Puakma: Under the hood

I'm Brendon Upson, jack-of-all-trades, master of one or two. I'm talking about life running a small ISV tackling business issues and leaping technology hurdles in a single bound.

webWise Network Consultants is based in Sydney, Australia and develops the groundbreaking Tornado Server technology.

Browser-based server management and templates rock

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2005-05-19

Our biggest Australian customer is a mining company based in deepest darkest QLD. They run their head office and 4 mines on Puakma Tornado server. Each mine is at the end of a satellite link with some very average latency times. We have developed for them a mine management system that they run at each of their mine sites, and like any system as their business grows and changes they need changes and support.

From day 1 my design for Tornado server was to make all the important things accessable using the browser. Based on the "eat you own dogfood" principle we quickly found what was needed for us to manage our own servers remotely. This makes managing our customers environments easy too.

Consider today's application upgrade. We hook up to their test server and export the latest version of the application as a single .pmx file. Next we upload that .pmx file into the target system at one of the mine sites. This automatically decompresses the .pmx file and installs the application alongside the one to be upgraded. We then open up the /system/admin.pma application and tell the agenda task to refresh the application designs immediately. Upgrade complete. Each site uses an identical copy of the application so we repeat for each site.

The design refresh process in Puakma Tornado server works much like that in Lotus Domino. You designate an application either a template or as inheriting from a template (or neither). The server based code then ensure that the application is an exact duplicate of its template. This is very power for sites that run many applications of the same type. We run a number of copies of "Cannibal" (our content management system). When we need to add a feature or fix a bug, we change one template and all instances of Cannibal get the new feature the next time the RefreshDesign process runs (default is at 6am daily).