We are looking at moving from our current vle to moodle for september... i know the timeframe i have is far from ideal, however our moodle test has gone really well and we can see the benefits moodle offers.
We have installed moodle and got it up and running, my query was more of a technical one rather than software based... We are running server 2003 on our student network with active directory, however we are looking at setting up moodle outside the college (to ensure availability of the service) on top of moodle we will require student email...moving vles means that students will loose their current address, and we were thinking of setting them up as [student_no]@[sub].[domain].ac.uk, however i'd love to hear if anyone else is setting this up differently.
Also how do people setup their student logons, we currently have a
mixture of the students name & number. Then to make matters even
more complex we don't want staff to have to manually update their vle,
we'll want to have the system fully automated... overnight jobs would
How do you make sure deleted users are deleted from moodle & the email system?
Its a big task, and i was just wondering how everyone else has gone about it?
Any help / advice on the setup, server(s) etc would be fantastic!
Glad to hear that Moodle came out the winner! Whether the timeframe is sufficient or not depend very much on the conceptual work you've done so far.
> We have installed moodle and got it up and running, my query was more of a technical one rather than software based... We are running server 2003 on our student network with active directory, however we are looking at setting up moodle outside the college (to ensure availability of the service)
If you are outsourcing, Unix/Linux is the way to go. This topic was discussed extensively here. The last time being http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=38920
You are running a MS Active Directory server within your LAN and a Moodle server too. Is the Moodle server accessible from the Internet? How does the new external Moodle server going to authenticate users, is the AD server open to internet?
> on top of moodle we will require student email...
E-mail server for the school is a completely different project. Again there are many excellent products freely available for Unix servers. Don't lock yourself in the proprietory cage of Microsoft Exchange Server! (You have locked-in yourself once already, ie. in MS Active Directory )
> moving vles means that students will loose their current address,
Can't follow why.
> and we were thinking of setting them up as [student_no]@[sub].[domain].ac.uk, however i'd love to hear if anyone else is setting this up differently.
I have come across two other models.
- artificial textual userid out of the first five letters of the surname and first three letters of the first name. Peter Muster turns out to be mustepet. In case of duplicates you get mustepe2, etc.
- firstname.lastname fully written.
And the mail address is usually firstname.lastname@example.org not email@example.com.
> Also how do people setup their student logons, we currently have a mixture of the students name & number. Then to make matters even more complex we don't want staff to have to manually update their vle, we'll want to have the system fully automated... overnight jobs would be fine...
No idea, sorry!
We're running Moodle on W2K3 as well with Exchange 2003 as email. Just a few thoughts.
- Avoid virtual servers on production systems for the moment, as they are uniprocessor and have a 30% overhead. For your test server, VS2005 R2 is fine.
- Don't install PHP using the Windows Installer, as it sets-up PHP using CGI which is really slow. Set-up manually using ISAPI for the best performance. Remember also to use the web farm facility on IIS6 (if you can) and tune MySQL.
- Use Apache JMeter (http://jakarta.apache.org/jmeter/index.html) to do load testing before going live. Then you know how many connections your server can cope with. Paging file use can be a problem, expecially with many IIS Worker processes - so it's a bit of a balancing act.
- Setting-up Moodle outside college may cause headaches. For the same level of availability, how about setting-up a number of servers with load balancing between them? If you did this on your DMZ, then the points of failure would be your firewall and JANET routers (which is probably the same as what a hosting company would have). You can then open ports through your firewall to allow access to AD and configure LDAP authentication from Moodle back to your DCs. This way, students can use the same login credentials as your Windows systems.
- Much of what's in Moodle can be automated with the cron script. But we've used the Windows scheduler instead of installing the program (one less thing to go wrong!)
- For deleting users, just delete them from AD and they won't be able to login or access Exchange. You'll have to think carefully about your existing end of course/end of year processes and try to replicate them. For example, do you retain their activity marks and grades?
Hope this helps!
Wilberforce College, Hull
I've small favor to ask of you... are you still using Windows 2003 for your Moodle server?
If yes, would you mind sharing if you are using IIS and MSSQL with that as well?
One last question, if you use a PHP cache/accelerator with Windows what has worked well for you?? Xcache, Eaccelerator, APC, ???
Thanks for any info you can share
Yes - we're still using Windows 2003 on the Moodle server, and will be unlikely to change as we've invested money and time in building-up in-house expertise for this platform. We originally used IIS 6 but had stability and load problems, so the webserver was switched to Apache 2.2 downloaded from www.apachelounge.com/download - this was the only way *we* could get a stable/Windows-optimised version, although I know that others have managed to get the official distribution working. The installed version is Apache 2.2.3 and we've not yet upgraded to the latest version.
The PHP installed version is 5.1.6 with APC as the cache. Although, on face value, Xcache seems to be doing well in terms of development and take-up, we'll be sticking with APC because it's looking to be the official PHP cache. Again, lethargy and workload has meant we're way behind in PHP upgrading.
We've always used MySQL because at the time that the server was installed support for MSSQL was not available - so we developed expertise in MySQL and will probably stick with it.
I hope that answers some of your questions.
Thank you so much for taking time to respond to my questions!
I was very surprised to hear you got Apache 2.x stable, with PHP 5.x!
Our experience (i.e. an in-ability to get PHP 5.x / Apache 2.x stable) is the reason we are looking at IIS. Honestly we must have tried at least 10 combos of Apache/ PHP and the persistant memory leak haunted us every time!
From my research (4 inches of printed discussion forums... grin) It appears that there are "islands of stability" that occur with very specific pairing of versions of PHP and Apache and/or IIS. Once people find them they (like you...) stay with what works (no surprise...)
Thank you for sharing your successful formula in detail! I really appreciate it. (Success stories of scalable Moodle & Windows to imitate seem rare from what I can see...)
One other stable windows setup that I have identified from my forum research appears to be PHP 5.2.1, IIS 6 (with FastCGI) and Windows 2003 server.
Just out of curiosity... how many concurrent users are you supporting with your setup and how much CPU/RAM did you use?