Hello, world!

Welcome to LeaseWeb Labs!

This might not be the first post on here, but it still seems like a good idea to have this welcome post.
The LeaseWeb Labs blog is an initiative from LeaseWeb’s IT department, to create a place where technically focused people can post about technical subjects. As (research, product and maintenance) departments, we get confronted with all dark and murky corners of development and engineering. It seems a shame to keep all that knowledge and learning for ourselves, so we decided to start sharing it here.

Things we’ll be posting about will vary; we have engineers working on high-traffic delivery systems, developers building front-ends for our various systems, and teams working on a pretty interesting new cloud platform – so you can expect information, howto’s and insights about almost any (IT related) subject. As we work in the hosting industry, there is definitely a bias towards hosting-related information 🙂

Some of these posts are aimed at basic system administration or development, and some will be more about complex scalability and high performance systems. We try to have something for everyone, but do let us know if there is something specific you want to hear about – you can contact us via the twitter account, on facebook, or use the comment system below.

To get you started, we’ve already placed a few articles that might interest you:

High availability load balancing using HAProxy on Ubuntu: Sander gives you a practical howto on implementing a basic high availability setup – part #1 in a series on high availability.

Scalable RDBMS: Mukesh is our scalability guru, and used to work on extremely high traffic (web) systems. He’s writing a first post in a series on scalable databases.

Tuning Zend framework and Doctrine: Alexander works mainly in PHP, and gives you some pointers on starting a customized Zend/Doctrine project to make it an even better combination.

We hope this gives you a general feeling of what we’re planning to do – and will be posting more. Any requests or comments are welcome!

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High availability load balancing using HAProxy on Ubuntu (part 1)

In this post we will show you how to easily setup loadbalancing for your web application. Imagine you currently have your application on one webserver called web01:

+---------+
| uplink  |
+---------+
     |
+---------+
|  web01  |
+---------+

But traffic has grown and you’d like to increase your site’s capacity by adding more webservers (web02 and web03), aswell as eliminate the single point of failure in your current setup (if web01 has an outage the site will be offline).

              +---------+
              | uplink  |
              +---------+
                   |
     +-------------+-------------+
     |             |             |
+---------+   +---------+   +---------+
|  web01  |   |  web02  |   |  web03  |
+---------+   +---------+   +---------+

In order to spread traffic evenly over your three web servers, we could install an extra server to proxy all the traffic an balance it over the webservers. In this post we will use HAProxy, an open source TCP/HTTP load balancer. (see: http://haproxy.1wt.eu/) to do that:

              +---------+
              |  uplink |
              +---------+
                   |
                   +
                   |
              +---------+
              | loadb01 |
              +---------+
                   |
     +-------------+-------------+
     |             |             |
+---------+   +---------+   +---------+
|  web01  |   |  web02  |   |  web03  |
+---------+   +---------+   +---------+

So our setup now is:
– Three webservers, web01 (192.168.0.1), web02 (192.168.0.2 ), and web03 (192.168.0.3) each serving the application
– A new server (loadb01, ip: (192.168.0.100 )) with Ubuntu installed.

Allright, now let’s get to work:

Start by installing haproxy on your loadbalancing machine:

loadb01$ sudo apt-get install haproxy

Continue reading High availability load balancing using HAProxy on Ubuntu (part 1)

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Tuning Zend framework and Doctrine

In principle, the combination of Zend Framework with Doctrine is not too difficult. But first let’s talk about the preparations. According to the author of Zend Framework, the default file structure of project can be a bit more optimal.

Here is the default structure of the Zend Framework project files:


/
  application/
    default/
      controllers/
      layouts/
      models/
      views/
  html/
  library/

It can often be that you will have a number of applications (e.g., frontend and backend ), and you want to use the same model for them. In this case, it can be a good practice to create your models folder in library/, in which case the new structure would look as follows:

/
  application/
    default/
      controllers/
      layouts/
      views/
  html/
  library/
    Model/

In addition, the folder models/ is renamed to Model. We now proceed as follows:

  1. Download a fresh copy of Doctrine-xxx-Sandbox.tgz from the official website.
  2. Copy the contents of the lib/folder from the archive to our project library/ folder.
  3. Create another folder bin/sandbox/ in the root of our project and copy the rest of the archive there (except models/ folder and the index.php file).

Now the structure of our project should look like this:

/
  application/
    default/
      controllers/
      layouts/
      views/
  bin/
    sandbox/
      data/
      lib/
      migrations/
      schema/
      config.php
      doctrine
      doctrine.php
  html/
  library/
    Doctrine/
    Model/
    Doctrine.php

Clear the content of the folder bin/sandbox/lib/ – we now have the library in another place.
Now it’s time to configure the Doctrine to work with new file structure.

Change the value of the constant MODELS_PATH in the file bin/sandbox/config.php::

SANDBOX_PATH . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . '..' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . '..' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'library' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'Model'


Next, change the connection settings for the database. Change the value of the DSN constant to reflect your database settings. For example, if you use the DBMS MySQL, the DSN might look like this:

'mysql://root@localhost/mydbname'


Configure include_paths on the first line in the config file, so our script can find files on new locations:

set_include_path( '.' . PATH_SEPARATOR . '..' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . '..' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'library' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . PATH_SEPARATOR . '.' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'lib' . PATH_SEPARATOR . get_include_path());

Then connect the main Doctrine library file directly after installation paths, and set the startup function:

require_once 'Doctrine.php';

/**
 * Setup autoload function
 */
spl_autoload_register( array(
    'Doctrine',
    'autoload'
));

Continue reading Tuning Zend framework and Doctrine

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