Installation help

 
 
Picture of David Aylmer
Moodle production server on windows
 

Hi Folks,

(I've been doing my best researching this.. apologies if this post is in the wrong area of moodle.org)

I'm currently being tasked with moving a large ( > 10,000 users) production server (1.9.5) currently hosted on Linux to a Windows environment.

I've been researching the various stack options, but before I give my recommendations to the business I wanted to ask the community. (I don't really have a choice in the change to windows)

My personal experience with moodle on windows has been limited to my own development environment. Do large moodle (2.5) on windows production servers exist "out there"?

The current environment is LAMP, and I'm at the moment I'm thinking WIMP may be the best option (IIS 7.5), rather than using apache on windows due to performance concerns. Also under consideration is a move to MSSQL rather than MySQL, but this is relatively minor.

The skill set of the company employees (microsoft admins/devs) is a major factor... but not major enough if the site performance suffers too much.

Essentially if there are *large*, proven: Windows, IIS 7.5, MSSQL, PHP moodle servers out there - that would be great to know.

Are there any showstoppers with version 2.5 or popular moodle mods?

Regards,

-David

 
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Gmads
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi David,

I don't have experience with *large* Moodle installations (though I wish I had), but I wouldn't think that a WAMP environment, vs. a WISP or a WIMP one, should have performance issues. If the admins' expertice is with IIS and MSSQL, then WISP might be the best choice, but one would have to take into consideration possible future limitations regarding PHP & MSSQL.

One thing I would recommend however, is to carefully plan the upgrade/migration process, as that will involve quite a number of steps! Do get familiar with all the requirements and documentation pages.

 
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Picture of David Aylmer
Re: Moodle production server on windows
 

Guillermo,

Thank you for your reply!

When I mentioned performance issues - I don't have any hard facts, and I didn't want to start yet another *nix vs windows war... but I just get the "feeling" that Apache runs better on linux and IIS runs better on windows. Whether this is a justified opinion or not is another matter. One might argue that PHP runs better on Apache and that is more important? I don't know.

When you mention possible future limitations: Are any possible future limitations of PHP on IIS anticipated? I expect this comment more of a "what if?" scenario. That's certainly something to consider!

So far the documentation collated on this site seems excellent. And I expect I'll do about a thousand "dry runs" of the migration process on test servers.

Cheers,

 
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Gmads
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

I agree, another win vs. nix war is not needed. I've worked fine with both setups. About the limitation I mentioned, yes, that certainly was a "what if", but based on the fact that PHP stopped support for MSSQL when version 5.3 was released. And yes, Microsoft developed a driver, but how important is it for them to maintain it in a long term? Who knows.

 
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Picture of Ryan Smith
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

David,

I run a large Moodle 2.5 site on Windows. We originally started with Moodle 1.6 and upgraded to each major version along the way to 2.5. We have around 2,200 courses and over 50,000 users. Everything is running great. We are using Apache 2.4.4 with MySQL (migrating to mariaDB soon), and PHP 5.5. For most of the past year we ran Wincache for our opcode accelerator, but with the recent inclusion of Zend Opcache into PHP we've moved to using it. We just upgraded to PHP 5.5 last week and everything is working great.

I've thought about switching to IIS often, but Apache has worked fine for us thus far. Let me know if you have any questions about our WAMP set-up.

 
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Picture of David Aylmer
Re: Moodle production server on windows
 

Ryan,

Your post is very helpful. Thank you.

Interesting that you are moving from MySQL to mariaDB! Could you briefly justify your choice of move? Did you consider Percona also?

In your current MySQL setup do you have a combination of MyISAM and InnoDB tables? Or have you gone with one type? And which type?

Cheers,

 
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Picture of Ryan Smith
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

David,

It seems there is a massive movement in the open source community to move to MariaDB and away from MySQL (and Oracle's control). I tested MariaDB as a drop-in replacement on a test VM and it was a seamless migration. MariaDB uses Percona's XtraDB which is their version of InnoDB. Also, Moodle seems to be preparing to fully support MariaDB:

https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-39754

https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-39985

We were running MyISAM tables for the entire 1.x series of Moodle but switched to InnoDB on the Moodle 2.0 upgrade. I believe at some 2.x point Moodle has either required it or strongly recommended InnoDB.

