Installation help

 
 
Picture of Alan Hess
Virtual Machine Moodle Server
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi

There seem to be quite a few posts from beginners who have difficulty installing Moodle on a server. I do it on Debian quite often and there are quite a few upgrades and extras to instal before Moodle will run. For that reason, I was wondering if others have used virtual environments like VMWare or Virtual Box?

I run several test Moodle servers on my MacBook running in VMware and these machines can easily be copied wholesale to other PCs because they are just a file on the host's hard disk. They are also great for experimentation or showing Moodle at presentations etc..

We had a Server crash a while back at school and I temporarily put in the MacBook with the VM as Server with our backup data restored and NO ONE noticed any difference in performance!!!  Ok we're a small school, but wouldn't offering a VM package with the latest Moodle all configured and ready to go be a good idea?

To run a preconfigured VM one can even use the FREE player version of VMWare.

Link to VMWare Player for PC http://www.vmware.com/products/player/overview.html

 

Regards

Alan

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Virtual Machine Moodle Server
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Well, that's one of the big advantages of a VM - you can just image it. Someone should create an image of Moodle on a lightweight Linux VM and make it available.

Other than that, it's exactly the same as installing on a dedicated server. What a VM isn't is some sort of magic bullet. It seems to have calmed down now but there was a patch a couple of years back when VMs where all trendy and got used whether it was a good or idea or not.

 
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Picture of Ken Task
Re: Virtual Machine Moodle Server
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Kinda depends upon end user and their situtation/knowledge, doesn't it?  Adding yet another 'layer' of support to some extent.

But, have a virtual export out there for VirtualBox:

http://sos.tcea.org/CentOS64wMDL24README.txt
http://sos.tcea.org/CentOS64wMDL24.ova

The .ova file is 3+Gigs

If on a MacOSX machine with VirtualBox installed all one need to do is double click the .ova file. ;)

Provide as-is ... really don't have time (actually also the knowledge) to support VB on Linux, MacOSX, and especially Winders.  I can only say, 'works for me'!.

'spirit of sharing', Ken

 
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Picture of Ken Task
Re: Virtual Machine Moodle Server
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

@Alan ... I kinda agree and as a part of a SIG (Strategic Open Source) under TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) one of the goals is to promote the use of open source ... including (maybe even) providing things like 'pre-built' VM's with Moodle/etc..  I've Googled for such and can find some for Linux OS's - primarily for Ubuntu/CentOS.

Trouble is ... maintaining them ... lastest OS updates, latest Moodle, latest ... whatever is included.   The one I've built does have scripts to easily update the OS and Moodle.  For those that really avoid the command line, there is Webmin.

As far as Moodle.org providing, well ... think it best they concentrate their efforts on the code.  But it would be nice if a community area was provided for those who would share their VM package - be it VMware or other.

Do you have something similar built for VMWare?  Share if you can! ;)

'spirit of sharing', Ken

 
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Picture of Alan Hess
Re: Virtual Machine Moodle Server
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

HI Ken

Yes, I do have a VM machine built on Debian Squeeze which I use for testing. Trouble is, that the image files are so large.

I know from my own case a few years ago, that getting going sometimes means a sole teacher showing what Moodle 'can do' before a school will actually sanction an installation. The VM solution would allow such teachers to get up and running on a personal computer and also allow access from other networked PCs, thereby winning colleagues over without the technical hurdles. The transfer from experimental sole XAMMP or the like to running network server also pops up here in forum problems quite often!

I could host an image on my http://manxman.ch site but it's performance is not particularly fast, as I only host language learning tools there.

Let's see if others are interested. I'd probably like to post up a Server containing my Moodle Language Teaching Tools 'ready setup' in any case.

Regards

Alan

 
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Picture of Ken Task
Re: Virtual Machine Moodle Server
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

While I agree for the most part, have personal experience (more than once) with the following proving to be roadblocked:

'The VM solution would allow such teachers to get up and running on a personal computer and also allow access from other networked PCs'

Even if a laptop was appropriatley configured with a VM (pick your Linux distro) with Moodle + other, there was only one internal switch and 3 ports on that switch would allow port 80 hosting on the entire network.   When one runs into the 'uber-paranoid network administrator', no such thing possible without their direct involvement.  In two instances, the entity had 'suffered' from Code Red and Nimda - network worms that brought their entire WAN down and very painful from which to recover - and there was NO WAY that network admin was going to allow it.

So ... this to say ... one size doesn't fit all! :|

'spirit of sharing', Ken

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Virtual Machine Moodle Server
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Alan

I have a different view on this. Unix/Linux has never been more accessible than it is today (in the western world, I mean). One can buy a computer magazine with Linux CD attached at any kiosk for the price of a sandwich. One can download an ISO file and transfer it to a USB memory stick in a couple of minutes making a bootable and persistant live system. Full desktop virtualization is free on all three common platforms - I mean VirtualBox. The problem is not in the technology nor in its accessibility, it is the human factor. You need to understand few basic things. That is where all sorts of things happen.

In our classes students work in all sorts of VMs. Some they get fully installed, but they never get Debian or Ubuntu servers as VMs from me. I have the official install CDs as ISOs in my machine which they download to their computers via FTP in the school LAN. With the help of an instruction sheet they install VMs on their own. The first try may take 30 min. but they realize that how easy it is. If the VM get damages, they install the next one in 15 min. They carry the VMs in an external USB drive which allows them to work also at home, or install again if the platform at home is different. As a side effect they get an understanding of a CLI OS - these are servers with no GUI - and they can already solve the most basic problems on their own.

The instruction sheet is not a big deal: Just two pages, a version of http://www.syndrega.ch/?p=14 adapted to the school LAN. If you or anybody interested in the German original, sent me a PM. There are all sorts of other documentation, this video series for example covers everything: "Video Tutorial - Install Moodle on a virtual Box from scratch" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=199542.
 
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