Services I host, setting up a new server

I have a server in a datacenter in Kansas. Or rather, did: the hardware went boom. Fortunately I have backups, unfortunately I have to set up again a bunch of hand-crafted services and crap I put there. I greatly simplified things when I set this server up, back in March 2012, but I still have to install and tweak a bunch of stuff by hand.I think all the services I run publicly come via port 80 and Apache. Best as I can tell here’s what I care about:

  • logsoflag.com: Apache virtual host with some CGI writing to local directories.
  • windhistory.com: Apache virtual host, nothing but static files.
  • somebits weblog: Blosxom CGI
  • somebits web server: random stuff, mostly (all?) static files.
  • rivers map: nginx, Tilestache, GUnicorn, Postgres, oh god so many things.

It may be a few days before the replacement is online. I’m trying to move logsoflag and windhistory to my home DSL system as a stopgap for the weekend. I’ll wait for the new server to set up the somebits blog, etc. I may not bother with the river and airport maps at all. They’re neat, and somewhat easy to get running again, but it’s a lot of extra servers to manage for not a lot of benefit.

I sure wish system automation tools were better; I’d love to script all this setup so I can migrate more easily. But Chef, Puppet, and Docker are all a fair amount of work to set up. The other option is a virtual image snapshot I can just clone, either a Linux VM based thing or Vagrant or something. But that’s wonky. It would not be inappropriate for the river project though.

Update: I’ve gotten two recommendations for Ansible as a lightweight system configuration tool. It looks basically like a sane wrapper around scripts that ssh to a machine and install packages, copy files, etc. YAML declarative “playbooks” define how to set up services. (Very simple example of running it.). I’d definitely look to use this if I were setting up machines regularly. May not bother for one single system.

I managed to get all the web stuff except the river map working on my home server on cable modem. It only took a couple of hours. So maybe I don’t need to sweat over the server setup too much. I’ve got the Apache virtual host stuff configured well enough now that it’s pretty painless.