PAR Deployments with Apache and FastCGI



We had a client with an Internet-facing "consumer" web site that had been rewritten as a Catalyst application in 2007. The original deployment was under mod_perl on a single, monolithic system which the client was leasing exclusively for their site. After seeing some memory performance issues this was converted into a FastCGI deployment under mod_fcgid and ran as such for about nine months.

Unfortunately, the system suffered some very strange low-level issues that essentially caused the system to hang at random times - these would happen from once a month to 3 times in a one-hour period. The system would sometimes recover, but more often than not the result was a hard reset of the system by the watchdog timer. After many hours/days of troubleshooting, hardware replacements, drivers upgrades, etc. the problem finally seemed to just vanish as some problems do.

Obviously, our client wasn't happy about some of the issues we'd had, however, this also underlined the limitations of having one system as the sole provider of a service. Ultimately, they decided to transition to a load balanced setup on virtual machines.

One of the things I knew that I needed to be able to do was keep their Catalyst application as independent from the underlying OS and Perl install as possible. This would allow me to deploy and upgrade the app with less mess and ultimately better availability of the app. So, I started looking at building the Cat app into a PAR...

-- Matt Pitts, 2008-03-17 17:05:29

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