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[Discussion wanted] WHM / Cpanel compatability & nitsches?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jonne, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. jonne

    jonne Member

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    Hi!

    I have been an employee at a web hotel for a while now. As a quite experienced native linux user It was not always the easiest thing to bring togeather the "whm" way and do things on system level properly to take right effects in both ends. I figure many linux technichans can get the same feeling.

    Now I have a few fundamental questions of how WHM actually operate. What makes it "tick", and how adaptable it can be.

    Do not get me wrong in any way regarding this post. I find that WHM is an excellent interface for less technically expertised people to be able to do relativly advanced configuration compared to the system knowledge and CPanel is a great tool for customers renting server space to get an easy overview and configuration of their account.

    The first I noticed with WHM was that it had it's own little world under /usr/local. It manages its own packages including updates. And it overrides the regular package management and conflicts with local configuration files and scrips.

    A standing example was that during a recent update of the system packages RPM figured that a "web-server" was required to fullfill a dependency for a package. This update overwrote our /etc/init.d/httpd which was placed there by our /usr/local/apache webserver. Eventually the webserver was restarted and the system "default configurated" was attempted to be started. Pretty huge disaster for just trying to update our system for security.

    Other examples I've been struggling with is library compatabilities with WHM updates linking to outdated versions which were locally updated. The list goes on. This unfortunatly stops me from keeping an easy updated system which I can maintain the security wanted on.

    Questions:
    1. Can WHM be intergrated not to act as the local package manager? I would find it a relief if WHM told we what it wanted and then used the system components instead of installing it's own world under /usr/local. I know that you can turn off automatic updates yet this will not make WHM run on the system installed webserver with the system installed PHP. This would reduce conflicts with WHM and system packages and library dependencies.

    2. Now if 1 is possible, how will it react if I decide to install apache 2? (version 1.x is nowdays only legacy and shouldn't be used). PHP5 (I know this in specific has been discussed a lot, but neither the less a good example)? Newer exim? Newer bind? will it be compatible and function properly? Where can I find out which the requirements are more exactly?

    Now one thing that has been in the back of my head is backups. The very essential (and to most naturally considered) safety measurement. If something goes wrong, even if the server would drop dead or get hacked and the hacker (or rather, script kiddie :)) would execute rm -Rf / you can still be able to restore things.

    I am afraid that backing up general configuration, databases and home directories will not be enough to restore things used with WHM. A clean install of WHM / CPanel and restoration of /home and SQL databases and email accounts will probably not make WHM automaticly realize: "Oh. We have all this stuff.", but I am suspecting that it will store this essential metadata of i.e. registered domains handled by WHM and account linking elsewhere.

    Question:
    3. Where? :) What should I back up to ensure safety of WHM "magic" functionality in case of an emergency? What makes WHM tick?

    Our company had redhat installed on our servers. I didn't have much to say in the matter (didn't work here when the installation was performed). When I look at WHM I realize that with such complex intergration as to a limit of wanting to manage it's own packages the compatability will drop unless question 1 has a solution.

    The system should in my opinion be able to be about any distribution as a company feel safety in. I am sorry to say that I don't feel that safety with "the big R". Which brings up next topic: Distribution compatability.

    It is very simple really and can be concluded to two questions:
    4. Which distributions are WHM compatible with?

    5. Can it be fit to be used with lets say... Archlinux? Slackware? Debian? Gentoo? <insert your favourite distribution here>? Or is it engeneered to be kept in it's corner /usr/local and only be compatible with o few package managers (my guess in the case would be apt and rpm)?

    I would appreciate any feedback of your personal experiences aswell as concrete answers on the questions and discussions about topics taken in to question.

    Best regards,
    Mikael
     

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