ezyang’s blog

the arc of software bends towards understanding

Evolution of a Shared Web Host

Edward continues his spree of systems posts. Must be something in the Boston air.

Yesterday, I gave a SIPB cluedump on the use and implementation of scripts.mit.edu, the shared host service that SIPB provides to the MIT community. I derive essentially all of my sysadmin experience points from helping maintain this service.

Scripts is SIPB’s shared hosting service for the MIT community. However, it does quite a bit more than your usual $10 host: what shared hosting services integrate directly with your Athena account, replicate your website on a cluster of servers managed by Linux-HA, let you request hostnames on *.mit.edu, or offer automatic installs of common web software, let you customize it, and still upgrade it for you? Scripts is a flourishing development platform, with over 2600 users and many interesting technical problems.

I ended up splitting up the talk into two segments: a short Scripts for Power Users presentation, and a longer technical piece named Evolution of a Shared Web Host. There was also a cheatsheet handout passed out in the talk.

Among the technologies discussed in this talk include Apache, MySQL, OpenAFS, Kerberos, LDAP and LVS.