Bill Carney's picture

Here is my situation: I own a Windows based webhosting business.  I have the opportunity to pick up a client (friend, actually) that is currently running Scoop - he wants to switch to Drupal.  I don't know diddly about LInux, and frankly don't have a lot of time to master it right now.  I downloaded the Drupal appliance from here and had it up and running in a VMWare Fusion virtual machine in a few minutes, and had it customized for him within a couple of hours.

Would it be advisable to use this VMWare image in a production environment?  Are there any reasons I *shouldn't* be using it to host his site?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Liraz Siri's picture

Allow me to break down your question into two parts.

1) Should you be using virtualization (e.g., VMWare) in production?

Answer: Virtualization is used on a massive scale in production every day. Compared with a physical machine, a virtual machine is in my opinion actually more production worthy, because it is easier to backup, easier to migrate to a more powerful machine, less prone to interact with hardware in strange and unpredictable ways, etc. At this stage, it's a proven technology that has already entered mainstream adoption.

2) Should I be using TurnKey software appliance in production?

Answer: First, I'll assume you've read my answer regarding use of current beta appliances in production.

Let me put it like this: underneath the hood, TurnKey software appliances are Ubuntu, not magic (yet). Our appliances give you a better starting point than manually doing all of the integration yourself, but regardless of whether or not you start from scratch or start from one of our appliances you will eventually end up with a pretty standard Ubuntu Linux server.

In my experience, Ubuntu is a solid platform and it has plenty of production users on the server-side. However just like with any other type of system, there are endless ways in which things can go wrong and for mission critical applications you need to be prepared to handle the worst. A basic backup strategy will go a long way. Virtual machines are especially easy to backup and recover so there is really no excuse not to. If your client anticipates growth, you'll want to think about implementing some kind of resource monitoring so you know when it's time to migrate your appliance to a more powerful machine or to a distributed setup. Or, depending on your tolerance levels, you could just wait for users to complain about poor performance...

Also, if the extra comfort level is worth the cost, your client may want to purchase a commercial support package for Ubuntu.

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