Continuous Integration and redundant clusters for new student portal project based on Liferay Portal

University of London International Academy will be using Liferay Enterprise Edition to build a new version of its student portal. It has chosen Firelay to provide the set up and management for its Liferay Development environment with continuous integration and Acceptance and Production redundant clusters with the Firelay Enterprise On-Premises solution.

“UoLIA was keen to explore the benefits derived through utilising Platform-as-a-Service (Paas) approaches, notably the reduced initial investment and risk coupled with the advantages of rapid, scalable and agile implementation,” says Jonathon Thomas, Head of Learning Technology at the University of London International Academy. “This would allow the organisation to concentrate on providing solutions rather than managing technology. Firelay, as Europe’s leading provider of Liferay PaaS, were the natural partners to work with us on this project. The main advantages of the On-Premises approach is that it will enable UoLIA to maintain its established and trusted working relationship with its internal IT provider (ULCC) as well as minimise any security risks by keeping the data ‘within the building’.”

The new version of the student portal is to replace the current version. This version is operational since 2008 and built using a different enterprise portal by a commercial vendor. University of London International Academy has chosen Liferay Portal because it provides a leaner portal solution with reduced complexity compared to its current solution.

Firelay will assist the development project by providing a Liferay Developer Pack: continuous integration with Jenkins connected to a version control system, Nexus and Maven combined with a separate Liferay Portal. This results in a set up which automatically builds the code upon every commit to the version control system. On every successful build the code is deployed to the Liferay Portal where it can be tested and reviewed manually. Next to this, Jenkins provides the option to add automated testing.

“The Firelay DevPack has enabled our team to rapidly adopt a proven and ready-made approach to test-driven development,” continues Jonathon Thomas. “We will be using continuous integration to facilitate the collaborative delivery of bespoke portal solutions using agile methodologies. Frequent code commits, incremental builds and an extensive test suite will protect the code base and ensure high quality software is developed for the student portal.”

In the following phase Firelay will set up and manage an Acceptance cluster and a high performance, high availability Production cluster. The latter will run the live portal once it is finished and will consist of a web server cluster providing load balancing, a redundant application cluster with Liferay Portal and Tomcat and a multi-master database cluster with Percona.