I’ve spent the last few days migrating Shirt Pocket from Panther Server to Tiger Server, and while it mostly went well, it could have gone smoother. Much smoother.

Hopefully, this post will help others in a similar situation. If you’re not technical, this is going to be oh-so-much gobbledegook: sorry.

The Basic Problem
Unlike upgrading from the non-Server version of Panther and TIger, Server doesn’t have any nice “Upgrade”, “archive and install”, etc. Instead, it’s a lovely clean install every time. And by lovely, I mean not lovely.

Of course, I really couldn’t bring the main server down and do some sort of multi-day transfer, so I set upon a plan. Namely, I’d take the brand new drive I planned to use (a Maxtor MaxLine III 300GB SATA), connect it to a WiebeTech SATA Dock, plug that into a G5 iMac that I usually use for testing, and install Server to it.

Which I did. Bringing up the bare-bones server configuration, adding users, etc was the easy part.

Things I Couldn’t Leave Behind
On my server, I run:

  • Apache
  • Kerio Mail Server
  • FogBUGZ (for bug tracking, customer support, etc)
  • vBulletin (our Forums)
  • Expression Engine (this blog)
  • Mint
Simple enough. But not. Many of the above won’t run out-of-the-box on Panther or Tiger Server. You need updated versions of PHP, extensions for Apache, updated MySQL—a whole bunch of stuff.

Prepackaged goods
Previously, I’d used Marc Linyage’s installer packages to get most of this running, and while that worked OK, my Apache server was literally crashing every few seconds due to some weird bug. And, there was no real way to update his installs until he did. I was stuck with stuff well past its update-by date.

Darwin Ports to the Rescue
So, instead, I decided to use Darwin Ports to install PHP4 (FogBUGZ doesn’t support PHP5), Apache 2.2, and MySQL 5, all with the options needed to support the above.

For those of you used to GUIs (yes, I know there are various DP GUIs), Darwin Ports would be a bit of a shock. It’s command-line only, and while it does a whole lot of great stuff, it’s a bit, well, clunky. But, I was happy to see that the PHP4 port had what I needed in it.

The Easy(ish) Part
After installing XCode and the developer tools, I installed the latest version of Darwin Ports and got to work. From what I could determine, the command to use was:

sudo port install -v -c php4 +mysql5 +server +apache2 +imap +macosx +darwin_8

That one command downloaded the sources necessary to build MySQL, PHP4, Apache 2, tweaked it to support OSX and Tiger, built the whole thing, and installed it all into the default Darwin Ports folder, /opt/local.

Configuring the Configuration
The first real challenge was getting Apache 2 configured for the Shirt Pocket site. While Apache 2 is mostly backward compatible with Apache 1.3, the httpd.conf syntax is a bit different, especially with regard to extensions. And, Apple’s Admin Console GUI doesn’t do Apache 2. So, I had a few hours’ work tweaking it to support our various realms, virtual servers and sites.

Similarly, I had to hand-configure MySQL 5 and PHP4 to add the various options we needed, including support for Kerio’s sendmail and the like.

An hour or two later, and a few port uninstall and reinstalls later (note that the PHP4 port uninstall/clean leaves bits of the install in its folders, and won’t install properly until you clean those up by hand), I had this ready to go.

Basics Are Go!
After testing things with apachectl and verifying the syntax, I used launchctl (the launchd control CLI), to add the automatically created launchd plists (nice, Darwin Ports!) into launchd and restarted. To my amazement, basic stuff was up and going.

Copying in the Site
So—next, I had to bring the data over from the other server. First, I used scp to copy over the web site files, including the installed copy of vBulletin, Expression Engine and Mint. The site seemed to work fine, although I’d neglected to create our Apache authenticated users. Once fixed, that worked too.

Welcome to The Suck
For FogBUGZ, I did a new install, and here things started to go way, way, downhill.

