Upgrade an Apache Solr Search index from 1.4 to 3.6 (and later versions)

Recently I had to upgrade someone's Apache Solr installation from 1.4 to 5.x (the current latest version), and for the most part, a Solr upgrade is straightforward, especially if you're doing it for a Drupal site that uses the Search API or Solr Search modules, as the solr configuration files are already upgraded for you (you just need to switch them out when you do the upgrade, making any necessary customizations).

However, I ran into the following error when I tried loading the core running Apache Solr 4.x or 5.x:

org.apache.solr.common.SolrException:org.apache.solr.common.SolrException: org.apache.lucene.index.IndexFormatTooOldException: Format version is not supported (resource: MMapIndexInput(path="/var/solr/cores/[corename]/data/spellchecker2/_1m.cfx") [slice=_1m.fdx]): 1 (needs to be between 2 and 3). This version of Lucene only supports indexes created with release 3.0 and later.

To fix this, you need to upgrade your index using Solr 3.5.0 or later, then you can upgrade to 4.x, then 5.x (using each version of Solr to upgrade from the previous major version):

Celebrate Drupal 8 in St. Louis, MO on Nov 19 - Food, Drinks, and a Raspberry Pi!

Drupal 8 Logo

On November 19, the St. Louis Drupal Users Group is having a party to celebrate the release of Drupal 8, which has been 4 years in the making! The party will be hosted at Spry Digital in downtown St. Louis, and will have beer provided by Manifest, food and drinks provided by Spry, and a Raspberry Pi 2 model B giveaway sponsored by Midwestern Mac!

Drupal 8.0.0 has been built by over 3,000 contributors in all corners of the globe, and will help kick off the next generation of personalized, content-driven websites. During the meetup, we'll build a brand new Drupal 8 site on the Raspberry Pi using Jeff Geerling's Drupal Pi project, and we'll highlight some of the awesome new features of Drupal 8.

Raspberry Pi and Acquia dancing man

After we build one of the first Drupal 8 sites, we'll give away the Raspberry Pi to a lucky winner to take home and tinker with! Special thanks to the Austin Drupal Users Group, who came up with the Pi giveaway idea!

We'll also eat, drink and be merry, celebrating the start of a new era of site building with the best version of Drupal yet!

If you'd like to join us, please RSVP on the STLDUG Meetup page: STLDUG Drupal 8.0.0 Release Party.

Ansible for DevOps - available now!

Ansible is a simple, but powerful, server and configuration management tool. Ansible for Devops is a book I wrote to teach you to use Ansible effectively, whether you manage one server—or thousands.

Ansible for DevOps cover - Book by Jeff Geerling

I've spent a lot of time working with Ansible and Drupal over the past couple years, culminating in projects like Drupal VM (a VM for local Drupal development) and the Raspberry Pi Dramble (a cluster of Raspberry Pi computers running Drupal 8, powering http://www.pidramble.com/). I've also given multiple presentations on Ansible and Drupal, like a session at DrupalCon Austin, a session at MidCamp earlier this year, and a BoF at DrupalCon LA.

Vagrant web development - is VMware better than VirtualBox?

[Update 2015-08-25: I reran some of the tests using two different settings in VirtualBox. First, I explicitly set KVM as the paravirtualization mode (it was saved as 'Legacy' by default, due to a bug in VirtualBox 5.0.0), which showed impressive performance improvements, making VirtualBox perform 1.5-2x faster, and bringing some benchmarks to a dead heat with VMware Fusion. I also set the virtual network card to use 'virtio' instead of emulating an Intel PRO/1000 MT card, but this made little difference in raw network throughput or any other benchmarks.]

My Mac spends the majority of the day running at between one and a dozen VMs. I do all my development (besides iOS or Mac dev) running code inside VMs, and for many years I used VirtualBox, a free virtualization tool, along with Vagrant and Ansible, to build and manage all these VMs.

Since I use build and rebuild dozens of VMs per day, and maintain a popular Vagrant configuration for Drupal development (Drupal VM), as well as dozens of other VMs (like Ansible Vagrant Examples), I am highly motivated to find the fastest and most reliable virtualization software for local development. I switched from VirtualBox to VMware Fusion (which requires a for-pay plugin) a year ago, as a few benchmarks I ran at the time showed VMware was 10-30% faster.

Launching my first Drupal 8 website — in my basement!

I've been working with Drupal 8 for a long time, keeping Honeypot and some other modules up to date, and doing some dry-runs of migrating a few smaller sites from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, just to hone my D8 familiarity.

Raspberry Pi Dramble Drupal 8 Website

I finally launched a 'for real' Drupal 8 site, which is currently running on Drupal 8 HEAD—on a cluster of Raspberry Pi 2 computers in my basement! You can view the site at http://www.pidramble.com/, and I've already started posting some articles about running Drupal 8 on the servers, how I built the cluster, some of the limitations of at-home webhosting, etc.

Some of the things I've already learned from building and running this cluster for the past few days:

Nginx Load Balancer Visualization on a Raspberry Pi Cluster

After some more tinkering with the Raspberry Pi Dramble (a cluster of 6 Raspberry Pis used to demonstrate Drupal 8 deployments using Ansible), I finally was able to get the RGB LEDs to react to Nginx accesses—meaning every time a request is received by Nginx, the LED toggles to red momentarily.

This visualization allows me to see exactly how Nginx is distributing requests among the servers in different load balancer configurations. The default (not only for Nginx, but also for Varnish, HAProxy, and other balancers) is to use round-robin distribution, meaning each request is sent to the next server. This is demonstrated first, in the video below, followed by a demonstration of Nginx's ip_hash method, which pins one person's IP address to one backend server, based on a hash of the person's IP address:


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