Trial migration from Coolstack 1.2 to 1.3.1

I got an opportunity to run a trial migration of several applications from Solaris Coolstack version 1.2 to version 1.3.1 recently. The Coolstack applications that we use include MySQL, Apache (including mod_jk), Tomcat and Memcached.

I had no problems at all with the Tomcat or Memcached upgrades but did hit 2 minor issues with MySQL and Apache (mod_jk actually).

1. MySQL

This involved going from MySQL 5.0.45 to 5.1.25 and whilst I found that a regular mysqldump of my MySQL 5.0 databases imported without error into MySQL 5.1, I did encounter some minor issues with user permissions later on. Fortunately, the guide to Upgrading from MySQL 5.0 to 5.1 proved very useful and revealed that I had missed an essential step in the upgrade process which was the use of the mysql_upgrade utility. There is lots more to read about in the upgrade guide and depending on your configuration, there may be more steps to be considered.

2. Apache (mod_jk)

Whilst the Apache upgrade (2.2.6 to 2.2.9) worked a treat, I found that mod_jk 1.2.26 employs stricter rules in relation to the placement of JkMount/JkMountFile commands in VirtualHosts. In my previous configuration, I had a single JkMount command inside my mod_jk.conf file (which in turn was included from the main httpd.conf file). However, using this configuration with Apache 2.2.9 and mod_jk 1.2.26, I found that my AJP load balancer was not working correctly for one of my VirtualHosts. It was only when I moved my JkMount command inside the scope of the VirtualHost that it started working again.

Other Comments

Most of the SMF service names in the Coolstack 1.3.1 applications have been renamed slightly. In Coolstack 1.2, all of the SMF service names began with csk- but now they all end with -csk instead. This was apparently done to make the service names more compatible with OpenSolaris but, to be honest, I find it a little bit annoying as we’ve written a number of useful scripts that manage these services explicitly by name.

Coolstack 1.3.1 includes two different versions of Tomcat (5.0 and 6.0) which install to different locations and have different SMF service names.

Apache Log File Rotation on Solaris

Here are some quick commands to configure daily rotation of the two main Apache logging files, on a Solaris system that uses a nightly cron task to execute the logadm utility (this is enabled by default on a clean installation of Solaris).

Purge any existing entries

To make nice clean start, you may wish to remove any existing log rotation entries.

# logadm -r /log/apache/access_log
# logadm -r /log/apache/error_log

Commit new log rotation settings

Our requirements were that the log files in question be rotated each day, no matter what size they are, and that the resultant file be compressed and named after the current date.

logadm -c -p 1d -t '$file-%Y-%m-%d' -z 0 -w /log/apache/access_log
logadm -c -p 1d -t '$file-%Y-%m-%d' -z 0 -w /log/apache/error_log

The -c indicates that the log files should copied and truncated rather than renamed. The -w parameter ensures that all of the settings specified in the command be written to the central log rotation configuration file in /etc/logadm.conf

Solaris CoolStack 1.3 released

CoolStack is a collection of some of the most commonly used open source applications optimized for the Sun Solaris platform. The latest version of this software suite, Cool Stack 1.3, has just been released. Here is a brief overview:

Notable Additions

  • Python 2.5.2
  • Nginx 0.6.31
  • New Apache modules including mod_python, mod_ruby, mod_dtrace etc.

Updated Versions

  • Apache 2.28
  • Tomcat 5.5.26
  • MySQL 5.1.24
  • PHP 5.2.6
  • Memcached 1.2.5
  • Ruby 1.8.6p114 with Ruby Gems 1.1.1 and Rails 2.0.2

Other Enhancements

  • Ruby performance improvements in the order of 20-30% (with a further 8-15% coming down the line when Ruby 1.8.7 is released)
  • Better support for installing Ruby Gems that require native compilation on SPARC systems

The addition of Nginx an Python support along with the performance improvements in Ruby as well as the additional Apache modules are all very useful additions and have yet again come at just the right time for our organisation. Well done to Shanti and his team for providing almost exactly everything we were hoping for in this release, again!

Solaris CoolStack 1.2 released

CoolStack is a collection of some of the most commonly used open source applications optimized for the Sun Solaris OS platform. I’ve been tracking the release of the next version, CoolStack 1.2, for some time and see that it has just been released. Here is a brief overview of what it gives you:

  • Apache 2.2.6 with mod_jk-1.2.25, mod_proxy and SMF support.
  • PHP 5.2.4 with FastCGI support.
  • APC 3.0.14.
  • MySQL 5.0.45 with ndbcluster and SMF support.
  • Memcached 1.2.2.
  • Squid 2.6.16 with SMF support.
  • Tomcat 5.5.23 with SMF support.
  • Ruby 1.8.6 with RubyGems and Rails 1.2.3.
  • lighttpd 1.4.18.
  • Perl 5.8.8 with DBI-1.59, DBD-mysql-4.005 and Sys-Syslog-0.18 extensions

As you can see, CoolStack is now a pretty serious software bundle and there isn’t much it doesn’t give you (although DTrace support for Ruby would be a useful addition). The addition of Tomcat and SMF support (SMF allows easier management of Solaris services) along with the additional Apache modules and updated revisions of Apache, MySQL, Ruby and Rails tick a large number of boxes in our organisation as we previously had to build several Apache modules by hand, struggled with lack of Perl DBI/DBD extensions and spent far too long constructing SMF manifests for many of the applications.

So, well done to Shanti and his team for providing almost exactly everything we were hoping for in this release! CoolStack has now become an integral part of our software infrastructure, reducing our service deployment times considerably.

