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Containerisation for LAMP websites

Service group: Collaboration and Communication Services
Users: Staff

Service Description

IT Services hosts various web sites on behalf of the University and generally these are maintained by Marketing and Communications.

Containerisation for LAMP websites (LAMP containers) provides a minimal segregated enviroment for LAMP web sites or applications with a small or specialised remit. Typically they are used to host Wordpress Blogs or similar sites, or small bespoke web applications.

LAMP Containers are either provided "empty" for you to install or create a PHP web application, or the Drupal or Wordpress content management systems can be preinstalled.

Example Uses

Here are a handful of examples of what existing users are doing with their LAMP Containers.

Team or Department Wiki with DokuWiki or MediaWiki
Team or Department equipment booking system with MRBS
Blogs with Wordpress
Conference planning and management with HotCRP
Making research findings publically available with bespoke databases and web frontends

Technical Details

Linux Distribution: CentOS 7
Processing: Shared CPU at a ratio of approximatly 5 Containers per CPU Core.
RAM: Up to 2GB
Disk Space: 5GB
PHP Version: 5.4
Database: MySQL 5.5
Optional Preinstalled Software: Wordpress, Drupal
LAMP Containers are Centos based and have a shared cpu and up to 2GB of RAM. The container includes Apache, MySQL and PHP. It may be possible to use other software but ITS won't be able to prove support. OS patches are installed automatically each day.

Other points to note about the service is that ssh access is permitted from within the campus network and HTTPS connections are offloaded and proxied via our reverse proxies. From time to time service may be unavailable for maintenance, which would be announced in advance.

Domain names

Domain names are available ending qmul.ac.uk where a suitable existing departmental domain is used (e.g. domain names ending history.qmul.ac.uk or sllf.qmul.ac.uk).

It may be possible to request a domain name with out a departmental suffix (e.g mywebapp.qmul.ac.uk), however this is subject to approval on a case by case basis.

Non qmul.ac.uk domain names may be used, however this is not generally recommended and there may be further costs and obligations you will need to meet.

It may be possible to use an existing domain name with a container, please enquire and we will advise.

SSL Certificates

SSL is available but may not be supplied by default to your Container. Where your domain name ends qmul.ac.uk, ITS can procure and install a certificate for you. For other domains we can advise on obtaining SSL certificates.

Backups

Nightly backups are taken, primarily for disaster recovery purposes. Backups are retained for at least one month.

You're encouraged to maintain your own backup copies of your web site, particularly before applying updates or modifying your application code.

If requested, we will restore your container to a previous days backup.

Life-cycle

The supported life-time of LAMP Contaniner is limited by the life-cycle of the underlying operating system. Once the "production" support period of the OS ends, we are unable to support the LAMP Container. Before that time, users would be given the opportunity to move to a new Container based on a more recent OS.

RedHat Enterprise Linux is the underlying operating system for our CentOS based containers and according to the RedHat Life-Cycle Dates, support for RHEL 6 ends on 30 November 2020, and for RHEL 7 on 30 June 2024.

Information Classification

LAMP Containers are not suitable for sensitive information.

Information classified as "Open" or "Protect", as defined in DG09 Information Classification, can be hosted in a LAMP container.

Service Classification

This service is classified as Non-Critical and is not suitable for any business critical web sites such as the main college web site. Any business critical web sites will require their own special service design and build.

Your obligations

In addition to normal University policies (including the IT Regulation and Web Policy) you are obliged to maintain your LAMP Container web site and any additional software or code added to it. This includes any third party or custom plugins and templates you may add to the Drupal or Wordpress installations.

From time to time we may identify security or other issues with your LAMP Container and in some cases you may need to make modifications or updates.

If your LAMP Container is no longer required, please let us know so that it can be decommissioned. If you are leaving the organisation or changing roles, please ensure your Container is handed over to a colleague and ITS Services are informed.

If you are writing code for a LAMP container, please refer to the Web Application Best Practice guidance document.

How to request this service

Contact the Marketing and Communication team <websupport@qmul.ac.uk> in the first instance. Your web site may be suitable for web design and management provided by them.

If your web site is not related to services provided by Marketing and Communications, please make your request through the Service Desk.

Lead Time

LAMP Container Hosting related requests should be made at least 4 working weeks in advance.

Cost

There may be some costs involved, this needs to be consulted with the Marketing and Communication Team and IT Services.

Availability

Hours of Service: 24/7/365

Supported Monday to Friday 8am-6pm (excluding bank holidays and university closure days).

Support

Support is provided for the core features of the LAMP Container, Apache web server, MySQL and PHP Installation. Support is also provided for the optional preinstalled software and Idcheck authentication.

You can modify the configuration of your LAMP container and will be able to install additional software, however we're unable to provide support. We will endeavour to provide advice and guidance where possible but may need to restore to a known working backup if a LAMP container develops a fault.

Bespoke PHP programming and application support are not provided, users must maintain their website, application and code.

Contact the IT Helpdesk

Call: +44 (0)20 7882 8888
Email: helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk
Visit: Queens' Building, Room W209, Mile End
Self-service: Helpdesk

Dependent service

This service is dependent on Infrastructure Services.

Roadmap

Debian 8 based containers are under developement and will be made available once we are satisfied they are reliable. Debian 8 containers will not be offered with pre-installed web applications. We may require users demonstrate their ability to support a debian 8 system prior to issue.

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