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Old 11-17-2005, 01:41 PM   #1
ZiGiE
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Question Thinking to set up Tomcat server


My boss decided to migrate an Apache Tomcat web server from Windows to a linux machine. I have a few questions and would like to hear people's opinion.

So the goal is to have an Apache web server with Tomcat running on a linux machine. Pretty much a bare bones installation. The only things we need on this machine are: Apache, Tomcat, Java 1.4.x, a basic database to store session info (MySQL?), Ant (?), samba client (?), SSH access - that's it. It is going to be a public web server with a pretty heavy load on it. We do have funds to purchase RHEL or SUSE.

Now the main question is:
which distro should we go with? We want a very robust, secure and reliable web server with only purpose to serve dynamic JSP and static web content to a very large audience. We do NOT need PHP, DHCP, GUI, mail, FTP, DNS, or anything else on this machine.

Any suggestions and idea are welcome. What do you think is the best way to go on this one? I would also appreciate any links to resources on how to set up Tomcat+Apache, secure a server, etc.
 
Old 11-17-2005, 04:24 PM   #2
stickman
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If you are already familiar with managing a certain distro, you should probably continue on with it unless you have issues with it. I've run a similar setup to what you are proposing on RHEL and FC4 without issues.
 
Old 11-18-2005, 06:38 AM   #3
tijn_sol
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Erhm sorry, only reason why you would do that is if your compagny want the redhat support.

i suggest you choose a simple non-graphical distro like Debian.
 
Old 11-18-2005, 11:52 AM   #4
ZiGiE
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I saw a lot of posts in the forum that mention RPM hell and say RHEL doesn't play nice with software that needs to be compiled manually. Can anyone explain this to me? I don't have much familiarity with RPMs, I've only used Slackware until now. Also, I'm not sure I can make full use of Red Hat Support since they don't have a pre-packaged Tomcat (I believe). If they did, I wouldn't be even asking these questions in the first place.
 
Old 11-18-2005, 01:20 PM   #5
dbogdan
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My 2c...

I manage many SLES8/SLE9 and OES servers and have yet to run across RPM hell, it all depends on what you are trying to install on them, fortunatley for me Novell provides everything that I need on those boxes for them to do their functions so I know that the RPM's I get from them will work.

Of course, my personal workstation on the other hand......



anywho, take a look at SLES9, it comes with Tomcat/Apache/Jakarta all in a nice 'supported' package.

http://www.novell.com/products/linux..._products_sles


For a complete list of packages included with SLS9.

http://www.novell.com/products/linux...index_all.html
 
Old 11-18-2005, 03:32 PM   #6
ZiGiE
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Quote:
Originally posted by dbogdan
anywho, take a look at SLES9, it comes with Tomcat/Apache/Jakarta all in a nice 'supported' package.

http://www.novell.com/products/linux..._products_sles


For a complete list of packages included with SLS9.

http://www.novell.com/products/linux...index_all.html
Excellent! That is really good to know. It will definitely simplify the setup and maintenance. I'll let my boss know right away see if he's willing to buy SLES.

If there are any other suggestions, by all means keep them coming.
 
Old 11-18-2005, 04:03 PM   #7
ZiGiE
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OK, I passed the info up to my management. Just in case, I'd like to get some more info on "free" options like Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, etc. My reasoning is that since this server is going to have very little software on it and provide a very specific service, is it worth to pay $350 a year for support? Maybe it would be cheaper to spend time researching, setting up and configuring a free distro? Let's say if we go to the opposite side of the spectrum and go with something like Gentoo. Would it be too difficult to setup a well configured and secured web server with Tomcat without having any prior knowledge of the Gentoo (insert other distros here)?

Any opinions?
 
Old 11-18-2005, 06:06 PM   #8
dbogdan
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You can more that likely get any popular linux distro to do what you want , perhaps some will require a bit more research and effort but it's certainly accomplishable.

If you're under a time constraint to get something running, perhaps spend the $350 for just 1 year and get SLES and support to help get you going, then spend the time after you have a solution running to research alternatives and build your skillset.

Obiviously, I'm partial to SLES since it's such an integral part of the day to day operations of the company I work for and I couldn't be happier but the decision is of course yours.

I've also had good luck building secure and reliable servers with Slackware and Debian...


Mabye research some apache specific forums/newsgroups and ask in there what's the preferred distro.

either way, good luck with your searching.
 
Old 11-18-2005, 06:09 PM   #9
ZiGiE
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Thanks for the advice, dbogdan. I'll snoop around at Apache site.

Meanwhile, I'm still open to other suggestions, comments, opinions.
 
Old 11-22-2005, 05:02 PM   #10
stickman
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I think you find that your distro support for Tomcat will be limited to getting it up an running. They probably won't support your custom app inside it. Your distro choice is basically what you're comfortable with running. There's nothing special with Apache or Tomcat the would prevent it from being built on a current distro.

As far as configuring, tuning, and securing your sever once it's running, this is largely dependant on the skillset you have available and the coding practices that you have in place. For some companies, it's not worth spending a recurring $350 if they have a skillset available. I've run Tomcat on a variety of platforms (ie Fedora, OpenSuse, etc), and the problems that I've run into deal with the custom app rather than Tomcat.
 
Old 11-25-2005, 10:36 AM   #11
ZiGiE
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Quote:
Originally posted by stickman
I think you find that your distro support for Tomcat will be limited to getting it up an running. They probably won't support your custom app inside it. Your distro choice is basically what you're comfortable with running. There's nothing special with Apache or Tomcat the would prevent it from being built on a current distro.
I didn't expect NOVELL to support the actual application we're planning to run. My concerns were about Tomcat + Apache: installation, configuration, maintenance, upgrade, etc.

Quote:
As far as configuring, tuning, and securing your sever once it's running, this is largely dependant on the skillset you have available and the coding practices that you have in place. For some companies, it's not worth spending a recurring $350 if they have a skillset available. I've run Tomcat on a variety of platforms (ie Fedora, OpenSuse, etc), and the problems that I've run into deal with the custom app rather than Tomcat.
The skill set we have is very limited, so it is hard to say whether it will be cheaper and less problematic to just pay for the license or to train one or more employees in order to create the skill set required.

So far we decided to test couple of distros and see how easy/difficult it is to set up the server we need with the knowledge we have. I started with SLES 9, and so far I've been very impressed. I was able to get minimal server installation without graphical desktop and other junk and still have the YaST available to me through SSH. Yay to ncurses! So that gave me a very nice central control panel from which I can do almost anything and without having to dig through many manuals and looking for many config files to change. Installing Tomcat and Apache with mod_jk connector was pretty easy, no need to compile anything. I doubt any other distro will be as easy to setup.

It makes me wonder, though, is OpenSUSE 10 going to be just as easy to deal with? Because if it is, maybe it isn't worth paying for support? Well, test will show. I'll keep you posted. Next I'm planning to try OpenSUSE 10 and then Debian.

Again, if you have any suggestions, advice, comments they are more than welcome.

Last edited by ZiGiE; 11-25-2005 at 10:37 AM.
 
  


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