Sunday, December 26, 2010

Continous Installation : going beyond the I of installation

The installation of software towards our customers goes very smooth :-) I've set this system up about 2 years ago, and it is a very appreciated part in our company. Hundreds of installations done.
From the start on I extended the functionality beyond the basic installation part, from day 1 actually, but I never wrote about it yet. I also collected some data of those servers : firstly just the application event log. The idea was to send us the error logs, so we were informed if a customer called. And we can do statistics on these errors. What application throws the most errors, are these technical, validation, communication, ... related and so on. Very usefull information.
Later on, I extended it even more to watch the server itself, CPU usage, hard disk usage and even SQL Server information : backup ok, size of database, size of tables, ...
All this info is send to our central SQL server for analysis in the same way as the rest : via the FTP site. This also proved very usefull since we discovered hard disk failures and bad memory modules before they could do serious damage !

But now a new challenge appeared : Hyper-V

Our next servers are more powerfull and we want to reduce the amount of time we need when we have to replace one. The answer is Hyper-V.
These servers are loaded with Hyper-V Core, and above that we will host 1 or more virtual servers. If the hardware needs updating, we can just put in a bigger server with Hyper-V Core on it, move the virtual servers on to it, and we're done. All settings are kept as the were before the move : Big Advantage !!

The catch : we also need to watch the Hyper-V machine itself as we do the current servers. System team looked around for Hyper-V remote stuff, but could not find anything (payable). When I heard of this, I said :
Just use CCNet :-D We use it on all of our other servers and it works, so why not on a Hyper-V one?

And it worked indeed, Hyper-V Core comes with .Net framework 2.O loaded, and that's all I need. To be on the safe side I use the same (very old) version of CCNet as we do on the other servers : 1.4.2 (yikes indeed very old).
But we only use the exec task and the basic triggers, so it is all we need.
just copy the CCNet setup exe on it via a share, run it through a command prompt, and CCNet is installed. Could not be easier !
Now we can monitor and maintain the Hyper-V servers the same as the other ones.

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