Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

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Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Perkins, Bradley D
Nabble shows I asked this back in 2009. There were a few responses that others had considered it, but I don't think anybody had done it at the time?

We've always run 4D Server on Windows, and Apache/4D/Active4D on Mac OS. I'm still running aging XServes that are due for replacement. I have some concerns about running Mac Minis 24/7/365 as web servers.
We've also moved some non-4D web applications to Amazon Web Services with good results. I still might host, but would consider moving  into the cloud.

Has anyone deployed Active4D running where 4D is running under a Windows OS virtual machine?  I'm specifically thinking of a situation where the host OS, Apache Web Server and the Windows VM would be running on Linux. Requests would hit Apache which would proxy them to 4D Windows running on the VM.

Also, has anyone had any notable issues moving 4D/Active4D from Mac to Windows? This would be v14.

Thanks,

Brad
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Re: Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Michael Larue-2
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 6:29:12 PM

Hi Brad,

> I have some concerns about running Mac Minis 24/7/365 as web servers

I've got a client using this setup; works like a charm. No down time at all (although their site is not heavily used). Am very, very, very happy with it; support is a dream. (Support? I think in 3 years I had one call, when they shut down the network for some reason and it went offline.) The office folks where it's at are not sophisticated users, and they have no problem doing any admin tasks using remote software.

> Has anyone deployed Active4D running where 4D is running under a Windows OS virtual machine?

I have another client with this setup, and it's nothing but a nightmare. Unless you've got the absolute best, top-of-the-line first class genius technical support (preferably someone sitting in front of the machine 24/7, can of Jolt in hand), along with NSA-level hardware and resources, you're going to be in for many, many, many headaches and hassles trying to keep the machine up and performing adequately.

Far too many times it just doesn't work correctly, and nobody seems to be able to figure out what the issue is. I've run remote stress tests, showing them the poor response, and they just shrug their shoulders and say it must be 4D. I have no idea what else they're running on it, but undoubtedly it must be something that spikes usage and kills the web server response (or locks it up completely). I believe if you do snapshots, this in particular tends to freeze up the machine and everything running on it.

If you value your sanity, stay far, far away from this setup (again, unless you've got God or one of his assistants sitting in front of the machine and who will cheerfully step in and perform miracles when required). Sure, IT loves VMs, because (in theory) its cheaper and easier for them to manage; unfortunately, IT often doesn't care too much if the software running on the machine doesn't perform optimally. (In your best Brooklyn accent, "it's running--waddya want anyway?") (Yes, I know part of the problem is also political; unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, problems are only compounded.)

In your case, if you're running Apache as the front end, perhaps you'll be able to avoid these issues (assuming it's not running in the VM, correct?). Don't know; you'll need to test.

There's a good article by Jonoke on server hardware:

http://www.jonoke.com/jonokemed/DatabaseServer.pdf

Skip to the last page, last line. You'll see their words of wisdom. (All caps if you happen to miss it. :-) And they certainly know 4D and the best setup for running it.

Good luck; hope my live and burn warning saves you some hair on your head...

Cheers!

Michael Larue

-------------------

On Apr 15, 2015, at 6:20 PM, Perkins, Bradley D <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Nabble shows I asked this back in 2009. There were a few responses that others had considered it, but I don't think anybody had done it at the time?
>
> We've always run 4D Server on Windows, and Apache/4D/Active4D on Mac OS. I'm still running aging XServes that are due for replacement. I have some concerns about running Mac Minis 24/7/365 as web servers.
> We've also moved some non-4D web applications to Amazon Web Services with good results. I still might host, but would consider moving  into the cloud.
>
> Has anyone deployed Active4D running where 4D is running under a Windows OS virtual machine?  I'm specifically thinking of a situation where the host OS, Apache Web Server and the Windows VM would be running on Linux. Requests would hit Apache which would proxy them to 4D Windows running on the VM.
>
> Also, has anyone had any notable issues moving 4D/Active4D from Mac to Windows? This would be v14.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Brad
> _______________________________________________
> Active4D-dev mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://list.aparajitaworld.com/listinfo/active4d-dev
> Archives: http://active4d-nabble.aparajitaworld.com/

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Re: Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Perkins, Bradley D
Michael,

Responses below. Still interested to hear if others have experience good
or bad.

>Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 6:29:12 PM
>
>Hi Brad,
>
>> I have some concerns about running Mac Minis 24/7/365 as web servers
>
>I've got a client using this setup; works like a charm. No down time at
>all (although their site is not heavily used). Am very, very, very happy
>with it; support is a dream. (Support? I think in 3 years I had one call,
>when they shut down the network for some reason and it went offline.) The
>office folks where it's at are not sophisticated users, and they have no
>problem doing any admin tasks using remote software.

That is good to hear. I have one mini running 24/7 that handles various
jobs and monitors remote servers. It stays busy. It occasionally becomes
unresponsive. I should probably just schedule a monthly reboot. The only
times I reboot my Xserves are when a security update requires it. I have
to reboot our Windows 4D DB servers far more often than the Macs. FWIW,
our Windows server hardware would be in spec with what Jonoke recommends.CM

>
>> Has anyone deployed Active4D running where 4D is running under a
>>Windows OS virtual machine?
>
>I have another client with this setup, and it's nothing but a nightmare.
><rest snipped>
>
>If you value your sanity, stay far, far away from this setup (again,
>unless you've got God or one of his assistants sitting in front of the
>machine and who will cheerfully step in and perform miracles when
>required). Sure, IT loves VMs, because (in theory) its cheaper and easier
>for them to manage; unfortunately, IT often doesn't care too much if the
>software running on the machine doesn't perform optimally. (In your best
>Brooklyn accent, "it's running--waddya want anyway?") (Yes, I know part
>of the problem is also political; unfortunately, if you find yourself in
>this situation, problems are only compounded.)
>
>In your case, if you're running Apache as the front end, perhaps you'll
>be able to avoid these issues (assuming it's not running in the VM,
>correct?). Don't know; you'll need to test.

Apache would be running under Linux on the server. I'd considered doing
this in a Virtual Environment at AWS or could host it myself. My
experience running non-4D web applications at AWS has been very good. I
don't admin the VMs, but the folks that do have not had bad experiences.
We've had one major AWS outage in 2+ years. We've had to restart Apache a
few times in that period.

If I ran the Linux server, 4D/Active4D would need to run under Windows in
a VM on that server. The VM would be on the same box. It would be the only
one and wouldn't be competing with other VMs.

Thanks for sharing your experience though. Maybe 4D doesn't run well in a
VM.

>
>
>There's a good article by Jonoke on server hardware:
>
>http://www.jonoke.com/jonokemed/DatabaseServer.pdf
>
>Skip to the last page, last line. You'll see their words of wisdom. (All
>caps if you happen to miss it. :-) And they certainly know 4D and the
>best setup for running it.
>
>Good luck; hope my live and burn warning saves you some hair on your
>head...

Thanks,

Brad

>
>Cheers!
>
>Michael Larue
>
>-------------------
>
>On Apr 15, 2015, at 6:20 PM, Perkins, Bradley D <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Nabble shows I asked this back in 2009. There were a few responses that
>>others had considered it, but I don't think anybody had done it at the
>>time?
>>
>> We've always run 4D Server on Windows, and Apache/4D/Active4D on Mac
>>OS. I'm still running aging XServes that are due for replacement. I have
>>some concerns about running Mac Minis 24/7/365 as web servers.
>> We've also moved some non-4D web applications to Amazon Web Services
>>with good results. I still might host, but would consider moving  into
>>the cloud.
>>
>> Has anyone deployed Active4D running where 4D is running under a
>>Windows OS virtual machine?  I'm specifically thinking of a situation
>>where the host OS, Apache Web Server and the Windows VM would be running
>>on Linux. Requests would hit Apache which would proxy them to 4D Windows
>>running on the VM.
>>
>> Also, has anyone had any notable issues moving 4D/Active4D from Mac to
>>Windows? This would be v14.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Brad
>> _______________________________________________
>> Active4D-dev mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://list.aparajitaworld.com/listinfo/active4d-dev
>> Archives: http://active4d-nabble.aparajitaworld.com/
>
>_______________________________________________
>Active4D-dev mailing list
>[hidden email]
>http://list.aparajitaworld.com/listinfo/active4d-dev
>Archives: http://active4d-nabble.aparajitaworld.com/
>


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Re: Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Michael Larue-2
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 7:49:14 PM

Hi Brad,

> [VM] It would be the only one and wouldn't be competing with other VMs.


