Guide to setup cPanel + CentOS 6.7 with RAID on HP Proliant Server ML310e

HP Proliant ML310e server comes with Intelligent Provisioning built in as well as SMART array controller. A quick overview of what we’ll cover in this post:

  • Configuration of HP Proliant ML310e
  • Configuration of RAID-1
  • Installation of CentOS
  • Installation of HP Dynamic Smart Array Controller B320i
  • Setup of Networking
  • Installation of cPanel

Configuration of HP Proliant ML310e
The server I was working with was 16GB RAM with 2 hard drives, each of 1TB and HP Dynamic Smart Array Controller B320i. The boot up was pretty straight forward, connecting it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Configuration of RAID-1
As the server I was working with had two hard drives, this can allow for RAID-1 configuration which means mirroring. All data is written to both drives at the same time, such that in the event of a hard drive failure, the machine can boot up using the second drive.

During the boot, press F5 when the system recognizes HP Dynamic Smart Array Controller to open up the configuration screen . Use this interface to create a virtual / logical volume such as RAID-1 and include both the hard drives to it. The logical volume would be 1TB of usable space.

Installation of CentOS 6.7
HP Proliant ML310e Server comes with a tool called Intelligent Provisioning. It’s a nifty tool which completes the installation of an operating system in a few easy steps. One caveat is that it does not support CentOS 6.7. The intelligent provisioning tool can be used to install Windows, Red Hat, and a couple of other operating systems.

In order to install CentOS 6.7, we’ll have to go the manual way. Insert Disk 1 into the drive and reboot the server. The server will boot from disk, and take you to the installation screen.

If you’ve done a CentOS installation before, you’d be happy to reach a familiar screen and everything from here should be straight forward, right? When you reach to the screen where you’ve to pick your boot drive, you’d be surprised to see two hard drives instead of the logical volume RAID 1 we created previously.

This means that the operating system is not able to read HP Dynamic Smart Array Controller B320i and a driver for CentOS will be required to proceed forward.

Installation of HP Dynamic Smart Array Controller B320i driver on CentOS 6.7
HP support & drivers website does not provide you with CentOS driver. Luckily, CentOS is built on Red Hat Linux and we can use that driver for our server.

  1. Go to HP Drivers & Software site and search for B320i.
  2. Choose the operating system, I picked Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Server (x86-64).
  3. Expand Software – Driver Update
  4. Look for the version 6u7 from the list: hpvsa-1.2.14-103.rhel6u7.x86_64.dd.gz
  5. Download it to your computer

Note: if you are using browser like Safari or Chrome, make sure it does not auto-extract the downloads.

Once you have your file, follow the instructions below to create a flash drive for the driver. The instructions below are for creating the drive in Mac OS X. Open up the terminal using ⌘ + Space, type Terminal, and hit enter and follow the commands below: (all the lines starting with # are comments)

# Assuming the file is in your Downloads folder
cd ~/Downloads

# Extract the file using gunzip command
gunzip hpvsa-1.2.14-103.rhel6u7.x86_64.dd.gz

# Plug in your empty FAT32 flash disk, make sure it is unmounted.
# Use the command below to create the drive
# Make sure your flash disk drive path is correct
# In my case, the disk was available in /dev/disk2
sudo dd if=hpvsa-1.2.14-103.rhel6u7.x86_64.dd of=/dev/disk2

Give it a couple of minutes at most, and your flash drive will be ready. Let’s get back to the CentOS installation, you’ll need to reboot the server.

centos_67_01After you reach the initialisation of CentOS installation screen (as seen on the right), follow these instructions:

  • Press ESC key to reach the boot prompt.
  • Plug in your USB flash drive which contains the driver
  • Type in “linux dd blacklist=ahci” and press ENTER
  • A few moments later, it will ask you if you have a driver disk. Choose yes.
  • Select your disk and browse the disk image: “dd.img” and choose OK
  • Once the driver is installed, it will prompt you whether or not you have more driver disks to install.
  • Choose No and continue with the installation and you’ll now be able to see HP’s Logical Disk you created earlier.

Setup of Networking
Once the operating system is setup, you’d think you’re all set right? Not quite. By default, networking is disabled on CentOS installations so you’ll need to enable it first before you can connect it to the internet.

There are two files responsible for network configuration.