FogBUGZ is highly dependent on the configuration. In fact, since they recommend the Linyage packages, they’ve hardwired their paths to where he installs things in the /usr/local hierarchy and they also assume that httpd.conf is in /etc. My stuff was in /opt/local, in places FogBUGZ never knew to look, so FogBUGZ wouldn’t even install. Arrgh!

FogBUGZ support was kind enough to provide me with a rough list of prerequisites and checks they were doing, so I spent some time faking it out. After a lot of starts and stops, I determined I had to:

  • Symlink /usr/bin/php to /opt/local/bin/php4
  • Symlink /usr/local/bin to /opt/local/bin
  • Create /usr/local/php
  • Symlink /usr/local/php/bin to /opt/local/lib/php4
  • Create /usr/local/php/lib
  • Symlink php.ini to /opt/local/etc/php.ini
Starting to Run
Once that was done, FogBUGZ was able to install. After install, I had to tweak some configuration files:
  • Copy the added fogbugz.conf from /etc/httpd/httpd.conf into /opt/local/apache2/conf/httpd.conf
  • Adjust various settings in php.ini
FogBUGZ mostly came up at this point, but additional installs of PEAR components were needed (including one that FogBUGZ didn’t prompt for). But Darwin Ports’ PEAR install is split over two folders, with some components in /opt/local/lib/php4, and some in /opt/local/share/pear. So, I had to change the php.ini to add the additional include_path.

I’m Bugged
Bingo! While that took a number of hours to figure out and tweak, FogBUGZ was now up, running with a totally empty database.

So, next, data migration. Under Panther, all of the above had data in MySQL 4 in various databases and tables. Normally I’d use mysqldump, copy the files across and import them, but Bruce—who’d recently migrated machines himself—suggested using ssh to run it in “one pass”. I decided to dry-run most of the data to make sure everything worked well, while leaving the main system up (which, of course, meant the data would have to be reimported later on).

For example, to migrate the vBulletin forums, I needed to create an empty database on the new machine with the same name. Then, I ran (as root):

ssh g5server /usr/bin/mysqldump --user the-database-user --password=the-password --add-drop-table the-forum-database | /opt/local/bin/mysql5 -u the-database-user -pthe-password the-forum-database

One authentication and a few minutes later, vBulletin’s data was moved over and… vBulletin came right up!

Repeated for Expression Engine: bingo!

And, mint: no problem at all.

So, the technique worked, and the configuration seemed fine: things were up and running pretty well.

TTL - Way Long
Although FogBUGZ could be done the same way, it was going to take a lot longer because its database was absolutely huge (it takes over 14 hours to rebuild). And Mail wasn’t MySQL based, but needed to have its stuff copied across.

FogBUGZ cases come in through mail, so by turning FogBUGZ off and handling all the support through email (which means I can’t refer to earlier cases or do other things that makes this job possible) I could migrate its data. I started that on Tuesday at about 6pm.

26 hours later, it was done, and—happily—it came right up and seemed to work.

At this point, I turned off the forums and blog and pulled them over to the new server, using the same technique as before.

Goodbye Cruel Spam
Next up: Kerio Mail Server. That was going to take a while, but there was no getting around it. I installed a fresh copy of the latest Kerio release, turned it off on the real server, which would cause any inbound mail to get delayed, but would queue on hop out, and used tar w/ssh to get things across:

ssh g5server “( cd /usr/local/kerio/mailserver && tar cf - Store )” | (cd /usr/local/kerio/mailserver && tar xvpf - )

It took a few hours (lots of mail), but all the content came across, and I used scp to copy the other few individual files that needed to migrate over.

Fear of Commitment
The moment of Truth. I turned off apache and took down Shirt Pocket. Then, I quickly re-imported mint (to bring any stats I missed), and powered off the iMac and the real server.

Chatter Chatter
I love the way drives go into the G5. It’s so accessible, and so easy (OK, so drive A is a pain because you have to remove drive B, but still—great stuff), and this was as easy as as pie. Old drive out, new drive in, close up, power on and… nothing.

It just wouldn’t boot.

Oh crap.

