Monday, 8 January 2007

Virtual Jiggery Pokery

Now that our Manchester server is up and running the main thrust of the work this week has been on moving our company wide reporting system over to this new facility. After tests last week the performance of the system running over the VPN has been very pleasing and even large queries over the accounts database for invoice reports is perfectly acceptable.

A little background on the reporting system would be useful at this point I suppose or this won't mean a whole lot!

Basically the system is a PHP web application with a Flash front end, the key aspect of this system is the excel spreadsheet writer pear module for PHP. The reason for this approach is that most reporting systems, crystal, jasper etc etc can create very nice reports but the emphasis is on each report being a presentable document. Although you can export or generate reports in excel the approach we have taken is to allow a shopping basket of reports to generate a whole workbook full of sub reports which can then be analysed in a much more convenient manner without having to amalgamate reports or remove excess formatting.

One problem we have found today was an odd quirk with our virtual servers. We currently have 4 virtual CentOS machines running on a VMware server installation and the original intention was to have a separate machine for each function ie. one for MySQL, one for the web application, one for NAGIOS (after the problems with our thin client) and one for stuff :o)

The problem we found, which is quite probably my fault, is that accessing the MySQL database on the virtual host from the web application server on another virtual host was sooooo slow it was useless. Therefore we have now had to install MySQL on the same host and all is well but I am not sure that this is how we will want our system long term.

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A view from the rack is the personal blog of an IT manager who works for a pub company - hence beer