Home » IT Services News » IT Services News No. 179 (Feb 2016) » Upcoming Upgrade of HKU Web Server Cloud

Upcoming Upgrade of HKU Web Server Cloud

HKU Web Server Cloud was set up in June 2009 to support websites of departments and student societies.  Each department can apply for one web cloud server running on a virtual machine for hosting departmental website and the websites of student societies are running on a cluster of virtual machines.   

At present, HKU Web Server Cloud servers are using the operating system, CentOS 5 (CentOS is a community-backed version of the popular Redhat Enterprise Linux).   We are now planning for an upgrade of the web servers as CentOS 5 is going to reach its end-of-support in March 2017.  End-of-support means there are no more security fixes and support for this outdated version.  This upgrade exercise is thus necessary to mitigate the risks of hacking by leveraging the security vulnerabilities of an end-of-support operating system.  

This upgrade exercise involves over 140 web servers.  The upgrade will be arranged in phases and Phase 1 will commence in March 2016.  The configuration of the upgraded web server is CentOS 6, and will be installed with Apache 2.2.15, PHP 5.4.16, MySQL 5.1.73, and optionally Tomcat 6.  During the upgrade, accounts and user data will be copied from the existing server to the new server for departments and student societies.   After data migration, webmasters can arrange necessary testing on the new server and apply fixes before production run.   For those web servers using PHP, we expect some programming editing may be required to fix the possible compatibility issues arising from different versions of PHP.  

We will contact the webmasters of these web servers to schedule a mutually convenient time for the upgrade.   We seek support from departments and student societies to assist in a smooth completion of this upgrade exercise which is targeted to complete in early 2017.

For enquiries on this upgrade exercise, please feel free to contact the undersigned.


Gripen Kwok
System Team
Tel: 3917 2455
Email: gripen@hku.hk