Moodle Cluster Update

Athena Moodle

We’ve been running Moodle on our new, two server cluster all this week. It’s the first time we’ve had it under load.

So far, so good. The performance is much, much better than before, and the performance stats on the servers indicate that they have plenty of reserve CPU and memory capacity. We are using CentOS as the Linux operating system, running without a GUI on both servers. The front end server has Moodle and the file store, and the back end server has MySQL running. Each server has eight gigs of memory, and dual quad core Xeon CPUs.

You can visit the system at

http://athena.asl.org/

We had some initial problems with the cut over. The most significant was the following– we copied over a full copy of the database and the filestore for testing. During that time, our consultants installed and configured Moddle to use the Eaccelerator, a PHP accellerator. When we did the full and real cutover, the final and most recent copy of the database and file store from our overwhelmed Windows server came over, but it was not configured to use Eaccellerator. This caused a conflict for about half of our users (those with more than ten courses), and kept them from logging in. The knock-on effect was that some were un-enrolled from classes.

Once getting the configuration changed, and the students re-enrolled, we could finally start enjoying some of the performance benefits. For the first time ever, we could actually turn on stats and other features.

We are currently considering a third Linux server, simply to sit as a mirror of both the database and the Moodle installation, to serve as a fall-back system should either servers in the cluster fail.

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