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Inventory cPanel server setup prior to customer migration to new system

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sozotech, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. sozotech

    sozotech Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    I have inherited some old crusty cPanel servers that desperately need upgraded hardware. My challenge is to move the domains to new cPanel servers while minimizing breaking any sites once they are moved. Some of the domains are using old technologies like ASP, FrontPage and older versions of php, perl etc.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to inventory or take stock of a server setup so that I can provision new servers that have the necessary software/setup to make the transition smooth?

    I very much appreciate any advice or tools you would use to tackle this task!


    Best regards,
    Eric
     
  2. MikeDVB

    MikeDVB Well-Known Member
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    Short of doing it manually I don't know that there is a good way to do it. How many accounts are you talking about here?

    Personally [this is just me] I'd probably discontinue ASP and FrontPage [send out a notice, allow enough time for people using these technologies to find alternative solutions] and then migrate everything else over.

    WHM does have a multiple-account transfer tool that works fairly well.

    That said - regardless - you should make the end-users aware of the version upgrades and changes that are coming. Sure - you may lose some of them - but you'll lose less than you will if you totally bork it up without notice.
     
  3. sozotech

    sozotech Well-Known Member

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    Mike,

    I understand about discontinuing the older technologies, but forcing customers to change always causes churn and the goal is to NOT lose customers.

    So I am still interested in advice on how to inventory what is needed to build a system to minimize forcing customers to redo their web sites.

    Eric
     
    #3 sozotech, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  4. MikeDVB

    MikeDVB Well-Known Member
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    I understand the goal is not to lose customers - but if that's the case - leave them where they are and don't make changes if you feel that's best :).

    When it eventually gets hacked to pieces you're more likely to lose customers.

    At the end of the day there's not much you can do if customers have software installed that isn't compatible with recent up-to-date versions short of advising them of the version changes and advising them to make sure they're on a newer version that is supported.

    The only other thing you could do, if you offer such a service, is to manage each account for them and perform upgrades/testing to make sure it's compatible with your new servers/systems/versions. I suspect you're not the webmaster for all of these accounts so this is likely more work than it's worth - you'd have to do it one at a time.

    It's your decision to make as to how you process it - I'm just telling you what I would do and why - you are certainly welcome to do it however you wish.
     
  5. sozotech

    sozotech Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mike,

    I understand the security concerns but the reason I have to replace the server is that the hardware is failing that is why I need to move them in short order. This is only a small subset of customers and I was planning on spinning up a virtual machine just for those customers which will allow them time to upgrade.

    I appreciate your advice but I am more interested in the technical aspects of doing the migration than what you feel is a best business practice.

    Eric
     
  6. MikeDVB

    MikeDVB Well-Known Member
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    Ok - then you have two options:
    1. Tell them the versions are changing and give them time to accommodate the changes.
    2. Install the new server with the same old tired outdated versions of the software and simply migrate people over.

    Either way you'll likely have to babysit the process.
     
  7. Shavaun

    Shavaun Well-Known Member

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    If I understand correctly, what you want to do is find out what each server has in the current state, so you can then replicate them the best you can. This information is very general, but I hope it gets you in the right direction.

    The steps really depend on how old the servers are and what they are running. The following information will only help you with software modules and Apache configuration - IPs, firewall, etc, are not included in this.

    If the modules are your concern, you can probably pull that information from EasyApache. If the previous server administrators were not using EasyApache, you might have to pull the information directly from the Apache configuration file, but otherwise EasyApache itself will keep track of that information for you. If you aren't familiar with EasyApache, you can read about it here: EasyApache

    Short version: You could copy the EasyApache profile from the old server to new server. Validate. Test. Copy accounts.

    Long version:

    1) Download the previously saved profile from EasyApache. You can do this via CLI (/var/cpanel/easy/apache/profile/_last_success.yaml) or in the WHM EasyApache GUI.

    2) Read through the profile and and perhaps verify it against the existing httpd.conf file to make sure they were using EasyApache and that the data is valid. If they were manually building their Apache configuration, EasyApache will not reflect their current configuration. You will want to check to see what versions are used for things such as PHP, to make sure they are still supported versions, and install any opt mods if necessary. You can view the latest versions of software either with the GUI or via CLI (/scripts/easyapache --latest-versions).

    3) Copy the file over to the new server, and run EasyApache with that profile. If due to the configuration this is not possible, you can set the options inside EasyApache instead.

    4) Copy or create a test site to verify it is working correctly with the functionality you expect. How you do this is really up to you and how you have things set up. One relatively simple method is to edit the hosts file on the computer you are testing from. This prevents the real server from being affected.

    5) Perhaps (this is just a suggestion) check to see if any of the servers don't need all of the modules that they have, especially if they are old servers some of the original customer needs might have changed. The fewer modules, the less compatibility issues and the less potential security risks (not including modules intended for security such as mod_security of course).

    6) Once you know the Apache server configuration is correct, this document may be helpful for the actual account transferring: Copy Multiple Accounts/Packages from Another Server

    You can do these things from CLI or GUI.

    You may also want to check the documentation for the version after whatever version the servers are currently running - often software (including cPanel) will include details about potential oddities during the upgrade process.

    If you determine you have specific software versions you suspect will be trouble, the gurus here may be able to give you more suggestions.

    I completely understand that you want to keep your customers, and I'm sure they will appreciate the effort you are putting into keeping their services working the way they expect. We try to maintain software in cPanel & WHM as long as we safely can.

    We will, however, be removing some of the old versions of software in the future. This post includes more information that you may find useful: http://forums.cpanel.net/f442/reminder-easyapache-eol-items-removed-end-2013-a-372081.html


    I hope that helps!

    Shavaun
    EasyApache Technical Writer
    cPanel, Inc.
     
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