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Critters Server Dying Replaced

May 12, 2013   [permalink]

[Be sure to see update below]

Sigh.

Well, it had to happen sooner or later.

The Critters server is failing.

Even if the hardware wasn't failing, it's been getting bogged down anyway with traffic (often in the form of danged useless denial of service attacks, though sometimes just because it gets busy and does a lot more stuff than it used to). It's chronically low on system memory on a good day. And now the hardware is going. One of the backup drives has already died, the system has been crashing as often as a couple times a week from what I believe is a motherboard or memory problem, and now the ugly amber light is flashing on the "raid" drive saying that one of -those- disks has an error and is about to fail too. The hardware is 8 years old, and really held up well, but it's time to face reality that it needs upgrading.

Unfortunately, it needs a new body fast, since with that motherboard problem and the flashing amber light, it could die or slip into a coma any time. So on Saturday when the life-support light went on, I dashed out and bought new hardware, and have been racing to get it all configured. (This on top of working to get Nyx all moved; when it rains it pours.) :) Critters is a complex set of software, and doesn't just drop in place on a new system with 8 years of "improvements" in the underlying operating system - sometimes they break or flat out remove features that some minion or other relied on. (It's annoying to read when some idjits have deleted a feature just because they think nobody should use it and they're the software nanny. Man!)

I hope to get everything migrated this week. Unfortunately, it's all custom code, and I'm the only one who understands it. I'm not doing much else except working on that and racing fast as I can.

The upshots are two-fold:

1) This is an unexpected $1,000 cost that wasn't anticipated in the fund drive. :( I've been running things as close to the bone costwise as I can, but this wasn't included in the fund drive goals. As always, if you find Critters useful and have funds available, a donation is most welcome.

2) I may have to switch to the new system abruptly, depending on whether the old hardware holds out during migration. If not, and I have to make the new system live, then there may be (a) bugs - things that just don't work that I haven't fixed and may not even know about yet; and (b) down times - if I have to take the system offline to fix something, reboot, etc.

As always, keep copies of critiques you write, manuscripts you submit, etc.

If the system happens to go down for a prolonged time, ping me on facebook to see if I know about it. :) (It's possible it could conk out in the middle of the night, while I'm out on errands, etc.)

On the plus side, the new server is -much- faster than the old one -- 8 years is many generations of Moore's Law! -- so all those grumbles about "your site is slow" should go away big time. :)

Thanks for your patience, understanding, and support!

--Andrew

UPDATE:

***** I WILL BE SWITCHING TO THE NEW SERVER VERY SOON NOW.

***** Probably later today (Sat. 5/11/13).

***** It will say it's the new server at the top, just under "Mr. RoboCritter"

UPDATE #2:

***** WE ARE LIVE ON THE NEW SERVER!!

***** Let me know of any problems. I'm sure some stuff won't work right. It never does after a move. I'll fix things as I learn about them. Keep copies of your critiques and stuff. Thanks!

Should be much faster, too. Enjoy!

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