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OCAU Server Hardware

Revision as of 03:49, 5 July 2009 by Agg (Talk | contribs)

  • In The Beginning.. OCAU ran on Agg's webspace at ZipWorld (now part of Pacific Internet).
  • But that didn't last long, and we moved to an "unlimited" hosting plan with an American provider, that turned out to be "unlimited" in the way that, say, fossil fuels are. So Agg rapidly built a dedicated server from his desktop machine, which became Odin and was hosted at Zip's datacentre for about 18 months.
  • After that we moved to being hosted by AusGamers - in that they provide the rack space and bandwidth, but we provide our own hardware. To that end Agg built Thor, which lasted for about 18 months or so. The last 6 months were kinda painful, though.
  • As we grew, we needed more server grunt. So, the hosting was split between Pie, the database server, kindly provided by Plus Corporation, and Chips, the webserver. For info on that upgrade, see this article.
  • We outgrew those servers eventually too, so for about three years we were hosted on a dual Opteron machine called bbq, which was largely provided by PlusCorp and hosts the forums. The rest of the site ran on beer, a dual 3GHz Xeon machine. As with pie and chips, bbq and beer talked directly to each other via a private gigabit ethernet crossover. This carried database traffic etc. They both also talked directly to the internet of course.
  • In early 2007 we enabled MySQL replication, allowing beer to take some of the forum database load off bbq. In a stress-test shortly after that was enabled, we hit the 1100 online users mark. During that test it seemed CPU load on bbq would be the next bottleneck, so in March 2007 Agg upgraded BBQ with an extra 2 Opteron 850's and replaced 2GB of RAM that had become faulty and been removed a few months beforehand. This brought the RAM back up to 8GB and the processor count in bbq to four, of 2.4GHz and 1MB L2 cache each.
  • Beer was upgraded to 12GB of RAM at some point and in April 2009 BBQ was upgraded to 16GB of RAM.
  • In June 2009 our hosting at AusGamers ended due to upstream changes beyond their control, including datacentres being bought/sold and the Global Financial Crisis etc. We moved to a leased "virtual rack" arrangement in the USA, which consists of two Dell 2950 servers each with quad-core 2GHz Xeons and 16GB of RAM. "Snags" is the forum server and has 4x 15k-rpm drives in RAID10, while "Steak" has 2x 15k-rpm drives in RAID1. The forum web load is spread across both machines using round-robin DNS, and there is enough CPU grunt on these machines that we can enable gzip compression in the forum software. Most people report no major speed issues with the USA hosting, but it's not an ideal situation. And it's expensive!
  • We hope to move back to Australia soon and are currently configuring new servers for this purpose. Stay tuned!

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