# Amend the first file by opening it using vi editor
vi /etc/sysconfig/network
# Hit “a” key on your keyboard to make edits
# Go to the line NETWORKING and change the setting from no to yes
# Add a line for GATEWAY=192.168.1.1
# Save your changes by pressing “CTRL + c”, typing “:wq” and pressing ENTER key

# Type in the following command to open the second file.
vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
# You’ll see the contents of this file on your screen. Press “a” key to amend the contents of this file
# Find the line ONBOOT and change it from no to yes
# At the bottom of the file, add the following lines
# IPADDR=192.168.1.240
# NETMASK=255.255.255.0
# To save the changes, press CTRL + c; type “:wq” and press ENTER key

# Setup DNS resolvers
vi /etc/resolv.conf
# This file should be empty
# Populate with the following two lines, press “a” key on your keyboard and type in the below two:
nameserver 8.8.8.8
nameserver 8.8.4.4
# Press CTRL+c; type “:wq” and press ENTER key

# Reboot the server using the command below
shutdown -r now

Your server will reboot with networking configured with the IP: 192.168.1.240 on your network. You can try ping it from another machine on the network.

Installation of cPanel
cPanel requires that your server must be visible on the internet. You’ll need to make sure you’ve a public IP address from your ISP, and configure it accordingly on the server.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll assume you have a public IP address assigned by your ISP on your internet router/modem. You’ll setup a DMZ zone on your router to point to your internal IP address. Check your router manual for more information.

Once you’ve done this, the installation is pretty straight forward and the best guide for it is available in cPanel documentation.

Before you follow the installation, you’ll need to install wget and curl utility. You can quickly do so by typing in the below command:

yum install curl wget

Once installed, type in the command below to download & install cPanel. Depending on your internet connection, this can take anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours.

cd /home && curl -o latest -L https://securedownloads.cpanel.net/latest && sh latest

If all goes well, you should be able to access cPanel/WHM via browser and complete the cPanel setup.

All the best! If you get stuck, shout out at me on twitter @mohsinsumar and I’ll try help you out.

How to double your revenue and profit in 3 years or less

One of my favorite books in my library is Double Double: How to double your revenue and profit in 3 years or less by Cameron Herold.

Double Double: How to double your revenue and profit in 3 years or less is a must read book for every entrepreneur. The book can show you how to double your revenues & profits in 3 years or less through the simple, actionable steps of focused planning, focused building and focused leadership.

Everything starts with the beautiful concept of a Vision / Painted Picture. As a leader, you need to paint how you see the future of your company 3 years from today, 5 years is too long to plan and 1 year is just too short. Once you have the vision, share it with your team and focus everything towards vision by reverse engineering your goals.

Grab your copy of the book on Amazon.

Mobile friendly websites are more important than ever

Earlier this year, in April 2015, Google released an update to their Search Engine which now includes mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect all mobile searches in all languages all over the world.

It will help users on the move, using their mobile devices to reach relevant websites that are mobile friendly.

Use this tool to check if your website is mobile friendly.

If your business website is not mobile friendly yet, it’s never too late to give your website a makeover. Make sure to mention to your designer that your new website should be mobile friendly.

Source: Make sure your site’s ready for mobile-friendly Google search results.

Why you need a website

This blog was first published on Extreme Web Technologies’ Blog.

Don’t have a website yet? Here are some compelling reasons why you need to have a website.

1. Your website is available 24/7/365.
Your website is open and available to provide information to potential customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide information about your business even when you are asleep.

Think of your website as your 24/7 sales person who can provide potential customers with information about your business, what you deal in, your recent work, portfolio or products, client testimonials as well has do some sales.

Need a website? Get a .TZ domain, 1GB email storage and a website from TZS 30,000*/month

2. A website will help potential customers find you through search engines.
More and more information is now available at peoples’ fingertips, thanks to mobile phones that allows people to use search engines to find information they need, when they need it.

On average, there are 40,000 Google search queries every second (source), that’s 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year!

3. Your competition has advantage over you.
If your competitors have a website, they have an advantage over you. Level the playing field by having a website.

4. Business emails improves your company credibility.
A website usually comes with email storage for business emails, something like [email protected] Using these instead of free email service providers improves your company credibility.

