Retirement Planning for Servers

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:35 PM

 

Many of our clients have been using the same server to host their Inmagic software and other database and collection management systems for many years now. The software may have been upgraded and modified over the years and the server may now contain an undocumented collection of no-longer-in use files, databases and older versions of software. It may be running an older OS such as Windows Server 2003 and the hardware may be getting long in the tooth as well.

Given all of the above, it may very well be time for some server retirement planning. It’s always better to replace a server while it’s still running than to have it fail and have to scramble to get a new one going with all your applications and data. Assuming you have good backup procedures in place, you should be able to recover from a failure, but it’s still better to replace in advance.

The first step in a server renewal process is to audit and document the current server, looking in particular at:

  • the applications and data currently installed;
  • users who need access or may have desktop components on their workstations; 
  • backup procedures; and
  • folder permissions.

With a clear picture of the current environment, the next step is to provision a new server. The trend these days, at least among organizations of a certain size, is to spin up a new virtual server dedicated to a particular workgroup or business unit. This is usually a Windows 2008 server, but we expect Windows Server 2012 to become the norm soon. Virtual servers do require a license for the operating system, but as they are virtual, there is no new hardware required.  Multiple virtual servers can be hosted on one physical machine and can be readily moved to new hosts, simplifying ongoing management.

The next step is a fresh installation of Inmagic DB/TextWorks, WebPublisher, Genie and other software on the new server, and migration of data and specific configuration settings or applications. Andornot often assists clients with planning and implementing this step. 

With the new server running, be sure also to ensure that appropriate backup procedures are in place, and tested.

This approach gives you a well-built, correctly-installed, fresh, reliable platform on which to work, using the latest versions of all your applications.

An alternative is to outsource some or all of the software hosting to Andornot. Our data centre hosts both Inmagic and other applications at costs competitive with managing your own infrastructure.

This can also be a time to look at adding new features or programs to improve your service delivery. For example, a discovery interface style of search engine for your data provides the features that users now expect of web applications.

As always, contact us for advice or our help planning and performing any upgrades. We can help with both Inmagic and other applications and data on the server. Even if you don’t need to replace the server itself, we can help you organize and clean up your Inmagic files and textbases, test your backup procedures, and ensure the server is in good shape, both now and for a future replacement time.

 

ClamAV on Windows 2008 x64 update

by Peter Tyrrell Friday, February 19, 2010 10:19 AM

Further to my previous post which describes how to install and run ClamAV as a service on Windows, here is extra info on what is required for Windows Server 2008 x64, discovered the hard way, through trial and error, by the persistent IT brains at SET-BC (Special Education Technology British Columbia). Particular thanks to IT Manager Gordon Eddy.

Configuring ClamD and FreshClam services

No special configuration is needed for the services. Clam and FreshClam both run fine under Local System, with automatic start and defaults for other service settings. The service account needs read/write access to C:\ClamAV, which it would have by default if Local System is used.

Starting the services

If the ClamD service is started from the services UI and there is no database, or the database is no good, it will fail silently. This could lead one off on a long goose chase looking at service accounts, permissions, service settings, etc. trying to figure out why the service won’t run, when in fact all you need is to run FreshClam once to get a good database, and then ClamD will run fine.

Run FreshClam immediately after installing ClamAV, before trying to run the ClamD service the first time. If FreshClam reports corruption or other problems with the existing database files, delete everything in ..\data and run FreshClam again.

There is no useful error info returned when trying to start ClamD from the services UI. On the other hand, starting it from a command prompt using "NET START CLAMD" does return a bit of useful info. Executing it directly as "clamd.exe --daemon" also returns some (different) info.

Registry setting required

There is a registry file in the ..\docs folder called clamav.reg that contains some path information. The docs seem to be saying that this is not necessary unless you are running Clam from somewhere other than the default location. We found this is not true. Even if installed to C:\ClamAV, Clam will not run without this info in the registry.