Aha. That might work reasonably well. Basically you're using the VM as an emulation environment, right?

If there isn't anything else running/competing for resources in the VM, chances are it'll work OK. But be sure to test, and run a load stress test on it.

One person who know Linux extremely well is Rick Hazey ([hidden email]); he's also done some pretty impressive Active4D stuff in the past. I wouldn't hesitate to contact him with any questions you might have; tell him I sent you (so he can cuss me out for piling additional work on him... :-).

Again, good luck--hope this works. And report back on your experiences--always good to see what works/doesn't.

Cheers!

Michael

-------------------

On Apr 15, 2015, at 7:30 PM, Perkins, Bradley D <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Michael,
>
> Responses below. Still interested to hear if others have experience good
> or bad.
>
>> Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 6:29:12 PM
>>
>> Hi Brad,
>>
>>> I have some concerns about running Mac Minis 24/7/365 as web servers
>>
>> I've got a client using this setup; works like a charm. No down time at
>> all (although their site is not heavily used). Am very, very, very happy
>> with it; support is a dream. (Support? I think in 3 years I had one call,
>> when they shut down the network for some reason and it went offline.) The
>> office folks where it's at are not sophisticated users, and they have no
>> problem doing any admin tasks using remote software.
>
> That is good to hear. I have one mini running 24/7 that handles various
> jobs and monitors remote servers. It stays busy. It occasionally becomes
> unresponsive. I should probably just schedule a monthly reboot. The only
> times I reboot my Xserves are when a security update requires it. I have
> to reboot our Windows 4D DB servers far more often than the Macs. FWIW,
> our Windows server hardware would be in spec with what Jonoke recommends.CM
>
>>
>>> Has anyone deployed Active4D running where 4D is running under a
>>> Windows OS virtual machine?
>>
>> I have another client with this setup, and it's nothing but a nightmare.
>> <rest snipped>
>>
>> If you value your sanity, stay far, far away from this setup (again,
>> unless you've got God or one of his assistants sitting in front of the
>> machine and who will cheerfully step in and perform miracles when
>> required). Sure, IT loves VMs, because (in theory) its cheaper and easier
>> for them to manage; unfortunately, IT often doesn't care too much if the
>> software running on the machine doesn't perform optimally. (In your best
>> Brooklyn accent, "it's running--waddya want anyway?") (Yes, I know part
>> of the problem is also political; unfortunately, if you find yourself in
>> this situation, problems are only compounded.)
>>
>> In your case, if you're running Apache as the front end, perhaps you'll
>> be able to avoid these issues (assuming it's not running in the VM,
>> correct?). Don't know; you'll need to test.
>
> Apache would be running under Linux on the server. I'd considered doing
> this in a Virtual Environment at AWS or could host it myself. My
> experience running non-4D web applications at AWS has been very good. I
> don't admin the VMs, but the folks that do have not had bad experiences.
> We've had one major AWS outage in 2+ years. We've had to restart Apache a
> few times in that period.
>
> If I ran the Linux server, 4D/Active4D would need to run under Windows in
> a VM on that server. The VM would be on the same box. It would be the only
> one and wouldn't be competing with other VMs.
>
> Thanks for sharing your experience though. Maybe 4D doesn't run well in a
> VM.
>
>>
>>
>> There's a good article by Jonoke on server hardware:
>>
>> http://www.jonoke.com/jonokemed/DatabaseServer.pdf
>>
>> Skip to the last page, last line. You'll see their words of wisdom. (All
>> caps if you happen to miss it. :-) And they certainly know 4D and the
>> best setup for running it.
>>
>> Good luck; hope my live and burn warning saves you some hair on your
>> head...
>
> Thanks,
>
> Brad

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Re: Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Peter Gutbrod
In reply to this post by Perkins, Bradley D
Hi Brad,

I'm doing this for about 2-3 years. Runs perfectly smooth and rock solid.

