Web Services

T4 Infrastructure Changes | Web services blog

We are taking the opportunity to bring the infrastructure that supports our content management system (CMS) [TerminalFour/T4] online and fix some issues we’ve had with our setup for a number of years. In the past we have had neither the time nor the resources nor the ability to deal with it, until now.

Most users will not have noticed any issues (as we work very hard to make sure you don’t), but within the Web team, these issues impact on a regular basis. We have two main problems:

  • Some of the servers below use unsupported technologies
  • Servers are not all created equal in terms of configuration and software versions

The result of this is that we have issues with our publishing times, meaning pages take longer to go out. Also, when we request new modules or add-ons, we struggle to implement them.

The unfortunate result of this is that the content/features we develop take longer than they should and we get surprised with unexpected results.

So what’s changing?

We are working with our colleagues at UoDIT to build new servers with supported software and consistent configuration. We will then migrate our existing setup (the CMS and all our content) to these new servers.

At the same time, we are taking the opportunity to migrate our underlying database technology from Oracle to MySQL, which is the vendor’s preferred option.

The CMS software itself will not change during this work, the way it looks and how you use it will remain the same as before.

When is this happening?

Work is already underway to build the servers. We plan to complete the development environment for week starting November 13th and tested with the production environment, the week of November 27th.

Notices have already been sent to all editors and we will keep you updated on the progress.

There will be some CMS downtime during the week of November 27th as we need to make sure no changes are made to the CMS during the content transfer, so nothing is lost.

We will still be able to make emergency changes to the website during this time, but you should aim to complete any changes during that time in the CMS before or after this work schedule, to minimize impact.

Will it be worth it?

While you won’t notice much happening on the front end, this work will ensure the stability of the existing system over the next couple of years as we migrate content to the new site.