Last post, we spent time going through the history of getting started with Contegix (Managed Hosting ) and the many areas that they have helped us to scale and handle complicated infrastructure requests. Now, let’s spend a little time talking about how Contegix and HotWax manage OFBiz installations.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we found Contegix because of their reputation in the Java community for providing the highest quality Java application support and deployment around. This translated directly into their management and support of the OFBiz community and specifically the deployment and management of production applications built upon the Apache Open for Business platform. In short, they have killed it and made our ability to deliver the highest quality development and production support possible.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how we manage installation together and how it might benefit your business:
1. It all starts with infrastructure support
Contegix knows infrastructure, so just about anything that you’ll bring to the table, they have implemented in a system for someone. We have brought to them some truly strange setups and they haven’t blinked – in fact – to the contrary – they’ve improved upon the architecture that’s being brought to the table and owned it as if this was a development project that they were taking on. That’s one of the best things about them – many of the first people in the company were actually developers – which makes the way they look at your solutions that much more on point to what you are delivering.
2. Deployment matters
Through the years of contributing to OFBiz we have gone through many cycles from using a vendor branch per customer, to using only the trunk with patches to custom pieces of the code, to working directly off of releases, to using a single vendor branch for all customers, etc – I am sure this will continue to change as we develop software. Another big bullet to focus on is that Contegix manages ALL of our staging and production deployments – with very little input from us.
For those of you who have been doing this for a while, and more importantly those of you who have managed processes around deployments and everything that’s involved there – this must just sound too good to be true.
Well it is … except that it is true :) We simply provide them with URLs to the branch, trunk, version, etc of OFBiz – and our components – and they not only maintain the files necessary to run the framework (entity-engine configuration, ofbiz-containers, etc), but they do this across the variety of deployment styles and individual instances that were put in place along the way. They work directly with our engineers to understand when our custom patches might impact their patches as well as being proactive about getting together with our team about changes that they’d like to see in the way we’re providing them information.
All I can say is that it doesn’t get any better than letting the people who understand the servers take care of that – and allowing our people to focus on the customer specific aspects of our software.
3. Expert, knowledgeable 24 x 7 support
Not that this is a given these days in the age of automation, but if you look, you should have no problem finding a host out there who might be able to answer the phone or reboot your broken server, but what happens when something really goes wrong? What happens when your database crashes and the guy sleeping on the phone has to wait until 8 AM and the Linux technician comes in? Contegix employs experienced developers who know the tools they use (and the tools you use) better than just about anyone you possibly could employ. Add in the fact that they are monitoring your application all the time and can preempt your customers from noticing any glitches in the system, and you know that you’ve found your partner.
Next up is finding out about our partnerships that we forged thru our partnership with Contegix: Atlassian tools and Customware support.
Tim Ruppert is Chief Operating Officer at HotWax Media as well as an OFBiz project committer and active community member. Tim will join other HotWax Media employees and advisors in periodically posting thoughts here related to OFBiz, eCommerce, ERP, and related topics.
DATE: May 1, 2010
AUTHOR: Mike Bates