You can run your Windows/4D vm and your Linux/Apache vm on the same
host. For best performance make sure the Windows/4D vm has plenty of RAM
allocated and you use a separate physical drives for the Windows/4D vm,
ideally a SSD.

Peter
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Re: Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Perkins, Bradley D
Peter,

Thanks for sharing your experience. If you don't mind can I ask you some
questions off list?

Best,

Brad

On 4/21/15 1:03 AM, "Peter Gutbrod" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hi Brad,
>
>I'm doing this for about 2-3 years. Runs perfectly smooth and rock solid.
>
>You can run your Windows/4D vm and your Linux/Apache vm on the same
>host. For best performance make sure the Windows/4D vm has plenty of RAM
>allocated and you use a separate physical drives for the Windows/4D vm,
>ideally a SSD.
>
>Peter
>_______________________________________________
>Active4D-dev mailing list
>[hidden email]
>http://list.aparajitaworld.com/listinfo/active4d-dev
>Archives: http://active4d-nabble.aparajitaworld.com/
>


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Timestamp function

Mike Vogt-2
Aparajita,
Would it be difficult to make the timestamp function available to 4D clients? It would be nice if both the web clients and 4D clients could assign it to a field.

Regards,
Mike Vogt

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Re: Timestamp function

Aparajita Fishman
> Would it be difficult to make the timestamp function available to 4D clients?

Use the plugin command A4D_ExecuteText.

Regards,

  Aparajita

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Re: Timestamp function

Mike Vogt-2
Got it, thanks!

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aparajita Fishman
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 11:57 AM
To: Active4D Developer Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Active4d-dev] Timestamp function

> Would it be difficult to make the timestamp function available to 4D clients?

Use the plugin command A4D_ExecuteText.

Regards,

  Aparajita

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Re: Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

claytondonahue
In reply to this post by Perkins, Bradley D
Hi Brad,

Apologies if this thread is getting a bit stale, but I did want to chime in with our experiences, as we may have been one of the original posts on this topic a few years back ...

We run approximately two dozen VMs on a three-host VMWare cluster. This includes both "production" and "staging" machines. Of these, four are production 4D databases. Similarly to what you're proposing, we also run an Apache VM on an Ubuntu 14.04 install that serves as a front-end reverse-proxy for the applications.

As far as the physical setup, the servers themselves were pretty top-of-the-line when we originally provisioned them. Dual-processor with a healthy dose or RAM. We back these up with two SAN storage devices, one of which uses SAS drives (for the production VMs) and another older device using SATA drives (for staging, non-critical machines). Overall, we've been largely happy with this setup over the years. A few takeaways:

- Add as much RAM as you can and spend money on your disks. We've had issues with some of our SANs and they can be a major source of headaches. The new VSAN tech in VMWare 6.0 is looking like it might be a promising alternative to networked storage, though.
- Have the initial setup be done by someone who deals with VMWare on a daily basis. I can't even begin to describe the amount of black magic and voodoo behind some of the setup options that I've seen folks fiddling with, but it makes an enormous difference performance-wise.
- Depending on the setup, you may see a performance drop in moving from fast local hardware on bare iron, to a virtualized environment. But ...
- The ability to spin up new VMs, take snapshots, have high-availability failover is really nice.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like any more details on our experience with this setup.

Thanks,
- Clayton


Clayton Donahue
iVantage Health Analytics(r)
300 Chestnut St., Suite 101 | Needham, MA 02492
direct: 781.247.2071 | office: 781.449.5287
email: [hidden email] | iVantageHealth.com

________________________________________
From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Perkins, Bradley D <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 10:16 AM
To: Active4D Developer Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Active4d-dev] Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Peter,

Thanks for sharing your experience. If you don't mind can I ask you some
questions off list?

