Wednesday, December 31, 2008

OpenSolaris Workstation for Grails Development

I am creating a new development environment for the new year. I hope by writing this it will force me to both think it through and commit to actually doing it. I have an underutilized desktop computer running OpenSolaris that was built to be a GlassFish application server. What little development I currently do is on a notebook computer running Windows XP. Recently I've concluded that the notebook is partially to blame for my underwhelming productivity. I can't see enough information on the notebook screen to work productively and since it has wireless networking I tend to use it all over the house. Since there isn't a specific place I sit when I want to work, there are usually plenty of distractions wherever I am. I think if I am forced to go to a desk and sit at a workstation my brain will know when it is time to code and therefore I'll be more productive. There could be an additional benefit to spending more time working in OpenSolaris, when I need to do server administration it might be a little easier.

The tricky part is I want to make this happen for $150 or less. That should be possible for several reasons: I can get a monitor at no cost, I won't need much hard drive space, memory prices are down, and I already know the components will run OpenSolaris. The computer I am going to upgrade was built with an old 15GB hard drive. Since it was an application server all it had to fit was OpenSolaris, MySQL, and GlassFish. Now that it will be a development workstation I want to increase the drive space and mirror the hard drive. The motherboard supports RAID 1 so all I need is two matching disks (maybe one more cable). A recent price check revealed I should be able to buy 250MB SATA drives for around $50 each. As a server, 1GB RAM was easily enough. I want to increase that and there is one empty memory slot. Adding a 2GB memory module, for a total of 3GB, will let me have enough horsepower to run an IDE, database, and application server locally for development. That will be another $25. Ideally I'd like to add a graphics card that supports dual monitors but that can always come later when there is enough money for new monitors.

I recently ordered OpenSolaris media since I wasn't pressed for time and could wait for it to be mailed. Unless I am mistaken I won't be downloading any software except Grails directly. Once the Operating System is installed everything else should come through a package manager.

Here are the steps I plan to follow:
  1. Pickup 19" monitor
  2. Add new hard drives and memory
  3. Install OpenSolaris 2008.11
  4. Install NetBeans 6.5
  5. Install GlassFish v3 Prelude
  6. Install MySQL 5.1
  7. Install Grails 1.1

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