Beginning to Panic, and not in the WWPD sense
At this point, the system was headless, so I had no way of seeing what was going on, so I quickly powered off, snagged a monitor and keyboard, and plugged everything in, being careful to smear flopsweat all over each critical connection.

First, I option-booted and… the drive was present, but Open Firmware never released the “Watch” cursor. It just sat there, spinning and taunting. Never moved on, fans started to spin faster and faster since there was no OS and… powered off again.

Tried resetting PRAM and using Open Firmware to reset both PRAM and NVRAM: no go. Removed the B-drive (which wasn’t totally necessary): no.

Clock’s ticking. Server’s down. Customer running away from company that looks like it’s gone out of business.

OK, deep breath, shot of espresso, think. Open Firmware’s probing for devices. What else is connected? AH! There’s a FireWire drive connected. For some reason, it’s decided to lock the bus at this exact moment. Bastard! Powered that puppy off, disconnect, start the boot again and…


comes up! Login window! W00t!

The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep
I quickly logged in, and brought up the Server Admin to turn on DNS and make sure everything was OK. And I was greeted by something really, really bad.

Server had decided that my serial number had “already been registered”. It had shut down all services. Nothing was running. My totally legally purchased serial number, my only serial number, my $500 serial number, this isn’t-even-a developer-license-serial-number-I-bought-the-damn-thing-at-the-Apple-Store, was “already registered”. On the iMac. When I did the install to make this easier.

You Bastards!
But that server was not running? I had only installed it to this one drive. That drive was moved from machine to machine. It should be fine!

But it’s not. I’m totally, completely screwed. It’s way after hours, I can’t get the server running, Apple’s not there. I can’t go back to Panther—I’d need to spend another few days re-importing all that data.

They must be playing some Bonjour games to have that serial number float around the network in DNS or something.

Crap. Crapcrapcrap!

Bare to the Bone
There was only one thing I could think to do: whine. Rich Siegel was online, even though it was late, so I popped a message to him so he could laugh at me and my serverless foolishness. (Not that he needs an excuse to laugh at me.)

Which, of course, he did, but then—after wiping tears of joy from his eyes—pulled a rabbit out of a hat. He had a key! I could use that temporarily, until I could get whatever magic incantation I needed to get my real key working!

I typed in the key furiously (pun intended) and… phew. Server up.

It’s alive! Alive! Shirt Pocket Lives!

After I lowered the server down from the opening in the roof, and carefully unwrapped its bandages, things were looking pretty good. Everything was up. Everything was working. The mail was back up, running, and (alas) flooding in.

And bouncing. Almost everything. For some reason, mail from the Forums and from FogBUGZ wasn’t going through my relay server. Instead, it was being sent directly from my server, which shouldn’t be happening.

And everything indicated it was going through Postfix. Which I wasn’t using: I had explicitly set things up to use Kerio. But, on examination of the Kerio logs, it wasn’t getting some messages. Postfix was.

You Lie Like Dog
So, I looked again in the Server Admin and… mail was off. SMTP was off. All that stuff was handled by Kerio, or should have been. But wasn’t. For some reason, Postfix was snagging stuff, even though it was supposedly off.

I messed around for a while, but at this point it was 2am, and I was exhausted. It’d been a few days since I started the Migration Adventure, and I wasn’t thinking clearly any more, so… sleep.

Coffee Achiever!
Next morning, caffeinated and slightly more awake. Same problem. But, an idea.

I took a look at the daemons in launchd and, sure enough, org.postfix.master was in there, even though Mail was off in Server Admin. It was set up to run on demand, when anything hit port 25, but—and here’s the weird part—only from localhost. So, when FogBUGZ sent to localhost:25, it triggered Postfix, which was being used instead of Kerio, on the loopback.

Man. OK: so, disable Postfix. Some tweaking later I found the trick to getting it unloaded for good:

launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.postfix.master

A quick system restart, and victory.

And so, we’re back up. Sorry for any bounced mail, missing site, vanished forums that happened during the process. Hopefully, it won’t happen again for a while.