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PeopleSoft in the Cloud / Amazon EC2 June 30, 2010

Posted by Duncan in Administration, PeopleTools, Strategy, Virtualisation.
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We’ve been trying out Amazon’s EC2 (aka Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, aaka Amazon Web Services) for some of our PeopleSoft instances.

The advantages that this setup gives us are:

  • Global access (we don’t need to be in a certain office or use a VPN to get to PeopleSoft)
  • Flexibility (we don’t need to buy all of the kit in advance and then wait a month for the servers to arrive)
  • Hourly pricing (you only pay for the server when it’s booted)
  • Processing power (we’ve found that the hardware performs pretty well compared to other – more traditional – hosting providers)
  • Price (the amount of horsepower you get for your money compares well)
  • Frighteningly fast bandwidth (want to download the latest Tools patch … it’ll only take a few minutes!)

We’ve been using Windows 2008 and MS SQL 2008, however there’s nothing stopping anyone going Linux/Oracle.  We are running 7 environments with all of the PeopleSoft tiers on a single server with the following specs:

High-Memory Extra Large Instance

17.1 GB of memory
6.5 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
420 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform

All things considered, we’re pretty pleased with how it has gone.  There have been some issues however:

– VPN access:

I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with Windows RRAS (Routing and Remote Access) trying to get a reasonable VPN for developers to use to access the backend (SQL Server Management Studio, App Designer etc).  Although I can get the VPN to work, the server frequently disappeared from the network (even other servers in the Amazon Cloud couldn’t ping it).  There are many others on the Amazon forums with the same issue, so I gave up and used a different route for developer access (RDP into smaller ‘satellite’ servers with PeopleTools already installed).

– 3-Tier Debugger

This doesn’t seem to work between the satellite servers and the PeopleSoft server, even with all firewalls turned off.  I’ve never had a problem configuring this before and I’m at a loss to explain why it doesn’t work.  We have a perfectly acceptable workaround so this isn’t a big problem.

– Config Manager Settings

On some of the servers the Config Manager settings don’t persist, even when logged in as an Administrator (and running the app as administrator).

I’ll probably add to this post over time as we get more experience with it, and I’d be interested to hear from others who’ve been trying similar things.

VMWare Player and IP Ranges June 30, 2008

Posted by Duncan in Administration, Oracle, PeopleSoft, PeopleTools, Virtualisation.
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I’ve been doing some work with VMWare Server and VMWare Player. They’re both free tools (download links can be found on the Applications page) and can be invaluable when you need a sandbox environment.

VMWare Server is great for creating the VMs, and you need it while you’re adding virtual disks etc. However once the VM is in place it may be worthwhile switching to VMWare Player. The Player is slightly faster but you can’t perform maintenance like add disks when using it. Also, they don’t co-exist on the same client machine, it’s either one or the other. To be honest, I just uninstall and install as it doesn’t take that long.

The issue I faced, and the reason for this post is that VMWare Server lets the user configure the IP Address assignments and DHCP ranges from within the application, while VMWare player doesn’t. This is a bit of an issue if you have a VM that you’ve configured with a static IP address in a non-default range, then when you switch to VMWare Player the static IP isn’t in the default range.

The secret to know is that the ability is still there, you just have to go looking for it. The utility you need is ‘vmnetcfg.exe’ and it’s under the VMWare Player install directory (i.e. ‘C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Player’). From here you can configure the IP Ranges to be whatever you wish.