It’s been exceedingly quiet around here for a few weeks. There’s a lot that’s going on at work ( and outside of work, exactly three months until there’s some iTunes music store account merging 😉 ).
The biggest issue at work has been diving into VMWare and trying to figure out something, anything better than Apache CGI for delivering our Rails-based eXtension Applications. Lighttpd is one of the current darlings of the Rails community — because its FastCGI support, well, works. But with an already large list of software we are dealing with, I have been really, really, really loathe to deal with Spawn FCGI issues and processes and proxying Apache with Lighttpd. I wanted simple, simple for me, simple to fit into the model of Apache hosts that we already have with MediaWiki, and simple for the developers deploying their Rails apps.
Enter Mongrel. We haven’t tested it yet, but from a setup perspective, I couldn’t be happier. (I have tested a svn co’d version of Heureka — our custom developed FAQ tool and it works — and that actually says something for web applications — they usually just work or absolutely don’t 😉 )
I’m confident enough in Mongrel that I’m breaking every tenet I hold for not running pre-release software — and I’ve deployed the latest stuff (to be “release” tomorrow though 🙂 ) along with the latest Mongrel Cluster release from Bradley Taylor.
Apache happily proxies to Mongrel, Mongrel happily runs in daemon mode (need to start monitoring the processes though!), and I can give the devs the ability to sudo -u mongrel mongrel_rails cluster::stop/start and it will run their applications happily proxied back through Apache. At some point we can even play some other games with Apache and make sure it delivers something static back to the user if the mongrel daemon goes belly up.
For the first time in two weeks I felt a bit of actual peace at where we go with this Rails deployment thing. Of course Friday afternoon, a Dell RAC card decided to fail (I think) in the server-to-be-a-DB-server. My karmic punishment I guess for having the audacity to be at peace for a time. No peace ever for the Systems Manager 😉