How Suite It Is – SuiteCRM and Bitnami
NetworkNerd last edited by NetworkNerd
A few weeks ago I was tasked with installing SuiteCRM for a proof of concept. Since the environment was primarily Windows, we went with a brand new Server 2012 R2 VM that was fully patched (environment had no license to use Server 2016). We tried following the documentation for SuiteCRM but found it to be less than helpful. No matter what we did (whether trying to use TomCat or IIS), we couldn’t get the install.php page to launch to complete the install. We certainly were not opposed to running this application on a Linux box, but there is beauty in uniformity, especially when your administrators are stronger with Windows support. So, for a week or two this project was put on hold while we tried to find a way around the road block.
At this point I could only surmise we were missing something small, perhaps something about which the documentation was not clear. Then I happened to see the following posts in which posters agreed the SuiteCRM documentation just is not that helpful. In the second link below, @JaredBusch started a great how-to for installing SuiteCRM on Fedora.
You can read the rest of the story here - http://blog.thenetworknerd.com/2017/06/12/how-suite-it-is-suitecrm-and-bitnami.
But definitely do NOT install that on Windows. Not only is it costly and bloated so not good from just a general standpoint, but the key components of the system like MariaDB and PHP do not run efficiently on Windows and are not tuned for it. So even if you could get Windows for free and dedupe it like crazy to make it more lean, it will still run like total crap compared to a smaller Linux instance. This is one of the best known workloads that should never appear on Windows, it makes zero sense as the "premium" of Windows is totally lost here and turns into all negative.
A few weeks ago I was tasked with installing SuiteCRM for a proof of concept. Since the environment was primarily Windows, we went with a brand new Server 2012 R2 VM that was fully patched (environment had no license to use Server 2016).
This, additionally, highlights additional risks with using Windows instead of Fedora, for example. Due to cost and licensing limitations, you deployed an older version of the platform. If you moved to Fedora, you should need less than half the system resources, get a high performance network stack, get everything but SuiteCRM as part of the base OS (no need for the Bitnami management stack, it's all there already) and get everything fully updated, including the OS, forever.
No matter what we did (whether trying to use TomCat or IIS), we couldn’t get the install.php page to launch to complete the install.
SuiteCRM is PHP based. TomCat is a Java server, so that would not be used. IIS is very inefficient for PHP, so is not ideal (but is included.) Apache is normally considered the best choice for this. That's why they refer to this normally as the XAMP stack on Windows: the "A" is for Apache.
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Regardless of SuiteCRM, you should never deploy a webapp on a Windows machine unless you have an extremely rare and good reason to do so and are happy to accept the compromises.
We certainly were not opposed to running this application on a Linux box, but there is beauty in uniformity, especially when your administrators are stronger with Windows support.
I don't think that this is true. Not to the degree you are thinking. Uniformity is only good in the singular case that something is uniformly good. In this case, the uniformity is bad as in the setup is uniformly bad. The admins might be strong in Windows than Linux, but anyone that can run Windows well can run Linux well enough (and vice versa.) The skills needed to be competent on either cross over, it's all just some minor details past that. But in a case like this, the knowledge and limitations on Windows are so extreme and so trivial on Linux that that should more than make up for any potential difference in experience or skill level between the two platforms.
If you were talking about apps that ran well on Windows, didn't require weird third party "never use" stuff like Bitnami and were fully licensed and up to date then sure. If we were talking about .NET applications and Windows 2016, the uniformity would be part of uniformly good. But deploying things poorly just because the environment is already poor isn't good logic. This is just "more technical debt."
So, for a week or two this project was put on hold while we tried to find a way around the road block.
SuiteCRM is a very simple, very straightforward install on Fedora. We run it and do commercial hosting of it. It's so fast and easy we didn't think to document it. If it is taking your Windows team weeks to get it installed, I would think you need to think carefully about if the desire to run Windows "at any cost" isn't causing a lot of cost and risks here. What if the system fails, it sounds like no one is able to maintain it on Windows regardless of the internal Windows skill level. And any third party support that is trivial to get on Linux will laugh at you for running on Windows.
On Linux, all you do is copy the SuiteCRM file onto your LAMP server, create a database for it and you are done. That's literally it. It's just a download to the right location. There is no "install" process at all. I just looked on my own server for the last install that we did and there were just two commands - one to download the package, one to unpack it. That's it.
Loving the Marvin Gaye reference in the title.