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apache public_html and NSS

Posted on 2006-05-22
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This is an OES Linux question, but I figured I had a better chance of getting it answered here than in the linux forum.  
My users home directories mount to an iscsi share disk space (NSS volume called Users).  Users are allowed to have personal web pages.  I want each user to have a public_html folder in their home directory that contains their webpages.  I need a way to mount the remote nss user volumes on the linux web server so that I can point apache to their public_html folders.  I do not want to create local accounts for the users.

Any suggestions?
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Question by:blcarter14
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by:PsiCop
ID: 16737471
OK, you have an OES-Linux server on which you access a remote storage device, using iSCSI, and mount an NSS Volume on that remote storage device. Right? So as far as OES goes, the iSCSI-provided storage is just another NSS Volume, right?

And then, you have a *separate* Linux (flavor?) web server, running Apache, on which you wish to have the user public_html directories available. And those directories are on the NSS Volume, hosted on the separate OES-Linux server, which it accesses via iSCSI. Right?

If I have it right, then I'd suggest using Native File Access Protocol support in OES-Linux and using NFS to make the user home directories available to the Linux Apache server. It would NFS-mount the exported filesystem, and the Apache configuration would reference the Linux server's local mount-point for the NFS-exported filesystems.

Kinda high overhead (NFS is rather chatty), and you need to make sure the export is READ-ONLY (unless you want to have the ability for the web-server to modify user's files), but you can do it with stock tools available to you now.
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by:blcarter14
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You have it correct.  The flavor of the seperate linux server is Suse.  Will local user accounts need to be created on the linux server? I was hoping to stay away from this.
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by:PsiCop
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Hmm.....normally, yes, you'd need a local account on the plain SLES server, so Apache could determine the user's "home" directory and stick "public_html" on it.

However, as is usally the case in the open-source world, there's more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. In this case, the alternative is Apache's mod_rewrite

On the plain SLES server, enable mod_rewrite on Apache, and use it to rewrite "http://www.domain.tld/~user" to the proper directory structure.
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by:blcarter14
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Is there a clean way to do this in cluster services?  I have the nss volume as a cluster volume, so it can fail over to different servers.  
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PsiCop earned 2000 total points
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Hmmm......interesting.

I've not implemented NFS in a clustered environment. *In theory* it shouldn't matter, as long as the plain SLES server NFS-mounting the exported NSS Volume is referencing the Cluster Virtual Server name/IP address. NFS *should* treat the temporary unavailability of the filesystem during cluster migration as a network failure and retry the operation.

I'd test this out on a small scale before trying it in production. I'm not sure anyone has tried tackling this issue this way - document what you do and the pitfalls and how it all works and you'll have a heckuva AppNote to submit to Novell.

Assuming the NFS-export is a clusterable service, and I think it is, this should be doable like that. Just remember to put the NFS component of NFAP in the Cluster Resource Load and Unload scripts, and not in AUTOEXEC.NCF.
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