[CentOS] 10 Year old IT Infrastructure

Brian Mathis brian.mathis at gmail.com
Sat Oct 10 16:12:49 UTC 2009

On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 8:01 PM, Shawn Everett <shawn at tandac.com> wrote:
> Thanks to everyone for their comments so far.
> The "server" in question is a basic 2 node cluster connected to an MSA500.
> It runs a variety of applications including Oracle, Apache, Samba, and a
> proprietary app built by another vendor.
> The hardware is monitored, maintained and backed up regularly.
> The setup is mission critical to my client.  They spent a lot of time and
> money to make sure it wouldn't go down.
> The list's point is well taken that old *nix installs are very reliable
> long term.  I've had similar experiences.  Given this particular client's
> need for a reliable, stable, redundant system, I was contemplating
> alternatives or future upgrades rather than letting things age.
> Shawn

Another reason might be to avoid memory/data corruption.  Search
Google news for a recent report from Google about how they found more
memory errors than conventional wisdom has held to be expected.

However, consider this.  IT has a reputation among most businesses of
always wanting new toys.  Many times, they have a point and it seems
that IT is more interested in getting new things for no real reason.
This sounds like one of those times.

The better solution would be to make sure you are prepared for when
the hardware does fail.  Inform the client that you understand that
they don't want to upgrade the servers, and that hardware failure is
not a case of "if" but "when".  Lay out a plan to them describing what
would happen when that occurs, and how you will make sure that their
downtime is minimal.

My recommendation would be to look into VMware P2V conversion, and
test it out on one of the servers if you can.  Schedule a time to run
it once a month or so, and make sure any data that would change is
also backed up.  You could back it up to a $99 1TB external USB drive,
very cheap (just turn off the drive when you're done with the backup).
 When the servers finally die, you can bring up a new server, pop the
VM onto it, and they are back up and running.  You might not even need
P2V if you can rsync the entire system off to the external drive.  The
important thing here is to make sure you test bringing up the backup
system before you're in an emergency.

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