Is this how time normally passes? Really slowly, in the right order?

Tuesday, August 30


Location, Location, Location

Okay, I've lined up reasonably-priced providers in the following locations:
  • Phoenix (2)
  • Dallas (2)
  • Atlanta
  • New Jersey
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Fremont
I'm not sure about the company operating the Chicago and Fremont hosting - they seem to have happy customers, but they're small and operate out of Malaysia.  Mind you, I'm even smaller and operate out of my living room...

One of the providers in Phoenix - I/O Flood - is also a tiny company, but they clearly know what they are doing (very active online) and their pricing is great.  The other two providers have been in business for years and I've had servers with both of them previously, but they're the most expensive.  (But still significantly cheaper than what I'm paying now.)

Fremont, Dallas, and New Jersey would make sense from a geographical perspective, but I really like the guys in Phoenix.  Maybe Phoenix and Atlanta.

Ah, decisions, decisions. wink

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Monday, August 29


Big Toys And Little Ones

Kirino is home, though not yet unboxed; Menma awaits under my desk at the office.  I have 4x1TB drives for each (I bought those last year to upgrade Nagi, but still haven't got around to it), and I just need to find some more memory for them, since they only come with 1GB.

Meanwhile at my day job I have four 32-processor Opteron servers each with 256GB of RAM and 54TB of disk, with two more such servers and 60 SSDs on their way.  So right now I have a 128-processor cluster with 1TB of RAM, and that's going to grow by another 50% in the next month.  This will make my life a lot easier.

I'm just waiting for someone at work to object to my virtual server names - so far I've named them after characters from Winnie the Pooh, Ghostbusters, Life on Mars / Ashes to Ashes, and My Little Pony.  But by the time we're done we'll have something like 200 virtual servers, so we have to get names from somewhere.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:08 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, August 28


Mmm, Pricey


Xeon E3 1230
2 x 1TB SATA disks
2 x 100GB+ SSD


Acmemicro: $1693 (purchase price) plus colo fees
SoftLayer (list): $1209/month (with 6TB bandwidth)
SoftLayer (discounted): $659/month (with 6TB bandwidth)
I/O Flood: $250/month (with 10TB bandwidth)

I haven't included RAID controllers. (I/O Flood do software RAID free; SoftLayer don't offer software RAID at all, and I've had it up to HERE with hardware RAID.)  The SoftLayer price includes enterprisey WD disks and Micron SSDs, where I/O Flood offer desktop WD disks and Intel SSDs; again, neither offers any other option.  And I can get two and a half servers at I/O Flood for the price of one at SoftLayer, so unless the hardware is completely flaky, I'll be able to deliver as good or better uptime and much better performance.

I'm getting some quotes from other providers as well; my plan is to move back out to two (or more) servers, at two different providers in two different locations, so that no single event can take us off the air.

It's not that SoftLayer is a bad provider - though exactly why I still see power outages on a server with redundant power supplies and a UPS is an unanswered question - it's just that they no longer seem to be in our marketplace.

Update: I have a quote from Tailor Made Servers now; they charge one-off fees for the SSDs, which makes them more expensive to start with than I/O Flood, but they've been in the business for years and I've used them before.  One server at I/O Flood and another at TMS could work well, but they're both in the Southern US (Phoenix and Dallas, respectively) so I'm still looking to see if I can find someone good in the North-East.

Update: Got a quote back from JaguarPC.  They're a little more expensive than I/O Flood, but not much, and have five datacentres available (Atlanta, New Jersey, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles) so I can situate the servers appropriately.

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Saturday, August 27


Planned Downtime

We're going to have a little downtime around 1AM CDT this Sunday to replace the failed drive.  Should only be around 15 minutes assuming all goes well.  If all goes wrong, could be a couple of hours.  I'd place the probabilities at about 60/40.

Running and double-checking backups right now.

Update: Ran a little late and a little long and a little hiccupy, but all done now.

