Monday 31 August 2009

Help for BlueOnyx Server Maintenance

My last post looked at setting up a testing server for web designers. One of the options included building your own server running BlueOnyx for easy set-up and easy server management.

The thing that makes server management so easy is the web based interface. Originally the interface was only available for Sun Cobalt hardware, but once Cobalt was discontinued Sun Microsystems released the source code as open source. Since then others have developed it to work with any hardware (great news for us) and is most currently available as BlueOnyx.

PDF Manual

Because the BlueOnyx server management interface is based heavily on the sourceode for the Cobalt RaQ 550 the old RaQ 550 manual still contains some useful instruction on managing the system, and you can download it in PDF format here:


The great thing about the BlueOnyx (and Cobalt RaQ) is how easy the server management interface made server management for non-techies.

Server managment after all was traditionally done through a shell interface (not unlike the windows command prompt). Setting up a web site involved manually creating users and folders, manually setting permissions and quotas, and manually editing several config files without making mistakes.

What the BlueOnyx interface does (and what the Cobalt RaQ interface did) is turn this process into an interface. You simply fill in the blanks and press "go" and scripts automatically create the folders and permissions and update the config files. Happiness.

There are other web based server management systems such as Plesk or Webmin.

Plesk is perhaps the easiest (it really is aimed at hosting companies, providing an interface for customers), but it costs money.

Webmin, is secure and powerful and popular with techies, but IMHO much more difficult to use than BlueOnyx because you still have to do many things manually. You still need to create the folders, set the permissions etc... albeit through a browser rather than a command prompt. And that requires a fair amount of technical knowledge.

BlueOnyx arranges things differently. It assumes you have limited technical know-how, but that you do know what you want at the end, and arranges the interface into tasks rather than tools. So much easier.

No comments:

Post a Comment