Differences Between vFabric Web Server and vFabric ERS

The vFabric Cloud Application Platform includes two HTTP server and load-balancing products: vFabric Web Server and vFabric Enterprise Ready Server (ERS). vFabric ERS is nearing its end-of-life and VMware highly recommends that ERS customers migrate to vFabric Web Server. The following table describes the major differences between the two products and provides high-level actions that existing ERS customers can take as they prepare for the migration.

Table 1. Differences Between vFabric Web Server and vFabric ERS

vFabric Web ServervFabric ERSCustomer Action
Available as part of vFabric Suite (Standard and Advanced) or as a standalone product.Not included in vFabric Suite. Originally designed for only physical computers.Select licensing based on vFabric integration or dedicated hardware.
Strictly an Apache HTTPD Server-based product. vFabric tc Server, a separate product, is strictly an Apache Tomcat-based product.Includes both Apache HTTPD and Apache Tomcat packages.Migrate ERS Apache HTTPD instances to vFabric Web Server. Separately migrate ERS Tomcat instances to vFabric tc Server.
Runs on current, vendor-supported 32- and 64-bit releases of RHEL, Microsoft Windows, Solaris, and AIX. See Supported Configurations and System Requirements for the exact versions.Runs on now-unsupported, or "twilighted", versions of RHEL, Windows, Solaris, AIX, and HPUX. See ERS Supported Platforms for the exact versions.Upgrade to a vendor-supported operating system version for all vFabric Web Server instances, and apply all patch releases (such as service packs) issued by that vendor no later than 12 months from their vendor release.
Includes the current enterprise-ready release of Apache HTTPD Server 2.2.Includes the current release of Apache HTTPD Server 2.2, as well as the now-deprecated 2.0 and 1.3 versions.Migrate all Apache HTTPD 2.0 and 1.3 instances to vFabric Web Server 2.2 instances. The migration requires updates to the *.conf file.
During installation or upgrade, the Apache HTTPD binaries are written to a path in the format vfabric-web-server/httpd-2.2.xx.x-32. This preserves any existing Apache HTTPD binaries without overwriting them.During installation or upgrade, the Apache HTTPD binaries are always written to the same directory (ers-install-path/apache2.2-64), which means on upgrade any existing binaries are overwritten. Point all server instances to the common symlink vfabric-web-server/httpd-2.2, modify it to revert/roll back/change 32-64 bit modes.
Includes the most commonly-used modules. See Complete Packages and Modules in vFabric Web Server 5.1.Included additional modules, such as mod_perl, mod_php, and mod_snmp.Migrate PHP and Perl applications to the supported, and more optimal, mod_fcgid environment.
Closely tracks Apache Software Foundation (ASF) naming and directory layout conventions. In particular:
  • install-dir/httpd-2.2/modules/ directory contains the loadable modules

  • Binaries and configuration file names use httpd prefix

  • install-dir/newserver.pl|vbs creates new instances

  • instance-dir/bin/httpdctl controls each deployed instance

  • instance-dir/conf/extras/ offers feature-based small config templates

Has a number of now-stale, legacy file and path conventions. In particular:
  • install-dir/apache2.2/modules/standard directory contains the loadable modules

  • Binaries and configuration file names use httpsd prefix

  • install-dir/ers-server.pl creates new instances

  • install-dir/servers/instance-dir/bin/apache_startup.sh|bat controls each deployed instance

  • install-dir/servers/instance-dir/conf/httpsd.conf is one large, monolithic configuration template.

Create a new vFabric Web Server instance, then migrate customizations from your existing vFabric ERS instance. Alternatively, modify a copy of the deployed vFabric ERS instance tree to use vFabric Web Server path and file name conventions. Use smaller functional .conf snippets to make the configuration more organized and maintainable.