Sep 23, 2006

And so it begins ...

Birthday and hour of Aventurin{e}. How it all started.

Category: General
Posted by: mstauber

How did it start? Well, that's a long story. I just had read (just another!) article about virtualization and how much it was becoming the next best thing in IT. Sure, I knew VMware and had used it off and on for development and testing. But that was that.

So inspired by that article on I looked into what else was there. On a testbox I installed XEN and checked it out. Was nice and I liked it. I also checked a few other virtualization solutions. Some were pretty rudimentary, some had been abandoned. Others had pretty weird licenses which made them uninteresting to me. Then I discovered OpenVZ and I was hooked. It pretty easily installed on a CentOS development box and the amount of useful features directly appealed to me.

Just at that time I had another conversation with a client about CentOS + BlueQuartz and he pretty much summarized the current undertone echoed on the BlueQuartz mailing list: There are just so many things wrong with BlueQuartz that it - for him - was not really the ideal webhosting solution. It started with desaster recovery through CMUexport and CMUimport. Everyone who has used that knows that it is a desaster all by itself and not really a good and proper recovery method!

Next point was the inability to provide any kind of redundancy. You can't really mirror or cluster BlueQuartz due to its CODB database and the way that the data is spread around on the various partitions.

Another sad point was that the typical hosting provider is always in troubles when it comes to PHP: Some clients need PHP4, some run pages that won't work without PHP5. Others insist on having safe mode turned off, while everyone in his right mind really balks just when thinking about the security problems that this entails. So all in all the typical shared hosting provider needs various servers. One with PHP4, one with PHP5 and possibly a few extra for those that would insist on relaxed security settings.

Plus there are other issues related to shared hosting, like heavy POP3/IMAP usage if you got a power client that checks 150 mailboxes every minute.

With all these thoughs still fresh on my mind I while exploring OpenVZ I suddenly realized how it would solve all these problems. Not all by itself, but it could be a cornerstone in a solution that would provide the answers to all that - and then some.

However, I also realized that I needed help with this project. Both during development, while deploying it and also supporting it once it would go retail. So I wrote a very long email to Brian Smith from NuOnce Networks. Of course we are competitors, but we also respect each others and know what skills the other one has and which not. Brian was immediately hooked had some fine ideas outright which added nicely. So we started our development on what turned out to become Aventurin{e}.

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