Update to the update: And then when all was said and done, the network decided to notwork: The switch lost track of all our IP addresses and effectively null-routed the server.  Had to manually bind them directly to the network interface, then restart the virtual servers one by one.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:09 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, August 21


Sorry About That, Folks!

Had a drive failure1, which caused the system to reboot2, which caused a lengthy filesystem check because we'd been up so long3, which when circumvented allowed us to boot cleanly, which highlighted a networking glitch4, which when fixed allowed us to find the database corruption5 which we've now fixed allowing us to get back on the air.

I was supposed to be in a conference session on hosting web applications right about now...

1 Grrr Western Digital! 6
2 Grrr Adaptec! 6
3 Grrr ext3 default settings which I didn't bother to override...6
4 Grrr OpenVZ! 6
5 Grrr MySQL! 6
6 Though it must be said that we've been running on this without a hiccup for nearly 18 months.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:26 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, August 20


Golden Age Of Ponies


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Sunday, August 14


Hidamari Sketch!!!!

Season 4 announced.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:08 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, August 13


Well, That's Something

My hot water heater* just unfailed.

It failed at about 11PM last night, or at least, sometime between 7PM and 11PM.  I ended up having a cold shower, and since it's currently about 7C here, when I say cold shower I mean AAARRGH!!!!   COLDCOLDCOLDCOLD!!!!

I tried resetting it to no avail, and was going to take another look at it in the morning before trying to get it repaired over the weekend when I heard some strange clicky noises coming from outside.  What, I pondered, could be making strange clicky noises at this time of night?

(Turns on hot tap.)
(Waits a few seconds.)
(Receives hot water.)

Well, that's an improvement.

* As opposed to cold water heater.  Well, except that it does heat cold water, there being little point to heating hot water.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:38 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, August 11


Toy Shopping, Winter Edition, Update 2

Now is the Winter of our disk content.*

Just ordered a couple of HP servers.  I've always wanted an HP server, and now I'm getting two.

Admittedly, they're very very small HP servers:


They take four 3.5" drives in neat little caddies, up to 8GB of ECC (or non-ECC) RAM, and are powered by an Athlon II dual-core chip.***  Gigabit ethernet, a swarm of USB ports, one each eSATA and VGA.  Two low-profile PCIe slots, one full x16 and one x1.  Comes with 1GB of ECC RAM and a 250GB disk, which isn't very much but at least lets you get it up and running right out of the box.

$250 each, including shipping - which is the same price as those Buffalo 4-disk NAS boxes, but a lot more capable.  At the same time they're a good bit bigger than a Buffalo, but at the same same time they're maybe one third the size of the mini-tower machines under my desk and reportedly very quiet and light on power.

They'll work fine as file servers or test boxes without cluttering the place up too much.

I was uncertain whether to buy them - I could revive some of my older machines to do the same duties, though they'd be larger, noisier, and more expensive to run - when I found some pretty positive reviews and a 175-page thread and another 194-page thread about them on OCAU.  They're apparently quite the item with the hobbyist crowd.

Now I just need to name them.  Kirino for one, I think.  And...  Menma?

* Sorry.**
** Not really.
*** A 1.3GHz low-power Athlon, but that should be fine for what I'll be doing with them.

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Tuesday, August 09


Big Yellow Taxis Considered Harmful

This is Reia.  It's essentially Ruby implemented on the Erlang VM, which is great if you're interested in Erlang but hate the syntax.*

Sadly the project has just been abandoned because there are apparently more things not to like about Erlang than its syntax.**

I've known of Reia (and Erlang, of course) for a some time, but I wasn't really interested in them except as curiosities until I started working with RabbitMQ, CouchDB, Disco, and Riak, all of which are implemented (either partly or in full) in Erlang.

Reia - as Ruby in Erlang - seemed like the perfect next step in my Erlang explorations*** but alas, they paved it and put up a parking lot.

* In other words, you're sane.
** There's another, similar project called Elixir, but Reia has a better name and a nicer syntax.
*** Well, Python in Erlang would have been even better, but Ruby is a Python martini - six parts Python to one part Perl - and that's not a disagreeable mix.

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