5. A website is affordable than advertising on traditional media.
Ever placed an ad on newspaper, or perhaps a local magazine? Compare the cost with that to a website, and you’ll quickly realize that having a website is very affordable than traditional media. And whenever you do advertise on newspaper or other media, always promoting your website address can help potential customers to your website.

Do you need to setup a website, check out Website Solution from Extreme Web TechnologiesWebsite Solution gives you a website address, email storage, and lets you setup a website in minutes using one of several ready to use mobile friendly website designs!

Share your thoughts and more reasons in the comments below!

Editors Note: This article was written by Mohsin Sumar (@mohsinsumar) and serves as the Technical Director of Extreme Web Technologies. Mohsin with his Customer Happiness team constantly strive to deliver top notch quality web hosting in Tanzania.

Why we do not offer unlimited hosting

This blog post was first published on Extreme Web Technologies’ Blog.

We come across many customers who are looking for unlimited hosting. This article is aimed to explain why we do not offer unlimited hosting, and why you shouldn’t look for a host that does offer unlimited hosting.

Unlimited hosting is a marketing gimmick, that claims to give you unlimited resources: disk space, bandwidth and features at a very cheap price which is governed by their fair usage policy buried somewhere in their fine print.

Say, for example, you spent millions of shillings planning your campaign, getting all the creative right, and started your marketing campaign only to find out that your website is suspended by the fair usage policy.

A fair usage policy is put in place to ensure that you are not overusing the server resources. You may be hosting a website that consumes a small percentage of CPU for a couple of seconds every time someone visits your website. And when your site starts getting a lot of visitors, you may start seeing your site become sluggish as the server becomes busy. In such cases, a web host may decide to suspend your site for sometime to make sure their other customers are not affected.

On a shared hosting environment, one server is setup to ideally accommodate between 250 to 500 hosting websites. A web hosting company can only provide you with unlimited hosting when they are overselling it. This means that they are actually hosting 2 – 3 times more accounts on a server.

Realistically, there is nothing like unlimited hosting! If you think about it, your hard drive has a capacity limit, your internet bundle has a capacity limit, everything has some sort of limit which makes “Unlimited Hosting” limited too!

Finding a good host may be slightly more expensive than the unlimited ones, but you are rest assured to get what you are paying for. When you are looking for a new web hosting company, you should be looking at the following three things:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • What their customers think of their support?
  • What are their uptime statistics?

Top Notch Quality Web Hosting since 2004

Extreme Web Technologies has been providing top notch quality web hosting since 2004 with exceptional 24/7 friendly customer support. 

We monitor all our servers through a third party monitoring service which probes our servers through out the day. We have an uptime report of over 99.5%!

Our entire team is notified when an outage is detected, and everyone is hands on deck to ensure the server is back up & running as soon as possible. In the event of a downtime, we have a backup mail servers that holds your emails waiting to deliver it as soon as the server is back online.

Experience customer happiness with us. Check our hosting plans here and read the testimonials of our happy customers.

What do you think of unlimited hosting? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Editors Note: This article was written by Mohsin Sumar (@mohsinsumar) and serves as the Technical Director of Extreme Web Technologies. Mohsin with his Customer Happiness team constantly strive to deliver top notch quality web hosting in Tanzania.

Generate 4 digit random PIN number in MySQL

I recently came across a problem where I had to update hundreds of client records with a random 4 digit PIN code. After some research, I wrote the following SQL which did the trick.

It will update all records on the table: table_name and set a random 4 digit PIN between 1,000 and 9,999 on the column `column_pin`.

UPDATE `table_name` SET `column_pin` = FLOOR( 1000 + ( RAND( ) *8999 ) ) ;

 

I hope this was helpful to you.

The value of social media in recruitment

I wrote an article on “The value of social media in recruitment” for ASPIRE™ by People Power™ published on 10th October 2011. A copy of the article is below:

The value of social media in recruitment

Candidates would normally research about a company and prepare themselves before attending a job interview. However, with the emergence and popularity of social media sites, recruiters can also do the same before calling candidates for job interviews!

Every day, new users sign up on the three main social media sites we know today – namely, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn which have over 975 million combined user accounts. The people using these social media websites sign up with their personal information as mandatory; optionally include their employment history and periodically post updates on what they’ve been doing.

Continue reading “The value of social media in recruitment”