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RE: Virtual Domain Solution


On Fri, 7 Jul 2000, Ryan Hayle wrote:

ryan > Yes, that approach makes a lot of sense--what I was asking was whether some
ryan > such system exists already.  Unfortunately, I've also got to try to train
ryan > NT-monkeys to do this, and so I need some type of GUI or web interface,
ryan > which was why I was considering qmail, and the qmailadmin program.  I guess
ryan > I'm just looking for some simple solution to avoid having to write and do
ryan > all of this myself.  Definitely an area where Linux is lacking...perhaps it
ryan > is something I could work on--a Debian-specific solution of some kind.
ryan > 
ryan > In general, however do most ISP's simply go and write custom scripts for
ryan > everything?  Or do they just do it manually?  I've only got about 10 domains
ryan > right now, but once we get more, I can easily imagine a nightmarish
ryan > situation--forgetting one file, setting one permission wrong, or something.

I know, that's how our little ISP started. We understood that the key to success
would be software, software.... software.

As far as I know, and speaking very generally:

   - The large ones ( Thousands of virtual hosts ) essentially employ a person
     who's job it is to look after
     just one aspect, ie DNS server, Web servers, mail relays etc. There is
     enough work in just each area to keep someone ( or perhaps a whole 
     "division") occupied. They get a large software supplier/systems integrator
     like Sun, Microsoft, IBM etc. to write software systems for them.

   - The medium ones (hundreds-thousands  of virtual hosts) Develop their own
     systems, scripts, procedures in-house. I would class siliconBLUE in here.
     There is often a significant investment in the software developed and
     these, after all, are commercial organisations that will want to make some
     return on that investment. They won't generally put their software in the
     public domain because:

            1. They have a signicant investment in software development that
               they will want to recover.

            2. They won't want to give away any competitive edge.

  - The small ones do it all manually. This is a nightmare as numbers grow.

I am a complete supporter of public domain software and I particularly like the
Debian approach. Most of the GUI type tools I have seen, though, tend to be just
a GUI interface on the front of existing processes and systems. They don't
actually add much and the user still needs to know most of the technicalities of
what they are doing. If you are going to write software for front desk "monkeys"
(no disrespect intended) then you need to think about a conceptual
layer/model/paradigm that is above the technicalities, that your staff can
understand in whole. 

Then program to that conceptual model so that the staff only interact with that
model, manipulating it to do what they want. The software should then handle the
"real" systems underneath to produce the result that they want.

For example, they might want to:

  "Add a new domain and virtual web server".

The software could handle that. They don't necessarily need to know that this
task involves manipulating DNS zone files and adding a virtual host entry to a
web server. The software should handle those real things.


ryan > 
ryan > 
ryan > 
ryan > Thanks,
ryan > Ryan
ryan > 
ryan > > -----Original Message-----
ryan > > From: Jeremy C. Reed [mailto:reed@wcug.wwu.edu]
ryan > > Sent: Friday, 07 July, 2000 3:19 PM
ryan > > To: Ryan Hayle
ryan > > Cc: 'debian-isp@lists.debian.org'
ryan > > Subject: Re: Virtual Domain Solution
ryan > > 
ryan > > 
ryan > > On Fri, 7 Jul 2000, Ryan Hayle wrote:
ryan > > 
ryan > > > This is an overly general question, but I've found very little info
ryan > > > on this so I thought I would ask here.  What is the best 
ryan > > solution for
ryan > > > ISP hosting of virtual domains?  Are there any integrated packages
ryan > > > which can handle web/email/ftp access on a per-domain, per-user
ryan > > > basis?
ryan > > 
ryan > > Do you need websites for all of your users?
ryan > > 
ryan > > > Right now, I am using exim for email, with gnu-pop3d and the virtual
ryan > > > domains patch.  I am adding each virtual domain to the apache config
ryan > > > manually, and then to the exim config, storing everything in
ryan > > > /virtual/domain.com.  I'm not even getting into FTP access.  There
ryan > > > must be a better way to do this.
ryan > > 
ryan > > What do you mean by a "better way"? Is it because you are 
ryan > > doing all the
ryan > > setups manually with each step one at a time? You may want to 
ryan > > make some
ryan > > scripts to automate your steps. 
ryan > > 
ryan > > I think you just need a few scripts:
ryan > > 
ryan > > 1) add a new domain script
ryan > >   a) add zone info for dns
ryan > >   b) add "domain-name" to your mail local deliveries file 
ryan > > (maybe in your
ryan > >      case: /etc/virtual/domains)
ryan > >   c) add a user to Unix password database (/etc/passwd) for the
ryan > >      website/webmaster
ryan > >   d) create home and html directories for the webmaster/website
ryan > >   e) add container to httpd config
ryan > >   f) create directory for virtual mail users (maybe:
ryan > >      /etc/virtual/domainname)
ryan > >   g) create mail spool directory for the domain (maybe:
ryan > >      /var/spool/virtual/domainname)
ryan > >   h) create passwd file and alias file for virtual mail users 
ryan > > (maybe with
ryan > >      a default webmaster entry)
ryan > >   i) if needed, add ftp info (in my situation, ftpd is 
ryan > > already setup and
ryan > >      no changes are needed for adding new domains)
ryan > >   j) reload httpd
ryan > >   k) reload dns
ryan > >   l) test dns,ftp,smtp,pop3,http
ryan > >   
ryan > > 2) add to virtual aliases
ryan > > 
ryan > > 3) add a new virtual user (with password) for email
ryan > > 
ryan > > And maybe scripts to remove domain and real user (webmaster) from all
ryan > > configs, and to remove aliases and users from virtual passwd files.
ryan > > 
ryan > >   Jeremy C. Reed
ryan > >   http://www.reedmedia.net
ryan > >   http://bsd.reedmedia.net
ryan > > 
ryan > > 
ryan > > --  
ryan > > To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-isp-request@lists.debian.org
ryan > > with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact 
ryan > > listmaster@lists.debian.org
ryan > > 
ryan > 
ryan > 
ryan > --  
ryan > To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-isp-request@lists.debian.org
ryan > with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact listmaster@lists.debian.org
ryan > 

SiliconBlue - Virtual Systems           http://siliconBLUE.com
[ siliconBLUE ]     021-533820/06-3777638/Mike@siliconBLUE.com

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