Cooking an ECM Solution

cooking-an-ecmIT departments today manage a massive amount of information, via a plethora of interconnected software components to provide businesses with the mission critical results that they need. To ensure the quality of these systems, IT departments are heavily invested in the testing, tuning and validation of these systems. The thought of validating these systems are already overwhelming, as a typical large-scale ECM system may consist of around 10 components, of which infrastructures must be provisioned, system configurations must be deployed, and all tasks must be repeated in at least four environments: development, staging, quality assurance and production. However, to alleviate the burden of this daunting procedure, allow me to introduce you to Alfresco Boxes, an open source project that is dedicated to building recipes for deploying Alfresco into many complex environments, including Amazon Cloud, VMware data centers, physical hardware, or a mixture of these environments.

Alfresco Boxes is an open source project that was started by and maintained by an Alfresco consultant, Maurizio, and has since gained contributions from other members of the community. The project, which can be found on Github, consists of JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) configurations files that are known as recipes, for deploying Alfresco and all its prerequisites onto preconfigured platforms. The tools that support this project are Vagrant, Packer, Chef, and Docker.

Like the preparation of a Thanksgiving dinner, the recipe for installing Alfresco, is dependent on many other recipes that were provided by the open source community, such as Apache Tomcat, Ubuntu, CentOS, Java, etc. And like a Thanksgiving dinner, users can adapt the recipes to their requirements. For instance, the recipe can be modified to use JBoss instead of Tomcat, adding more memory to the Java Heap, or changing Database configurations.

Once the recipes for your Alfresco deployment are tested and validated, they can be packaged into Virtual Box, VMware or Amazon images for deployment. If deployment is on physical hardware, then chef-solo can be used for implementing the recipes on those machines.

With recipes in hand, system administrators and operators can easily replicate their Alfresco ECM solution on as many environments that they may need. Such as, development, staging, quality assurance, load testing, and production.

For more information on this project:

Visit the Alfresco Summit where Maurizio will be presenting on this topic.

Visit the Github project: Alfresco Boxes,

Visit this Alfresco Boxes blog where Luis presents step by step instructions and his experience with the project.

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