Best,

Brad

On 4/21/15 1:03 AM, "Peter Gutbrod" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hi Brad,
>
>I'm doing this for about 2-3 years. Runs perfectly smooth and rock solid.
>
>You can run your Windows/4D vm and your Linux/Apache vm on the same
>host. For best performance make sure the Windows/4D vm has plenty of RAM
>allocated and you use a separate physical drives for the Windows/4D vm,
>ideally a SSD.
>
>Peter
>_______________________________________________
>Active4D-dev mailing list
>[hidden email]
>http://list.aparajitaworld.com/listinfo/active4d-dev
>Archives: http://active4d-nabble.aparajitaworld.com/
>


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Re: Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)

Perkins, Bradley D
Clayton,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll PM you as this effort evolves.

-- Brad

On 5/7/15 2:03 PM, "Clayton Donahue" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hi Brad,
>
>Apologies if this thread is getting a bit stale, but I did want to chime
>in with our experiences, as we may have been one of the original posts on
>this topic a few years back ...
>
>We run approximately two dozen VMs on a three-host VMWare cluster. This
>includes both "production" and "staging" machines. Of these, four are
>production 4D databases. Similarly to what you're proposing, we also run
>an Apache VM on an Ubuntu 14.04 install that serves as a front-end
>reverse-proxy for the applications.
>
>As far as the physical setup, the servers themselves were pretty
>top-of-the-line when we originally provisioned them. Dual-processor with
>a healthy dose or RAM. We back these up with two SAN storage devices, one
>of which uses SAS drives (for the production VMs) and another older
>device using SATA drives (for staging, non-critical machines). Overall,
>we've been largely happy with this setup over the years. A few takeaways:
>
>- Add as much RAM as you can and spend money on your disks. We've had
>issues with some of our SANs and they can be a major source of headaches.
>The new VSAN tech in VMWare 6.0 is looking like it might be a promising
>alternative to networked storage, though.
>- Have the initial setup be done by someone who deals with VMWare on a
>daily basis. I can't even begin to describe the amount of black magic and
>voodoo behind some of the setup options that I've seen folks fiddling
>with, but it makes an enormous difference performance-wise.
>- Depending on the setup, you may see a performance drop in moving from
>fast local hardware on bare iron, to a virtualized environment. But ...
>- The ability to spin up new VMs, take snapshots, have high-availability
>failover is really nice.
>
>Feel free to PM me if you'd like any more details on our experience with
>this setup.
>
>Thanks,
>- Clayton
>
>
>Clayton Donahue
>iVantage Health Analytics(r)
>300 Chestnut St., Suite 101 | Needham, MA 02492
>direct: 781.247.2071 | office: 781.449.5287
>email: [hidden email] | iVantageHealth.com
>
>________________________________________
>From: [hidden email]
><[hidden email]> on behalf of Perkins, Bradley D
><[hidden email]>
>Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 10:16 AM
>To: Active4D Developer Discussion List
>Subject: Re: [Active4d-dev] Active4D running in a VM? (revisited)
>
>Peter,
>
>Thanks for sharing your experience. If you don't mind can I ask you some
>questions off list?
>
>Best,
>
>Brad
>
>On 4/21/15 1:03 AM, "Peter Gutbrod" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>Hi Brad,
>>
>>I'm doing this for about 2-3 years. Runs perfectly smooth and rock solid.
>>
>>You can run your Windows/4D vm and your Linux/Apache vm on the same
>>host. For best performance make sure the Windows/4D vm has plenty of RAM
>>allocated and you use a separate physical drives for the Windows/4D vm,
>>ideally a SSD.
>>
>>Peter
>>_______________________________________________
>>Active4D-dev mailing list
>>[hidden email]
>>http://list.aparajitaworld.com/listinfo/active4d-dev
>>Archives: http://active4d-nabble.aparajitaworld.com/
>>
>
>
>_______________________________________________
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>Archives: http://active4d-nabble.aparajitaworld.com/
>


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