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IT Services

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 environment 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 provide you support with those. 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 and SSL Certificates

Domain names should match the following criteria and if so, IT Services may be able to supply an SSL certificate at no cost to your department.

Domain names should:

  • end with "qmul.ac.uk"
  • not include the prefix www.
  • end with a suitable school or departmental domain (e.g. history.qmul.ac.uk or sllf.qmul.ac.uk)
  • must not already be in-use, unless by your existing website which you plan to move to this service.

With agreement from Marketing and Communications, your domain name could:

  • end with "qmul.ac.uk" and not use a departmental prefix.

Non qmul.ac.uk domain names may be used, however this is not generally recommended and there could be further ongoing costs and obligations you will be responsible for.  Please note it is not possible to use Idcheck authentication with a Non-qmul.ac.uk domain name.

If you are unsure, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

The University House Style requires URLs or web addresses not include the "www." prefix.  Therefore, we do not issue those domain name as standard, and won’t normally provide an SSL certificate at no cost.  Where necessary, we can provide a redirect from your domain name with a "www." prefix to your domain name without it.

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.  Please contact us if you would like guidance on tools and techniques to backup your website and maintain a version history.

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

Life-Cycle

The supported life-time of LAMP Container 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 IT 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.

If your domain name doesn't meet the criteria described above, you may need to manage the domain name registration, the purchasing and updating of SSL certificates, and any additional costs required to do so.  If you are unsure, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

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 for your changes or additional software.  We will endeavor to provide advice and guidance where possible.

Some faults may require your LAMP container to be restored to a known working backup.

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: servicedesk@qmul.ac.uk
Visit: Queens' Building, Room W209, Mile End
Self-service: Service Desk

Dependent Service

This service is dependent on Infrastructure Services.

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