Apache + Mongrel on Solaris

Apache is an excellent Web Server but does not handle Rails projects very well. Mongrel is a Ruby-based library that can assist things like Apache with management of dynamic content.

Credit / Reference Site

We owe a great deal of thanks to this article posted by codehale on the same topic. The article you are reading here is a summation of notes taken during a recent installation of Apache and Mongrel on the Solaris operating system, based on codehale’s article.

Several software packages need to be pre-installed on Solaris in order for Mongrel to install and operate correctly. I have listed them below along with the version I used. The version of Apache and Ruby were both taken from the Solaris CoolStack software bundle.

  1. Apache 2.2
  2. Ruby 1.8.5
  3. Ruby Gems 0.9.2
  4. Ruby on Rails 1.2.3
  5. Sun Studio 11

To install the software, simply download (and unzip) the relevant file from the above site(s) and install it (as root) using the pkgadd –d command.

Installation Procedure
The system used for this installation was a SunFire T1000 running Solaris 2.10 (U3).

Step 1 – Download Mongrel


# gem install daemons gem_plugin mongrel mongrel_cluster --include-dependencies --no-rdoc --no-ri


  • When asked about which version of Mongrel and FastThread, we chose the newest version for ruby (not win32).
  • The above command will attempt to compile and install some native code and requires a C compiler. If you are using Sun Studio, you should also read my other post regarding Ruby and Sun Studio.
  • If you are using GCC, then you may also require ginstall. However, ginstall is not available for Solaris so we overcame this by installing the GNU coreutils package and then creating a symbolic link: /usr/local/bin/ginstall pointing at /usr/local/bin/install (after coreutils was installed).
  • The reference site above also recommends that the “sendfile” utility be removed from your system (if installed). We used the “pkginfo | grep sendfile” command to verify that it was not present on our system.

Step 2 – Configuring Mongrel Clusters


# cd /opt/tssg/feedhenry/wc
# mongrel_rails cluster::configure -e production -p 8000 -a -N 3 -c /opt/myrubyapp/public
# vi /opt/myrubyapp/config/mongrel_cluster.yml (and change port setting to 8000 - see below)
# mongrel_rails cluster::start -c /opt/myrubyapp/config/mongrel_cluster.yml


  • The -N value above represents the number of clusters required. We followed the example and chose 3.
  • The second command above creates a mongrel_cluster.yml file. However, we noticed that the port setting in this file was incorrect after it was created. It was “ath” instead of 8000 (not sure why).
  • The final command should produce one line of output for each cluster configured indicating that each cluster was correctly started.
  • You should also examine the logs/mongrel.log file and ensure that the clusters started on the correct ports (8000, 8001, 8002 etc). This is how we noticed that the .yml file had the wrong port setting.
  • You can use the mongrel_rails cluster::stop command to stop the clusters again (-c option also required here)

Step 3 – Configuring Apache

You will need use some additional Loadable Modules for Apache. Refer to this post for details on which ones you need and how to build them. You can then follow the instruction in the reference post.

Once these files were configured and placed in the conf/extra directory, we simply had to make one change to the main Apache configuration file (conf/httpd.conf) to ensure that these new files were loaded by Apache. This consisted of the following command:

Include conf/extra/myapp*.conf

You should now be ready to start Apache (/opt/coolstack/apache2/bin/apachectl start)

Best of luck!

Building Loadable Modules for Apache on Solaris

We recently installed a version of Sun’s CoolStack software bundle on a SunFire T2000 server running Solaris 10 so that we could use its CoolThreads-optimised version of Apache instead of the regular Apache that came pre-installed on the box (highly recommended by Sun).

However, when we ran the new version of Apache against our configuration, we discovered that it does not include a number of key modules that we require (namely Proxy Balancer). Sun does not provide these in binary format so we had to build them by hand. Fortunately, Apache does provide a convenient tool (apxs) for building modules but unfortunately this requires you to install a Sun compiler, Sun Studio (now free though) which added some extra time to the process.

Anyway, I appreciate that this may not be rocket science to many of you but, despite the many articles already published on this topic, there were still some issues that we hit which were not documented. So, here is how we did it.

  1. Ensure that you have installed the latest version of the CoolStack software (installs to /opt/coolstack)
  2. Download, unpack and install Sun Studio 11 (installs to /opt/SUNWspro)
  3. Be patient, very patient … 600MB download, followed by a long unzip to 1.1GB followed by a long install …
  4. Download, unpack and install the CoolStack Source (installs to /opt/coolstack/src)
  5. Now, as a root user, follow the commands below

# export PATH=/opt/SUNWspro/bin:$PATH
# cd /opt/coolstack/src/httpd-2.2.3/modules/proxy
# /opt/coolstack/apache2/bin/apxs -i -a -c mod_proxy.c proxy_util.c

This will compile the module, copy it to the appropriate directory and update the Apache configuration file for you. If you leave out the proxy_util.c you will get "proxy_lb_worker: symbol not found" errors when you start Apache

# /opt/coolstack/apache2/bin/apxs -i -a -c mod_proxy_balancer.c

Once again, this will compile, copy and deploy the module for you

# /opt/coolstack/apache2/bin/apxs -i -a -c mod_proxy_http.c

If you forget to install this module, Apache will start, but the site will be inaccessible (saying you do not have permissions to view this page). You will also see errors like "proxy: No protocol handler was valid for the URL /" in the Apache error log file for your product.

Best of luck!