April 18, 2010

Upgrade to 10.6.3 complete

As I mentioned last week, I've been working on upgrading my system from 10.5.7 to 10.6.3, performing as clean of an install as possible to clear out years of crud under the hood. I've wrapped up the last of my upgrades, and am up and running on a freshly built system.

The only real hiccup was with the Postfix compile, once that was sorted, everything else was fairly straightforward, simply a matter of grabbing all of the various packages to make everything here run, run through all the necessary compiles, then finally transfer over various changed files since the last copy.

Here is a list of the software currently installed for mail and web services:

Xcode 3.2.2
PHP 5.3.1 (10.6 built in version)
Apache 2.2.14 (10.6 built in version)
MySQL 5.1.45
Postfix 2.7
Dovecot 1.2.11
Cluebringer 2.0.10 (Policyd 2.0)
PCRE 8.0
DBI 1.609
DBD-mysql 4.014
Net-Server 0.97
Net-CIDR 0.13
Config-IniFiles 2.57
Cache-FastMmap 1.35

Initially I needed to copy the etc/postfix directory to preserve configuration files when installing the new Postfix,also copied over /var/mail to bring over the mail stores used by Postfix/Dovecot, and a handful of other config files, /Library/Webserver for the web pages.

To get Apache running, there were some simple edits to enable the built in PHP, and setting up the correct vhosts again; I hand edited the files to match the old config to keep from introducing any unneeded changes.

I think that the only real surprise was that there weren't more surprises. I now have everything running in 64 bit mode on the new server, with the exception of some 3rd party apps. Sweet.

Posted by Jim at 10:36 PM | TrackBack

April 14, 2010

Great site with Mac server info

In my web searching recently, I came across DIYMacServer, a site who's focus is all about running Postfix, Apache, PHP, Dovecot, and related code on the Mac. There are numerous articles about each software update that comes down the line, and the author, Richard Valk, does a great job at documenting everything he can about changes each update brings, and how it effects his system.

Posted by Jim at 9:08 PM | TrackBack

Compiling Postfix on Mac OS X 10.6

So, I'm trying to compile Postfix 2.7 on my new 10.6 system. During make, I get this:

In file included from dns_lookup.c:152:
dns.h:23:29: error: nameser8_compat.h: No such file or directory
make: *** [dns_lookup.o] Error 1
make: *** [update] Error 1

A google search found a suggested fix, in /src/util/sys_defs.h, the following line should be commented out:


With this line commented out, I'm able to get a good build, but at what cost? Presumably this is going to break some of the name resolution that Postfix uses, which would not be good. After reporting this on the Postfix mailing list, I spent some additional time researching the issue, but ironically kept coming up with various pages that mirror the Postfix list, and kept coming back to my own posting... Time to switch gears.

More searching online found some similar reports for software other than Postfix, but no hints at fixes. Digging into the OS, I found that Mac OS X 10.6 no longer has an include file named nameser8_compat.h, which is the source of the issue. The equivalent file now seems to be arpa/nameser_compat.h. Updating the Postfix dns.h file (line 23) to include this file instead finally resulted in a good build. It may be another day or so before I'm able to put this server online to test.

This information has also been reported to the Postfix mailing list, it is likely that the 2.7.1 version of Postfix should have this change and compile properly out of the box.

Posted by Jim at 10:58 AM | TrackBack

April 11, 2010

Upgrading to 10.6

It's upgrade time again here, and I've made the decision to set up a brand new system on the Mac Mini here. The current system originally started out under 10.3, was then upgraded to 10.4, then 10.5, and also saw at least one hardware switch in there. While fairly stable, I know there's a lot of crud under the hood left over from all the various installs, upgrades, and software changes. So, I'm setting up a new server completely from scratch on Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6.3. I've set up a spare Mini for this work, so I can have both systems up and running simultaneously.

That said, I do need to preserve the web site, and keep the old mail stores around, so this will need to be copied over to the new drive I've set up. After setting up the new drive, I've used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the web directories, mail storage, and the Postfix directory to the new system, this gets me most of the data that I'll need.

Next I'll need the MySQL data. Since this process is likely to be ongoing for a few days as I test and retest, I'm not going to want to make several data moves from MySQL, so the simplest solution was to set up a Master/Slave relationship on the two systems, so the data will always be in sync between both boxes. I know that at the end I'll need to clone over the web and mail data again, but that will be a quick process at that point.

Now to figure out what works and what doesn't...

Posted by Jim at 8:41 PM | TrackBack

April 7, 2010

Thermaltake Mobile Fan II

Recently I had to add a second external hard drive to the web server here to get a clone of the main drive to work with on another machine. The web server is a Mac Mini, with data cloned nightly to an external 2.5" hard drive via FireWire. I plugged in another 2.5" drive, after hooking up an old FireWire hub, and got the clone started, then promptly forgot about it. A day or so later I remembered, did another clone to catch any updates, and went to unplug the drive, and about burned my hand the enclosure was so hot. It was at this point that I realized that my original drive was no longer online, after some testing it appeared that the heat had caused it to shut down. Not good! So the search was on to find a way to keep the drives cool, should I ever need to stack them again in the future.

After some searching, I found a number of fans that connected via USB, a perfect way to add a small fan to get some air moving around the drives. One model stuck out because of the name, Thermaltake, well known for their cooling products. So I headed down to the local comp-u-mart, and picked up the Thermaltake Mobile Fan II

Before hooking it up, I thought it best to take a few temperature readings. Ambient Temp was 79.3F, Drive Enclosure 1 Temp read 109.0F, with the second drive having been disconnected the night before. I fired up the second drive, and watched the enclosure temp climb past 118F within just a few minutes, and this was simply with the drives powered up and spinning, no drive activity to speak of. Now, I knew that the drive enclosures had little airflow through them, but the aluminum cases had ventilation holes front and rear, and this apparently was simply for aesthetics, any cooling provided is certainly minimal. Time to fire up the fan!

The Mobile Fan II plugs in via USB, using an included retractable cable, keeping cable clutter to a minimum. The fan end of the cable uses a custom connector for fan power, which the fan then plugs into. It would have been nice if the fan itself had a standard USB jack, allowing for a standard USB cable to be used, but the retractable cable seems relatively sturdy and should not present any issues.

I set the fan to its lowest speed setting using the built in knob, according to the spec sheet this should have been about 1300 RPM, which, again according to the specs, should have a noise level of 17 dBA. Unless I had my ear right against the fan, I couldn't hear a bit of noise coming from it over the whirring of the drives. I placed the fan, still on low, next to the drives, and saw the temperature drop rapidly from the 122F that it had reached, dropping down to 114F in under a minute, and under 100F after a few more.

At the highest setting, the fan is capable of moving 47.28 cubic feet per minute of air, which is quite a lot for such a small fan, obviously the lower speeds will move much less.

There are a number of novelty fans that plug into the USB ports on the computer for keeping the user 'cool', but having seen these in action, their gentle breeze wasn't all that appealing for serious cooling, and I knew the Thermaltake brand wouldn't disappoint, and it didn't.

It is a great fan for notebooks, which aren't known for having large fans, or can be used anywhere you have a USB port and need some air moving, external drives are a great place for such a fan, if you have drives that don't include fans in their enclosures. Larger 3.5" drives especially would be great candidates for a fan like this.

I paid $14 for mine locally, a quick Google has these anywhere from $8 - $22 at a number of retailers.

Posted by Jim at 8:22 PM | TrackBack