PUC Website Moves to a VM in the Cloud

Mon, Aug. 1, 2011

The Pacific Union College website had a problem. Our servers were nearing 5 years old, both of them out of warranty and feeling very slow with aging hardware. Our version of Squiz Matrix was 3.24.3, a version which came out on December 7, 2009. I had patched in a few of the newer features of Matrix such as more SOAP methods and JS API methods, but it was starting to feel like a patchwork of old version code and a bit of new code for added functionality. We were in need of an upgrade badly, but we could not afford to have Squiz do the upgrade for us. I know that they would have done a wonderful job, but we just didn't have the money. So, we made the decision to move the PUC website over to a VM on our internal cloud. This would allow us the flexibility of a VM and the power of the cloud.

  • Listing

The migration took a few days of planning including writing out all of the upgrade steps that would be needed and finally doing a number of test upgrades from our backup files. We ran into many issues during testing, but lucky for us we were just in the testing and documenting state, so each error or issue we had was good news because we could figure out what was wrong then write down those steps so we wouldn't have the same issue next time.

Once all testing and steps had been completed we implemented an editing freeze and used our most recent backup file. The entire upgrade from 3.24.3 to 4.4.0 took the better part of the day, but by 4:00pm we were ready to move over from our physical servers to our finalized VM of Squiz Matrix 4.4.0. Everything went fairly smoothly, just a few forgotten steps and a script that needed to be ran here or there, but for the most part it was very easy and extremely successful.

I would have to say the most wonderful thing about being on a VM now is that we can easily take a quick snapshot of the system, then move on to upgrading to the most recent version. Since 4.4.1 had come out we decided to make the quick upgrade to make sure that we were completely up-to-date. Again, the process was painless thanks to the Automatic Upgrade scripts.

All in all it was a very successful migration and we are extremely happy with our decision to move to a VM. Look for 3.0 coming in the future.

Nicholas Hubbard

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