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SouthEast LinuxFest 2010: Aegir Presentation Synopsis

Aegir Hosting SystemAt the inaugural South Carolina Drupal Camp, which was held in conjunction with the second annual SouthEast LinuxFest, I was privileged to present on the Aegir Hosting System to a group of awesome Drupalistas. The presentation was an overview of the installation and advantages of the Multisite Management System. Most notably, a site administrator is able to rapidly deploy new Drupal websites simply by selecting an installation profile (be it Drupal, Open Atrium, Pressflow, or other defined profiles) and naming the site. Each site is stored as a node in the Aegir database, and each may be easily administered from the Aegir GUI. Aegir installation has been significantly simplified through a contributed BASH script for Debian-based Linux systems. Thanks to the familiar Drupal initial site setup getting Aegir running on your system is almost as simplified as deploying the new sites themselves.
 
During the presentation, the audience afforded me the opportunity to learn about their experiences with Aegir. One suggestion that best sticks in my mind is to use Aegir as a medium to deploy a development site to individual themers and developers. This allows each to have their own codebase on the same server, all work can be done on the same hardware/software configuration. Another recommendation was for creating your own Drupal profile, and using it to deploy multiple sites of a similar setup. Overall, the crowd was a tech savvy and knowledgeable group of Drupal developers who seemed eager to learn more about Aegir.
 
Some takeaway questions I had from the event are how Aegir interacts with Drush, specifically Drush Make and how Aegir and DNS may be used together to rapidly deploy sites. Community questions still abound about whether using Aegir to deploy websites is better from an admin standpoint than pushing multiple installs to /sites or as stand-alone installs.
 
Administrative preferences aside, Aegir offers a fantastic admin interface that everyone from the novice to the expert can use to visually manage their Drupal-based installs. Aegir provides us with a great alternative to command line maintenance that may hinder progress of rapid site deployment to non-system administrators. I highly recommend you visit http://groups.drupal.org/hostmaster2 to learn more about this efficient and robust Drupal tool.

You can view my slidedeck here and I welcome your comments/questions.