SysAdmin's Journey

New Linode StackScript: Pantheon Mercury (High Performance Drupal in 10 Minutes or Less)

For those who might not know, Pantheon Mercury is:

… a drop-in replacement for your Drupal website hosting service that delivers break-through performance. Mercury can serve two-hundred times more pages per second and generate pages three times faster than standard hosting services.

Mercury achieves this by using open-source technologies like so many ingredients of a complex dish - a little Varnish here, a dash of Memcached there, a hint of the Alternative PHP Cache, a healthy dose of Tomcat and Solr, all based upon the Pressflow distribution of Drupal. None of it is anything you couldn’t do yourself – many before Chapter Three had done it actually. However, they were the first to tie it all together using BCFG2, and release an Amazon EC2 AMI image of it. As word spread, many liked the idea of Mercury, but wanted to brew their own non-EC2 instance. While they posted a wiki article on how to do it yourself, they went to work on native support for RackSpace. When I read Josh Koenig’s post on the Linode blog stating he wanted to bring Mercury to Linode, I made a mental note. Some time passed, I became much more involved in Drupal, and I decided to volunteer to write the StackScript . Josh said okay, and put me in touch with Greg Coit, their resident sysadmin, and we went to work. Fast forward a couple weeks, and we’ve announced a beta! The StackScript is quite complete - it supports Ubuntu Jaunty and Karmic, and can use the current stable branch or the soon- to-be-released 1.1 development branch. Once Lucid is released, we’ll test to make sure it works there as well. I want to thank Greg for all his help. We found some bugs in Ubuntu, some quirks in the memcached init script, and fixed many bugs and added some features to their BCFG2 bazaar repo. Thanks also go out to Josh for his oversight and guidance. It was a great time, a great learning experience, and I came out of it with some new colleagues (and some free beers at DrupalConSF). Feel free to read up on my experiences with Linode, and if you like what you see, click on one of the many links to Linode from my blog. If you sign up and stay a customer for 90 days (trust me, you will), I’ll get $20 credited to my account. Feel free to comment below about the StackScript and let me know about any issues you might find.