Aegir - a Drupal hosting system
It's been on my to-do list for quite a while now, especially after a very nice presentation by Roel de Meester at the last DrupalJam. Aegir seems like a very sustainable solution if you need to manage many Drupal sites on your own servers, which is exactly what we do for our clients. Updating and testing all these sites can become time-consuming really fast, so you want to streamline and automate this process as much as possible.
What is Aegir?
Aegir is a hosting system made out of Drupal, with some additional modules, an installation profile and drush.
You can read all about Aegir on it's own group site where all the discussion takes place. There is also a FAQ in the Wiki.
What can I do with Aegir?
Aegir is a hosting management solution for Drupal sites. Using Aegir, you can easily deploy, upgrade, migrate and manage all your Drupal site from within one interface.
How do I set it up?
There is a detailed install path available in the Wiki but you should first watch this great screencast to get a general idea. It has a complete transcript, but is is for the older Drupal 5 (0.2) version of Aegir - so keep that in mind when you copy-paste stuff around! Setting up a local version of Ubuntu 9.04 with LAMP stack and Aegir 6.x-0.3-rc3 version took me about half a day.
I didn't had any big problems during install although I did misplace the modules the first time because I did some things manually instead of copy pasting the CVS checkout codes. Anyway, the Hosting module and the special Eldir theme should go in the subfolder of your Hostmaster profile, and the provision module should go in a folder named .drush in your aegir home dir. It's all documented but I simply didn't catch that dot (.) and placed provision as a sub-folder in the drush directory. This way, drush will not recognize the special drush provision commands. Doh!
Also, in 0.3-rc3, you will need the Install Profile API module in order to set Aegir up. This isn't documented anywhere yet, probably because it's a new requirement in 0.3-rc3.
Lastly, you will need a working sendmail (or other means of sending email) on your server, otherwise you won't be able to add sites.
Aegir may not be stable yet and lots of features are being worked upon, but activity is high. Currently version 0.3 is ready and according to the roadmap there will be support for multiple servers and improvements in the user interface before releasing 1.0.
To sum up, Aegir looks very promosing to me, and I'm looking forward checking it out some more. Another thing I'm curious about is the integration or co-existence of Aegir with other systems like ISPConfig, and how it would handle real-life implementation on a site with live Drupal sites. Importing existing sites is part of the installation profile and is definitely something to test out.
Aegir in Drupalcon Paris:
There will be multiple sessions at DrupalCon Paris about Aegir: