Running a ColdFusion Shop 3

For Reference: Part 1 and Part2.

It’s been awhile, but I’ve finally got more to say about all this.

Backup

In the last one of these, I told you to back up your system. Maybe not directly, but it was there. Okay, so I didn’t say it. I’m saying it now. Backup your machines. Do a tape backup, export to an external drive, do anything. Just backup your machines.

Backup Configuration Files Separately

Independent of a backup solution that takes care of your whole system, I would also recommend backing up configurations to separate location, in their current format. Meaning, don’t put them on a tape, don’t ship them off site. Just keep them somewhere you can access them. Why? Coldfusion is pretty light. CFML sites are comprised of pretty small files. Odds are, if you have a systems failure, it very well may be faster to rebuild a system from scratch then it will be to get a system backup restored and working. Rebuild your server, reinstall your webserver, and reinstall ColdFusion, all while getting the CFML files from backup. Then use configuration files you’ve stored elsewhere to restore both your webserver and Coldfusion to its old state. By this point, the CFML files should be out from a restore.

There are other uses for these files. You can use this method to clone your boxes, for clustering for example. Additionally, the ways they are broken up make it easy to share certain areas of configuration between machines. The most useful of these is neo-query.xml, which has all of your datasources on it.

Anyway, you probably want to know where all of these are:

  • ColdFusion configuration information is stored in xml files, in [CfusionRoot]lib.
  • IIS XML configurations can be exported from the IIS Manager
    • Right Click website
    • Choose “All Tasks”
    • Choose “Save Configuration to file.”

I’m sure that Apache has something to handle this too. But I don’t have any experience with it.

Backup Certificates

If you are using SSL certificates, back them up. They are a pain in the ass to manage. If you lose one without a backup you have to depend on the Certificate Authority to get your SSL service back up. Better to just have them ready to go in case of a problem.

Again I can only speak authoritatively about IIS, but:

  • Go to IIS Manager
  • Right click your SSL secured site
  • Choose “Properties”
  • Go to “Directory Security”
  • Under “Secure Communication” hit the “View Certificate” button
  • Choose “Details” tab
  • At the bottom “Copy To File”

That will bring up the “Certificate Export Wizard.” I usually choose the default options, with one exception. I choose “Yes export the private key.” It’s less secure, so you want to make sure you store them somewhere safe, but you’ll be able to do this again with a certification created from a backup with the private key.

That’s all I got this time around. Sorry it’s all backup related. Nothing happened; I was just collating tips for building a new Coldfusion box in our environment, and realized that these were all pretty important to doing that

6 thoughts on “Running a ColdFusion Shop 3

  1. It’s always worth exporting your SSL certificates _before_ something bad happens. I’ve been in a situation where “Mark private key as exportable” was not checked when one of our production certificates was installed, making it “stuck” on the server it was currently on. It took a call to Verisign, two days, and several hundred dollars to get a new cert issued that we could properly export.

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  2. I’ve been really interested in your previous posts and this one confirms one of the ideas I had.
    It took a while to get Eclipse working the way I wanted. Now that I have things the way I like I’m thinking of ‘backing up’ my whole environment.
    By ‘Backing up’ what I really mean is moving all the config files to CVS, that way if something changes and we have to revert to the old files we can do that without any problems, plus we can have a history of all the changes. I’m trying to push the idea of doing the same with all neo-query files for Dev/Test/Prod here where I work.

    For my localhost environment I’m actually going to move all the CFIDE files up to CVS. I had a “Pimp My ride” episode with my localhost CF Admin and it looks different than the standard CF Admin panel.

    The three articles are a great read!!.

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  3. I introduced ColdFusion to my IT shop three years ago and it has worked out great. We are a large public company and my team is the most productive team in IT. ColdFusion rocks!

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