Web Server Upgrades to Deliver Improved Performance

April 14, 2005
Between April 15 and the end of May ITS Internet Services will be deploying a number of upgrades to the main Baylor web servers. These upgrades will deliver improved performance and capacity for Baylor's web environment.

"The first phase of our upgrade plans will go live on the night of Friday, April 15," said David Seago, manager of Internet systems. "In this first phase we will move the main web server to a system that is roughly twenty-five percent faster than the current configuration."

The upgrade has been planned for about a year and testing has been underway for months. "We know that performance on our current server platform is no longer acceptable," said Randy Woodruff, director of Internet services. "While we're glad to get this performance increase, the primary benefit of this phase of the project is to get in position for the big upgrade."

Access to the main web servers will only be interrupted for a short period of time. The maintenance window is scheduled from 10 pm to midnight on Friday. "If there are no unforeseen problems, the server might be down for only five minutes or so, but we're being cautious and planning for potential problems," said Seago.

Access to the Baylor Web Content Management System (CMS) for content managers will be shutdown for somewhat longer than the actual system outage. "During the move it is important that web pages and other content managed through the CMS not change, to ensure no loss of data," said Colin Witt, manager of Internet communications. CMS users with questions or concerns should contact their Internet Services consultant.

"The technical team has really been putting in the hours getting ready for the conversion," said Woodruff. "However, this is only the beginning. The next phase of this upgrade will come in May when two additional servers are added to the mix in a cluster configuration." Once those servers are in place, the main server environment will have about four hundred percent more capacity than the present web server.

"Upgrades of this magnitude seem pretty big, but we've seen 300% growth in traffic to the web site in the past two years," said Seago. "It's a lot of capacity, but we have a lot of demand."

This upgrade will also provide fail-over capability in case a server fails or requires maintenance. "Our next goal after performance is to improve upon our already good uptime record," said Woodruff.
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