Cool Stack 1.3 is here

It's finally here. Before you download the release, please do read the documentation. It's over a month late, but hopefully the features will compensate for the delay.
Almost every single component in the stack has been upgraded. Two new packages, CSKpython and CSKnginx have been added. And yes - the python package does include mod_python too.
You can read about the full list of changes in the Changelog.


ruby


Significant changes have been made to the ruby package. In addition to the upgrade to ruby1.8.6p114, we include a number of gems, notably mysql, postgres and mongrel. It should also be easy to install any new gem that requires native compilation using gcc - this should just work out of the box. A word of caution if you're running ruby on SPARC. Please DO NOT use gcc. If you're importing native gems, take the extra step of installing Studio 12 and use the rbconfig.studio instead (simply rename it to rbconfig.rb after saving the current one). This file is located in /opt/coolstack/lib/ruby/1.8/sparc-solaris2.10.


There have also been significant performance enhancements for ruby made in this release. By changing compiler flags, we have measured 20-30% improvement. In addition, SPARC-specific patches (which are now in ruby 1.8.7) improve performance a further 8-15%. If you are a ruby user, let us know your experiences. I'd love to hear of any performance changes you see as well.
In a future post, I'll share some performance results on the AMP stack. But for now, please try this release and let us know what you think via the forum or comments on this blog.


Cool Stack installation in Zones


For users who have installed Cool Stack in zones, I know the upgrade is a painful process. As I mentioned earlier, we do hope to fix this situation by allowing upgrade installs in future. But some users have found solutions on their own. In particular, I found this post in the forum interesting. Scroll down to reply 19.


Comments:

Shanti & Team,

Yet again this latest version of Cool Stack has come at just the right time for our company. We'd been expecting the inclusion of Nginx but the addition of CSKpython is a bonus feature we were not expecting. In particular, the inclusion of mod_python will help greatly with a recent request to support Django on some of our SPARC boxes (will post some feedback to the forums on this at a later date).

We use Ruby (Rails and Mongrel) quite a bit so the performance improvements here are also very welcome. The efforts you have made to aid easier deployment of native gem packages look promising and show that you have listened to feedback from Cool Stack users (me) on this thorny topic.

All in all, I am extremely pleased with the features included in the new release and look forward to seeing Cool Stack grow from strength to strength. It certainly does an excellent job for us!

Posted by James Mernin on June 11, 2008 at 03:04 AM PDT #

Thanks very much for your kind words. Let us know how it works out for you.

Posted by Shanti on June 11, 2008 at 05:26 AM PDT #

Just a quick question, any ideas on when 1.3 final will be out? I don't want to upgrade twice within a week if possible :)

Also, any tips for deploying via JET?

Otherwise, keep up the great work! I especially welcome the ruby speed increases.

Posted by Nick Kaltner on June 15, 2008 at 12:17 PM PDT #

Hi Shanti
I have downloaded Python2.5.2 from the CoolStack 1.3 version, but it's performance is not good as I think. even slow than the same box's Python 2.5.1 which downloaded from sunfreeware.com.

I use the same python script read every word of the target file and sorted them into a big dictionary ,print the top 30 frequency appeared word.

Posted by rmrf on June 16, 2008 at 12:14 PM PDT #

Hi Shanti,

I'm just writing to offer some feedback on Coolstack, which we've found to be absolutely excellent. We're using it in production on some very busy websites with success.

However, Coolstack ships with MySQL 5.1 which is not production ready code. We did give 5.1 a try, but on one of our servers we host a 12GB MySQL database, and 5.1 was crashing on a fairly regular basis, forcing us to go back to 5.0.

I'd like to request that Sun Coolstack track the stable versions of software in future releases. MySQL 5.1 in a production environment hosting production databases is a big no-no at the moment. I know some would see it as a step backwards for Sun Web Stack 1.4 to switch to MySQL 5.0, however I know many who would see it as a big bonus.

Perhaps Coolstack-dev and Coolstack-stable branches are needed, so that those who need bleeding edge software have the option, and the rest of us can stick with stable production ready versions.

Many thanks for your time.

Posted by Alasdair on November 17, 2008 at 12:43 AM PST #

You can certainly use MySQL 5.0 from earlier releases of Cool Stack - that's why we keep them around. When we made the decision to offer 5.1 in CSK, it was because it was going GA any day then - unfortunately 5.1 seems to have been plagued with issues.
Believe it or not, Sun Web Stack 1.4 will only have MySQL 5.0 - since we're offering production support for this product, the decision was made to use stable, GA'ed release of MySQL only.

Having said all this, I would still encourage you to experiment with 5.1 in your test environment. The newest versions (5.1.28, 5.1.29) particularly have significant performance improvements.

Posted by Shanti on November 17, 2008 at 02:33 AM PST #

Shanti-
We are still running 1.3RC1 and I am having some problems with the mySQL gem. The release notes claim that this gem is part of the Ruby package, but when I run "gem install --local", it doesn't show up in the list.

If I run an irb session, I can run "require 'rubygems'" and "require 'mysql'" and get return "=> true" on both requests. But that's where my luck ends. Actually trying to run a Rails 2.2.2 app yields errors about not being able to find the mysql gem.

Is this a sign that the gem did not install properly? Or are there any additional steps I need to take to get the gem loaded? We are running Studio 11, and I'm wondering if this has any relationship to your warning about gcc on SPARC above.

Thanks...

-Aaron

Posted by Aaron Reichman on January 29, 2009 at 05:58 AM PST #

Sorry, that was obviously a typo in my last comment. Running "gem list --local" does not show mysql in the listing.

While I'm still confused as to why mysql doesn't show up in the list, my Rails app is apparently able to now access that gem. My issue earlier was related to a path error. I explicitly called the CoolStack version of mongrel_rails to load my app, but it was pulling a non-CoolStack version of the mongrel_cluster I believe, from /usr/local, which in turn failed to load the CoolStack mysql gem. Changing my path variable to default to /opt/coolstack instead of /usr/local ensured I was always accessing CoolStack resources and fixed my problem.

Posted by Aaron Reichman on January 29, 2009 at 11:05 PM PST #

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About

I'm a Senior Staff Engineer in the Performance & Applications Engineering Group (PAE). This blog focuses on tips to build, configure, tune and measure performance of popular open source web applications on Solaris.

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