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October 20, 2009

Set up a Virtual Web Server at UM


1) Go through LSA for virtual server.
- Doesn't work. They suggested VaaS.

2) VaaS - Essentially blank server space. ~$500/year

3) UMWeb - virtual webserver. This is the step I'm going with and the rest of this post documents the process.

- Post-hoc Cost Estimate: $30/year (IFS Group Space) + $50/year (UMWeb server space) = $80/year. We have 5Gb on the IFS drive and around 10Gb (I believe!) of database space. For comparison purposes, web hosting from Godaddy.com runs from $50 - $150/year.

- Question to Mark Montague of ITCS regarding how much space we may need on the IFS group directory:

Hi Mark, I think I'm going to set up a virtual server with MySQL and PHP but I had a question about table space. I'm pretty sure I am going to need to create an IFS group directory. When setting the storage space on this directory, do I need to account for the MySQL tablespace? Or will that IFS directory only be for photos and other webcontent we want to add? Hope this makes sense. Thanks, Kyle

Mark's reply:
The database resides on a dedicated database server, not in IFS. So you only need IFS space for files (PHP, HTML, CSS, media files, and other
Mark Montague
Webmaster team

- CREATE IFS group directory (needed in order to set up a virtual server):

Talking to ITS Account Office about whether we can use a "Course Home Directory" for our IFS space or if the UMBS needs to pay for its own space... Turns out we will need to create our own IFS group space. Cost for UMBS group directory = $0.50/Gb/month

Pam and I set it up at this website and started with 5 Gb. Note that Alicia, Karie, Pam and I are administrators on this drive space. It is called "umbsweb" and should probably only be used for data hosted on the umbs.lsa.umich.edu website. Also note that the UMOD group is xbs-UMBSAnnArbor.

- Set up a domain name (umbs.lsa.umich.edu):

We also need to set up a domain name, I've emailed hostmaster@umich.edu to inquire about this. See "UMBS Domain Name" below the fold for documentation (email correspondence) on this step. The long/short is that our domain name will be umbs.lsa.umich.edu.

- Request a Virtual Host

Pam and I did so by going to this website. It took maybe 5 minutes to request (although I do not have the site yet!)

UMBS Domain Name:

The following is an email string that charts how we came to settle on umbs.lsa.umich.edu. You will want to read from the bottom up!

Hi Kyle,

There isn't any particular setup for it, We just create an entry in UMBS' DNS tables for the hostname. ITS just needs to provide us a destination address to plug into the table when they are done setting things up.


-----Original Message-----
From: Kyle Steven Brown-Kwaiser [mailto:kkwaiser@umich.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 1:08 PM
To: hostmaster@lsa.umich.edu
Subject: Re: UMBS Domain name

Hello Hostmaster,

I would like to set up a domain name (umbs.lsa.umich.edu) that will allow the University of Michigan Biological Station to use the ITS web hosting services. What steps are necessary to do this?


Kyle Kwaiser
UMBS Information Manager


On Tue, 20 Oct 2009 12:39:44 -0400,

No special approval is required for umbs.lsa.umich.edu that I'm aware of (hostmaster@lsa.umich.edu would have the authoritative word, though). But I know the LSA hostmaster has previously set up such names so LSA units can use our hosting services.

--- Tony Winkler ITS Web Production Team

Quoting Kyle Steven Brown-Kwaiser :

Hi Tony and Bob, Thanks for the speedy turn around. Would I need an OK from the LSA Dean's office to get "umbs.lsa.umich.edu"?


NOTE to Karie and Phil: The DNS policy guides the creation of new web domain names on campus. See attached for the policy.


On Tue, 20 Oct 2009 12:24:25 -0400,

We could host content for www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs on our servers only if the LSA webmaster were willing to configure a reverse proxy on their servers. Has any thought been given to "umbs.lsa.umich.edu" for this site? That name meets the DNS policy, and has the advantage of being a distinct hostname that could be pointed directly to one of our servers. It also has fewer points of failure than a reverse proxy, since it doesn't require an intermediary webserver.

--- Tony Winkler ITS Web Production Team


Quoting :

We need to ask the webmasters, so I am forwarding this note.

Bob Harold hostmaster,


Message from kkwaiser@umich.edu
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 12:09:35 -0400
Subject: Re: UMBS Domain name

Hi Bob, I did not know I would need to approach the Dean's office. To be clear, if we are to use the UMWeb servers do we need to create a new domain name? For example, can we somehow use our current name: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs and still use ITCS server space?

BTW, I've talked to LSA IT and it is not an option to use their server space.

Thank you, kbk

On Tue, 20 Oct 2009 11:45:11 -0400,

Looks like this falls under LS&A. In that case the dean appears to be T. McDonald. Please ask the dean to send an email containing the request (your wording is good) to hostmaster@umich.edu. After that, we run it past our management for approval also.

Bob Harold hostmaster,


Message from kkwaiser@umich.edu
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 11:24:02 -0400
Subject: UMBS Domain name
To: hostmaster@umich.edu

Hi there, I am in the process of requesting virtual server space through UMWeb and I would like to secure a domain name for the University of Michigan Biological Station. Preferably, the domain name would be www.umbs.umich.edu. To do so, should I have our Director write a letter (phrased as above) with the request? What other information should be included?

Thanks in advance for you help,
Kyle Kwaiser
UMBS Information Manager

----- End message from kkwaiser@umich.edu -----

Posted by kkwaiser at October 20, 2009 10:51 AM


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