Riding out the Storm

Premature optimization, they say, is the root of all evil.

When server load started to increase unexpectedly a few months ago and response times began to be unreasonable, I responded by doing aggressive optimization. MySQL query caches, Apache MPM tuning, PHP accelerators from Memcache to eAccelerator to APC, and every little trick I could find under the sun.

When things only got worse, I decided that surely a newer, faster server would do the trick. Fortuitously I was offered a newer server option by my hosting provider that kept my costs the same while offering newer hardware and a much faster CPU. As I transferred, I began to optimize even more aggressively, cutting out some web site features and eliminating certain mail services I considered expensive. Well, the situation only got worse until the server basically crashed. Not to worry, these days daily offsite backups are performed — I learned my lesson a long time ago.

After about 12 hours of intensive gnashing of teeth, it became clear that the only option was to wipe the server clean and restore again. Portions of my file system and configuration files had been corrupted by broken disk I/O operations. While performing an rsync restore operation, I noticed that a certain MySQL comments table was unusually large. Bloody spammers! I cleaned out the table, and suddenly everything’s snappy again.

Watch out for comment spammers. They are more evil than you think.

The Venue Online

Xcomputerman.NET is proud to welcome The Venue into our family of hosted sites. The Venue is a dynamic contemporary young adult fellowship at Grace Community Church in Houston, Texas. Services are held every Monday evening at 7pm, followed by the after-party at a nearby restaurant. Visit their brand new web site to find out more.

Back from the Dead

We’re back. The invincible Xcomputerman.NET has once again been snatched from the jaws of certain death. Here’s how it all went down…

About a month ago, I received a text message from Ben at NerdSystems.com saying that he couldn’t access the server all day.

Long story short — I went back and forth with tech support all day, and eventually found out that the hard drive had failed crapped out spectacularly.

I didn’t have backups. I quietly resigned to fate. Three years worth of email archives for my entire family. Web sites. Blogs. Photographs. Friend’s web sites. All kinds of little things. All gone. Forever.

I had no time to mourn. Work was kicking my butt and midterms were upon me. As soon as the hard drive had been replaced, I just quickly setup Postfix to start receiving mail again, and put it all aside.

A week later I received the failed hard drive package. I hooked it up, and it spouted out all kinds of 0×40 UncorrectableError messages. Fate confirmed. My data was surely done for.

Nearly three weeks later, I decided to try again. To my surprise it
booted up without incident. Incredulous at my sudden good fortune, I proceeded to mount the drive read-only. Within a couple of hours I had copied everything of value off it and onto my home PC’s hard drive.

The rest is history. Xcomputerman.com is back, and so is everything else. Emails and all. It is a good day. Rejoice, people. Rejoice.

Cache-22 web site almost done

Worked hard on the Cache-22.org web site today. The new site has personal blogs for users, personal photo albums, event calendar, birthday reminders, classified ads, and a greatly improved message board with lots of new features. I’ll be testing the rest of the night to work out the last few kinks and make last minute improvements, and there should be an official launch either tonight or tomorrow morning. In the mean time, you’re free to go check out the site, play around and report any issues you find.

Sites Reactivated

I’ve finished transferring the files for Cache-22.org over, so the message board is alive once again. DNS records have been updated and should propagate within an hour at most. The new site is not ready yet, so whatever else you see on there right now is subject to change in the next few days. However, you can go ahead and start posting away.

xcomputerman.com is partially done, I’m still transferring the picture gallery.

Update @ 4:57pm: Enlightenment BugTracker is also back online.

Update @ 5:15pm: Picture gallery is done.

Good News!

I’ve been working so hard today at getting my email system setup on the new server that I didn’t realize … Network access was restored today (I think Miguel may have helped me fix something … thanks Miguel!). Message board is up but only temporarily, it will soon be shut down when I begin the process of transferring data to the new server. And then work on the new site resumes! I’ll try to have the board available on here as long as I can before the new site is launched. If you have any concerns definitely contact me.

Hello world!

This is only a temporary blog. Will post info on here until everything’s all setup and ready to go. For those of you Cache-22.org members who have not read my status updates –

We’re still suffering network problems with the UH network and there’s no estimated time of resolution. I’m waiting for the network to come back up so that I can start transferring everything over to this server, which will never go down again (well, maybe not never, but we sure won’t be having frequent network issues like this again in the future). Please be patient, keep checking back on here as I will be posting status updates whenever I have them.

Right now the server is all setup and ready to go, just waiting for actual data. Many thanks to Benjamin Price who’s both helping to support the cost of this server as well as helping to set it up. And on that note…

Congratulations to Ben and Christine, who just got married last night! May God bless your marriage and home with peace and joy (and little kids, lots of ‘em) … amen!