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Details of our courses in November 2013

After our last post, about our training course coming up in November, and with the scent of knowledge ringing in their nostrils, fiery fervorous  enquiries have begun streaming in. ‘What are these courses?’ ‘What the actual contents?’ they ask. To sate this need for knowledge, we’ve decided to put out some basic details of the courses (news passim) out right now. More details to follow, but here’s an aperitif:

Hosting Web Services

This will cover use of a full LAMP stack, we’ll look at the configuration of popular web servers; Apache2, Lighttpd, Nginx, the MySQL database, the reverse proxy Varnish. We’ll look at the use of PHP and perl libraries from packages and using Pear, PECL and CPAN.


Linux-Vserver is Bristol Wireless’s virtual server environment of choice. We’ll set up a number of virtual servers, looks at the various forms of limiting using cgroups, looks a many virtual server options and their configuration. We’ll review security considerations, and show why Linux-Vserver guests can greatly limit the success of certain forms of DOS attack.


The SQL course will be in two sections – firstly we’ll cover the nature of data, datatypes, normalization, database design, creation of tables and columns, keys and indexes and referential integrity. The second section will give a thorough overview of the SQL syntax – we’ll use it to create a small database on which we’ll learn how to do INSERTs, SELECTs, JOINs, UPDATEs and DELETEs. The course will be run on MySQL using PHPMyAdmin – a popular GUI tool for creation and management of MySQL databases.

Unlike the other courses, the SQL course is a programmer’s course so it will be suitable for beginners in SQL, though a rudimentary understanding of the principles of programming languages, the storage of data and general computing techniques will be necessary.

System Administration

On this day we’ll cover how to solve problems with systems, introducing the most powerful command line tools. We’ll look at methodology which allows us to distinguish when we are wasting our time following an incorrect assumption from when we are heading in the right direction. Participants will be presented with problem systems to resolve.


Puppet is a configuration tool. Machines can be configured automagically from a central server. Formerly complex installation processes can be installed automatically, meaning web service can be made ‘pop up’. We’ll look at the limitations of puppet in certain setups, and show how to get round those. We’ll have hands on session deploying system configuration and services using puppet also showing how to register a client with a puppet master using the inbuilt certificate management.