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Old 2016-10-07, 08:23   Link #1
GHDpro
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Forum Server Move 2016

After several years running the forum on the same hardware I tend to ask myself if in the meanwhile there isn't a better deal out there: better/similar performance for the same price or preferably less.

In addition the forum server OS software (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS) will soon (april 2017) no longer receive security updates, so I would have had to reinstall everything reasonably soon anyway (I don't think an in-place upgrade would have gone that well).

Anyway, TL;DR:

The forum was successfully moved to a new server on Tuesday, October 11, 2016
But if you notice something odd please report it in this thread, thanks!

The forum will move servers on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at around 10:00 am UTC
Due to this, the forum will be inaccessible for a few hours (2~3 hours, hopefully less).


10:00 am UTC = 12:00 (noon) Central European / 6:00 am Eastern / 3:00 am Pacific / 18:00 Hong Kong

As you can see the time picked will probably not impact visitors from US and Europe much, but sadly may impact visitors from Asia and Australia a bit. Sorry about that.

The main reason the server will be down for so long is to restore the database from a backup on the new server, which due to the amount of data involved takes quite a long time (2 hours). Technical note: as during the restore the database server will be changed from MySQL 5.5 to MariaDB 10.1 and the table storage type from MyISAM to InnoDB, using replication to keep downtime to a minimal wasn't an option.

About the new servers
For years the AnimeSuki forum has been using dedicated servers but my hosting "habits" have changed and I prefer using smart VPS providers like Linode and DigitalOcean for most things now. While the hardware provided by such VPS providers wasn't quite sufficient for a heavy forum server for a while, I think things have improved that moving the forum to a VPS is possible. Or rather two VPS: I'll be splitting up the database and web server and putting them on separate VPS.

The old server specs are as follows:
- Intel E3 1230 V2 CPU (4 cores)
- 16 GB RAM
- 2x 128 GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD in hardware RAID-1
- 500GB HDD for backups
$179/month

The new VPS specs (for each individual VPS, so x2 for total specs) are as follows:
- 4 CPU cores
- 8 GB RAM
- 96 GB SSD storage
2x$40 = $80/month total

In short I think the hardware is better (similar/better CPU, same amount of RAM, same SSD storage etc) but I'll be paying less than half than the old server ($179 vs $80). You can see why this server move is appealing to me

The only slight worry I have at the moment is the SSD storage; our provider (Linode) claims to use enterprise grade hardware for this but it is probably still shared with other customers. Then again not sure if this is going to be a big problem with SSDs. We'll see.

In addition to the hardware change, I also intend to make the following software changes at the same time:

- Move to Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (supported until 2021)
- Move to the latest version of nginx which allows full support for HTTP/2
- Move to PHP 5.6 (supported until Jan 1, 2019; the forum software does not support PHP 7 at the moment)
- Move to MariaDB 10.1 (latest versions of MySQL aren't very good in my opinion)
- Convert database tables to InnoDB format (more reliable than the old MyISAM format we were still using)

Hopefully nothing breaks during this move, but if you have questions or (after the move) you notice something that doesn't work, you can post it here.

One More Thing
You can already access the forum through HTTPS, but this is not yet enforced. However Chrome will from January onward be marking any login pages (anything with a password input box) as insecure if not viewed through HTTPS. For this reason I intend to make the forum HTTPS only very soon (November/December). Be sure you use a reasonably recent browser on a reasonably recent OS. [ more info ]

Last edited by GHDpro; 2016-10-11 at 06:54.
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Old 2016-10-07, 09:08   Link #2
SeijiSensei
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: At a London haberdashery with Ange
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I'm a very satisfied Linode customer and haven't seen any issues since the move to SSDs. Are you financing this out of your pocket? Can we help?

I'm a CentOS person myself when it comes to servers; I use Ubuntu on the desktop.
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Old 2016-10-07, 09:32   Link #3
GHDpro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I'm a very satisfied Linode customer and haven't seen any issues since the move to SSDs. Are you financing this out of your pocket? Can we help?
Yes I've used them for a few other sites, including the one that basically funds all my hosting needs from advertising income for a while now. No complaints. In January they had some DDoS issues but they promised to improve things so I hope that never happens again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I'm a CentOS person myself when it comes to servers; I use Ubuntu on the desktop.
I used to use CentOS (even Red Hat at one time) but found the packages too old, then I moved to Debian and had a similar issue after a while, now I use Ubuntu. Of course some packages are still too old so I use PPAs (custom repos) for the most important stuff (nginx / MariaDB / PHP). In the case of PHP I don't even have a choice as Ubuntu 16.04 comes with PHP 7 which as I mention above the forum software isn't compatible with (they are working on a patch but it's "alpha" at the moment, so I won't bother with it until it's stable, which might be a while as vBulletin 3 isn't a priority for the developers of course).
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Old 2016-10-08, 06:58   Link #4
Marcus H.
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: the Philippines
Soooo, is this done? The forum is already accessible.
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Old 2016-10-08, 07:02   Link #5
GHDpro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
Soooo, is this done? The forum is already accessible.
I put the date in big bright red letters in the first post...
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Old 2016-10-08, 07:18   Link #6
Marcus H.
Close Quarters Cuisine
 
 
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Oh damn. I was too excited about this.
I also have a tendency to skip brightly colored text due to experience with certain posters in another forum.
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Have a nice talk with the Animesuki forum members on Discord! (Promise, we won't bite!) Drop me or RRW a PM for the link!

Summer 2017: Isekai Shokudou (4/1c), New Game S2 (1/12), Vatican Kiseki Chousa-kan (4/12) and Owarimonogatari S2 (Aug12).
Continuing from Spring 2017: Sakura Quest (16/25).
2016 Catch-up: Amanchu! (1/12), Owarimonogatari (7/12) and Koyomimonogatari (1/12).
Autumn 2017: Kekkai Sensen and Beyond (2/12), Just Because! (3/12) and 3-Gatsu no Lion S2 (1/22).


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MyAnimeList Status|| Watching: 40. Completed: 309. Plan to watch: 40.

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Old 2016-10-08, 09:02   Link #7
blakstealth
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Everything is gonna be so fresh.
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Old 2016-10-08, 18:30   Link #8
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blakstealth View Post
Everything is gonna be so fresh.
Well ideally, if it works, you won't notice anything other than it being faster. But hopefully this can support future improvements to come.
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Old 2016-10-10, 13:12   Link #9
Mr.DJ
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Join Date: Oct 2016
well Im supported
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Old 2016-10-10, 20:30   Link #10
blakstealth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Well ideally, if it works, you won't notice anything other than it being faster. But hopefully this can support future improvements to come.
Better performance and a brand new forum smell. I can sense it all.
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Last edited by blakstealth; 2016-10-10 at 20:43.
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Old 2016-10-11, 06:57   Link #11
GHDpro
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Server move complete!

Everything went pretty well: I was kind of late to start but fortunately the database restore kind of made up for it as it took a lot less time (my previous estimate was based on a server that had not yet been optimized).

Now everything should be working fine. But if you notice something odd please report it here.
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Old 2016-10-11, 17:43   Link #12
blakstealth
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it's like I'm driving a gott dang lamborghini.
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Old 2016-10-12, 06:14   Link #13
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The server move makes the forum great again.
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Old 2016-10-12, 06:20   Link #14
GHDpro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frivolity View Post
The server move makes the forum great again.
More like my wallet.

This server move was not really about a major speed increase, more like to keep the speed the same or better while greatly reducing costs (and upgrading the software stack at the same time). And in that it succeeded.
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