Archive for the ‘Site News’ Category

Three and a half years later…

I was just looking back through my previous posts and saw that the server that just crashed was brought up at the end of 2008. In fact, it was brought online on the final day of the year. Since then, the server has been 24 hours a day for three and a half years. I can’t even tell how many times it’s been rebooted, it’s been such a rare occurrence. Even when I moved, the server stayed connected to a UPS and didn’t power down.

It’s been a stalwart machine and only stopped working because it literally tore itself to pieces. While the processor probably has time left on the clock, good luck finding EIDE drives in today’s modern society. And even if they did exist, they would be used and I’m not inheriting someone else’s problems.

It was a good run and lots of things learned. Now, let’s see what I can make out of this Hyperthreaded machine with 4GB of ram.

Behold the power of my new web server! – Circa 2009

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And then there was a catastrophic hard drive failure

You know that old saying of always have a backup? Well, it’s good advice.

I think the local power transformer exploded, or malfunctioned or couldn’t keep up with the power demands. Either way, it blew out and the whole neighborhood was plunged into darkness. My UPS devices were going mad, and since I had to get up at 5am regardless, I shut everything down. Everything was running fine, but on the reboot of the Web Server, things went a little sideways. Well, a lot sideways. The machine wouldn’t boot to Windows. I tried to do a recovery and it said there was no previous install of Windows. Then the drive started to click and clack. Then it made even more scary grinding noises. As of now, it seems completely dead.

Ironically, a few months ago I was in the process of building a new 2003 server so I could update the original one. It was being done in a virtual machine and I was very close to completing that project, but ran out of time. Work has been very busy and I haven’t circled back around to complete what I started.

Long story short, I had a backup, but from April when I was last working on this. The site was getting backed up, but not all the media content. I sort of neglected to set that up correctly. But I just got the site back up and working by importing the .SQL file for the WordPress database and copying over all the picture galleries.

As of right now there are a few things missing. I’ve lost a gallery or two and some downloadable files didn’t come over. I will have to rebuild those. It won’t take long, but I have to wait until after the weekend. So if you see things missing, well, they are. I’ll put them back as best I can.

For those that are interested, the server recovery was done using PEBuilder and a copy of Windows XP. I told it to use Windows 2003, but that’s what I got. I copied the files across using a 500GB USB drive, as well as a 32GB thumbdrive. The server now sits inside a Virtual Machine. The host is a 6-core, 16GB machine. I don’t know how stable or long term this is, but it’s working for now. I’m sure there will be cringing and eye-rolling, but Windows 7 64-bit is running Windows Server 2003. When you throw common sense out the window, anything is possible.

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A full year with my new server

So much was going on at the end of the year that I totally forget it was the anniversary of when I brought up my new server. There’s not a lot of things I like about Microsoft these days, but Windows Server 2003 has been running like a champ for me. It’s been running for a full year without a single crash or error. As far as I can tell PHP has been flawless so anyone who says PHP can’t under Windows doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about. There are a couple of limitations I won’t deny that, but I have been exceedingly happy with how it’s been working.

This server should last me another year and then I think it will be time for another upgrade. My plan is to upgrade my desktop machine to something multi-core, probably an i7 in the next 6-8 months; maybe sooner if the taxes work out in my favor. I’m hoping there’s a price drop coming as the next batch of chips hit the market. When that happens, my desktop will move to become a server. Even though it’s old, it’s faster and has more RAM than the current server. Clearly I’m not a cutting edge kind of guy. I get every ounce of use out of my machines before I upgrade.

I’ll be shopping the Dell site in the next few months to see what my meager budget will afford me.

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