The production server is shared, I don't have access to php.ini and httpd.conf and most PHP settings cannot be set or overrided using ini_set PHP function.
So I would like to create a local development environment having configurations as close as it can be to those of the production environment (LAMP). I don't have shell access to the server but using exec PHP function to run some simple commands is possible.
I am using Windows XP Pro and I am going to install on VMWare a linux distribution that is more or less the same as the production server. However, installing apache, mysql and php, and then configuring them like those on the production server is not a easy task.
It would be great if there exists any tools that are useful in this situation, tools that can analyze/ inspect the production server and then produce something that can help replicating the environment would be useful.
If not, what should I be aware of when I try to manually replicate the production environment?