 
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Picture of nazreen A.N.
Re: Moodle production server on windows
 

Dear sir,

I am new user to Moodle and recently I have installed Moodle 2.5. when I have try to use it; it says to solve all the environmental problem, I have tried and solved the problems but I have difficulties to solve only two problems to be solve, I have tried many steps but it won't effect. so please help me to solve these problems. I have the problems with php curl extension and php Intl extension.

 

Please help me to solve those problems.


 
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Gmads
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Nazreen,

You shouldn't hack into someone else's thread, specially when you are posting a completely different subject. You have previously done this, and I already mentioned you that the answer was in the thread you started. Please keep all your questions related to this particular problem in that thread:

https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=231525#p1006965

 
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Picture of Martin Masse
Re: Moodle production server on windows
 

Ryan,

Your Apache base installation is WAMP ?

Last year, we experiment Moodle on IIS (FastCGI) and we have some problem. For this year, we try to find a solid installation on Windows environnement (Win 2008 or Win 2012). We read many post that indicate to not use distribution (like Wamp) on production server. We don't have experience with Linux. When I read your post, I'm curious to knows how you installed Apache.

Thanks

 
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Gmads
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Martin,

As you mention, the best way is to avoid integral packages and instead download and install Apache by itself: http://www.apachelounge.com/

 
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Picture of Andrea Bicciolo
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators
Hi David,

we run a large Moodle 2.3.x installation (> 35,000 users) on a Windows 2008 R2 environment. Web front ends use Apache, while database back end runs MySQL. We do not actually see issues on performance or on core Moodle modules and custom developed plugins, however our stack may be different form the one you are planning to use.
 
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Picture of David Aylmer
Re: Moodle production server on windows
 

Thanks Andrea,

This kind of feedback is giving me a lot more confidence in the Windows approach. I appreciate your time in posting.

 
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Sketch...
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Windows isn't that bad! wink

51000+ users, 283 courses on my Windows 2003, IIS6, MSSQL 2008 R2 instance.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi David

You might want to go through the posts in the old "Windows-based servers" forum: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/search.php?search=forumid%3A32%20subject%3AWindows%20subject%3Aserver%3A&id=5&perpage=10&page=0.

Since performance is important for you, I would other windows-related discussions in the "Hardware and performance" forum. There is an "advanced search" facility, which you see only from the main page of "Using Moodle" https://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=5 (link below the search box in the search forums box top right).

N.B. I hope the death of the "Windows server" forum wasn't prophetical!
;-P
 
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Picture of Paul L
Re: Moodle production server on windows
 

We recently moved to WIMP moodle 2.4 and performance has been horrendous. We have about 5000 students and 1500 courses.

An ongoing problem is 1-2 times a week too many php-cgi processes spawning (200 instead of a noraml <20) and bringing our server to a halt. I get the impression WAMP doesn't have this problem from too many php processes.

 

===My environment is
Moodle 2.4.5 Windows 2008 server,
IIS 7.5 , php 5.3.16, 14gb Memory, 4 cpu  Mysql1 on seperate server, same specs as above: Mysql server 5.1, windows 2008
64 bit Zend Extension Build API220090626,NTS,VC9 PHP Extension Build API20090626,NTS,VC9
Thread Safety disabled System Windows NT MOODLE2TEST 6.1 build 7601 (Windows
Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition Service Pack 1) i586 Build Date Aug 15 2012
19:57:50 Compiler MSVC9 (Visual C++ 2008) Architecture x86

 
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Sketch...
Re: Moodle production server on windows
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Are you running PHP under FastCGI?

 
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Picture of Paul L
Re: Moodle production server on windows
 

re: Are you running PHP under FastCGI?

Yes.

We have since upgraded to php 5.5, use disks with faster access and use Opcache. This seems to have solved our problem, rock solid since then, cant tell if it was just the php upgrade or a combo of the 3 things as we did it all within a slow 2 week period. Php 5.5 seems to be another step in the right direction for windows/php on moodle.

in hindsight I still think LAMP would be a better long term move as there is not enough of a support/developer community with Moodle/WIMP. I've been exploring MUC caching and most documentation/support is for Apache/Linux.

 
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