TCPAddr setting required

In clamd.config, the comments suggest that the TCPAddr setting is optional. It is not. Set it to the address at which ClamD should respond. If this is missing, the Clamd service will run, but will not respond to requests.

How to install Webpublisher on 64-bit IIS 7

by Peter Tyrrell Friday, May 02, 2008 5:37 PM

Further to my post called Webpublisher on Windows Vista, here is how to install Inmagic Webpublisher on IIS 7 in a 64-bit environment such as Windows Vista x64 or Windows Server 2008 x64.

These instructions are valid for DB/Text Webpublisher as well as CS/Webpublisher. Steps 1 - 5 are valid for 32-bit IIS 7 as well.

1. Ensure IIS is enabled

This screenshot shows which IIS features are enabled on my Vista x64 machine. The highlighted one is particularly important (IIS metabase and IIS 6 configuration compatibility).

iis7_vista_features_on

2. Install Inmagic Webpublisher

Follow the usual Inmagic install instructions.

3. Enable ISAPI-dll handler mapping on dbtw-wpd or ics-wpd virtual directory

Open the IIS Manager.

Open the Handler Mappings for the dbtw-wpd or ics-wpd virtual directory. (Figure below shows dbtw-wpd.)

dbtw-wpd

The ISAPI-dll handler is disabled by default.

isapi-dll_disabled

Enable the ISAPI-dll handler: right-click it, choose "Edit Feature Permissions", and check the "Execute" box. Click OK.

isapi-dll_enabled

4. Set the Webpublisher dll as an allowed restriction

In the IIS Manager, click on the machine root - this is the top level of the tree in the left column, which shows the machine name. You should see a number of machine-level features, including "ISAPI and CGI Restrictions", as below. If you do not see "ISAPI and CGI Restrictions", you have not properly enabled IIS settings in step 1.

machine_root

Open ISAPI and CGI Restrictions.

You may see Inmagic Webpublisher as an allowed restriction already. The path will point to the install location of dbtwpub.dll or icswppro.dll, depending on which version of Webpublisher you installed.

If you do not see Inmagic Webpublisher as an allowed restriction, you must add it. (Figure below shows DB/Text Webpublisher.)

add_restriction

5. Create an application pool for Webpublisher

Open Application Pools from the IIS Manager.

Add a new application pool to be used with Webpublisher, called "WebpublisherAppPool".

wpp_apppool

Go to the dbtw-wpd or ics-wpd virtual directory and open its Advanced Settings. Set the Application Pool to the new WebpublisherAppPool just created.

6. Enable 32-bit applications on the Webpublisher application pool

Open Application Pools from the IIS Manager.

Right-click on WebpublisherAppPool and select Advanced Settings.

Set "Enable 32-Bit Applications" to true. Click OK.

apppool_enable32bit

7. Get a drink. You're done.

Whatever drink you like. I like red wine, or on a hot day, gin and tonic.

Some more explanation

Whereas in IIS 6 you could run worker processes in either 32-bit or 64-bit mode, but not both, IIS 7 can run 32-bit and 64-bit worker processes simultaneously. And, as the above instructions make implicitly clear, you can set this behaviour on individual application pools.

 

Inmagic WebPublisher web data entry on Vista (IIS 7)

by Peter Tyrrell Thursday, April 12, 2007 12:35 PM

Inmagic WebPublisher PRO depends on classic ASP for its out-of-the-box web data entry. Vista does not, by default, enable ASP. You must enable it through the Control Panel:

Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features on or off > Internet Information Services > World Wide Web Services > ASP - Check!

Once you've done this, the IIS Manager will add ASP as an allowed ISAPI and CGI Restriction at the machine level, and add a new feature called ASP at the machine level. 

Of course, this does not absolve you of the necessity to set up the right permissions for WebPublisher to update the textbase via the web, but at least you can follow WebPublisher's setup instructions knowing your IIS 7 webserver is ready to handle ASP.

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