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Planned Downtime - Friday October 10th, 2008


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#1
admin

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We are moving to a new server and data center. This will likely require a couple of hours downtime. We've scheduled it for the evening of October 9th October 10th, and we'll start about 10PM CST.

Thanks for your patience and understanding as work to upgrade our infrastructure.

Watch this post for updates. :)

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE.

Edited by admin, 09 October 2008 - 08:42 PM.
date change

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#2
jt1990

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Thanks for the warning :) The other board I was on got shut down without any warning and they haven't brought it back up yet...
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#3
admin

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I think this will be the fifth time we've moved servers, so hopefully we know what to expect. I think last time it took about an hour. We're stating two hours to be safe, but unforeseen circumstances could make it longer. If you've ever wondered what it takes to power a site like this, read on.

The only thing wrong with the current server is that we're outgrowing the hard drives. Replacing drives on a production server is not easily done. We've also decided it's time to make a number of improvements to our infrastructure. For storage, we're switching to a RAID array, plus backup drive. The drives will be SAS for increased reliability. In addition, we'll use an iSCSI virtual drive at the datacenter to replicate the database, in real-time. Off-site backups will be R1Soft in Kansas City, MO. R1soft is a very cool product that does block level backups in almost real-time, with little server load, and allows multiple snapshots. While our old system of rsync to an off-site server was okay, it wasn't as reliable or robust.

Server hardware will remain pretty similar. 4GB RAM, 4 CPU cores. Except we'll have one quad core CPU, instead of two dual-core (AMD instead of Intel). Plus the addition of RAID. Software will remain CentOS Linux 64-bit, but we're investing in LiteSpeed instead of Apache for faster performance (especially page load times). Finally, we're switching data centers, from LayeredTech to SoftLayer. They are both in the Dallas area, so there should be no changes in network performance.
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#4
bombasos2

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admin,

Sounds like fun project. Good luck with the upgrades. :)

Just out of curiosity how much storage space does the website currently have and will upgrade to? I have no idea what it would take to run a server like the one used by this website but it would be interesting to know. For some reason I thought it would take a lot more than 4GB RAM to run a busy website.
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#5
admin

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We have 73GB drives, and are upgrading to 147GB (SAS).

4GB is plenty for us. LAMP (Linux, Apache [now Litespeed], MySQL, and PHP) is pretty light when configured properly. While 8GB could be used for more cache, it wouldn't really speed up the site at all.
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#6
Troy

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10PM CST comes to.... 4AM GMT+10, sound about right? I'll be in the next day when you do it (and hopefully fast asleep).

It had better be on by the time I get up! :) (You've got two hours max)

If ever you want to move to an Australian data centre, I'll be there to help the move :)

Good luck with it! :)

Just a quick question, why have there been so many data centre moves?
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#7
admin

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Just a quick question, why have there been so many data centre moves?

We don't own our hardware, we lease it. That gives us the flexibility to upgrade hardware, and to change data centers by just transferring data.

This move is due to hard drives filling faster than we anticipated. The new data center also offers better support and more features. The prior move was to improve the hardware for faster site performance (dual core to 2 x dual core). The move prior to that was for poor network performance at a Chicago data center. Prior to that was a hardware upgrade...

This site was started on a hosting plan that cost $10 a year. Moved to a $10 a month plan. Then a shared server, and finally our first dedicated server. As a site grows, moving is just another growing pain.
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#8
Topaz

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Very interesting admin , and thanks for the WARNING !

If you've ever wondered what it takes to power a site like this, read on.

You have great architecture , planning , and setup , thaks for the information :) Have fun !
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#9
**Brian**

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We have 73GB drives, and are upgrading to 147GB (SAS).

4GB is plenty for us. LAMP (Linux, Apache [now Litespeed], MySQL, and PHP) is pretty light when configured properly. While 8GB could be used for more cache, it wouldn't really speed up the site at all.

Wow - I have a 160GB USB external here on my desk in my room that does my backups for me, and soon I may go to vista on one of these machines - I hope everything goes well :) Good Luck!!

Brian
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#10
admin

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A hiccup in the MySQL migration has forced us to postpone the move until tomorrow night. Friday October, 10th.

Same time, same place. :)
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