Liferay 5 - Glassfish 2 - Mysql 5 - Ubuntu Server 8.0.4 LTS
This is our most recently completed liferay project on EC2 completed end July 2008. We elected to install the Liferay Portal 5 on the Glassfish/Sun Java System Application Server. Other Application server choices included Tomcat, Jboss and Oracle OC4J. Although we are very familiar with OC4J, in comparison we found it somewhat slower and larger than what we had anticipated. The Jboss appserver though equal to the job, proved to be significantly harder for us (with no prior expertise) to install and integrate. Tomcat though easy to install, did not have the monitoring/managment environment that we required.
The Glassfish/Sun Java System Application Server won in the end as the most complete; yet simple enough to integrate into our stack. It has a truly impressive management interface.
The backend database is Mysql 5. Although we are Oracle friendly, the Mysql was simply chosen as the most cost effective startup DB. If this DB turns into a Multi-terabyte monster, we will quite smartly migrate to Oracle. We are very comfortable migrating back and forth between these and other DB's. The weapon of choice here is the excellent Pentaho Data Integration toolset (Kettle).
What do we need to say about Ubuntu Server 8.0.4 LTS. Mark S and Canonical gave a head start with Ubuntu and Eric Hammond from Alestic did a sterling job with his starter images on Amazon EC2. A good solid stable base on which to build.
A more detailed Howto is being compiled.
Web Content Display
By deploying a PFSENSE firewall with a squid proxy and blocking undesirable sites, porn, shoppnig, Facebook and other non-buiness related sites, we managed to reduce significantly the bandwith consumed by two of our customers. By further recommending a few business processes together with drafting some 'acceptable use' policies, these organisation benefitted by both ADSL bandwidth reductions and thus costs as well as improving staff productivity staff . An enormous amount of time (up to 22%) was being wasted by aimless surfing. blogging, chatting and other time loss activities. Estimates costs of the time lost exceeds the ADSL costs by a FACTOR of FIVE!
Saving Thousands of Rands With Amazon
These are tough times where many companies are focusing on the basics of their IT operations and are asking themselves how they can operate more efficiently to make sure that every Rand is spent wisely. This is not the first time that we have gone through this cycle, but this time there are tools available to CIOs and CTOs that help them to manage their IT budgets very differently. By using infrastructure as a service, basic IT costs are moved from a capital expense to a variable cost. With Amazon's incredibly low price points, one customer said, it is like renting a Mercedes for R25-00. Unbelievable but true, even with the soft rand, we still save.