Wilbur and I went for yet another walkabout to yet another area of Paris. We actually started out at Pigalle to see the famous Moulin Rouge and thats where the interesting stuff started.

I must say I saw the two most disgusting things ever at the same time today. First, some hooker-looking lady hitting people up for a peep show and then a Starbucks Coffee Shop. Only thing worse would have been a TGIMcFunsters on the corner.

Day 6 - Much slower pace...

Well, day 6 was a much slower day. The problem most tourists have is that they have to jump from point to point to place to place to "see all the good stuff" when in fact, they walk past most of it without even knowing it. Mike and Bill went to Chartres to see the giant cathedral there. Will and I went on a much different trek. We took the metro to Bastille where we wandered the open-air markets and shops around that part of town, and kept walking until we finally decided to go to Opera to see the Palais Garnier (The Opera House). Saw more than a few gypsies, and then wandered into the Galleries Layfayette, a massive department store of the very finest kind (check the pictures!!). Wandered back to the apartment pretty slowly, taking in the different sites, sounds, and smells. These things are what differentiates a traveler from a tourist.