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New servers ordered – detailed specs.

Saturday, May 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


If you missed yesterday’s update, please be sure to read it; there are some exciting changes coming to JSF and the JSF forums in the very near future! You can discuss the changes and ask any questions you might have in this thread.

Yesterday I finalized the specifications for the new JSF servers and then placed the order. JSF will be run off two identical quad core, dual CPU servers. The first server (“Iron”) will be the web server (PHP/Apache) and the second server (“Steel”) will be a dedicated MySQL server. Here are the salient details:

– CPU 1: Quad Core Intel Xeon E5420, 2x6MB Cache, 2.5GHz, 1333MHz FSB
– CPU 2: Quad Core Intel Xeon E5420, 2x6MB Cache, 2.5GHz, 1333MHz FSB FSB
– 16GB 667MHz (8x2GB), Dual Ranked DIMMs
– PERC6i SAS RAID Controller, 2×4 Connectors, Int, PCIe, 256MB Cache, x6 Backplane
– 2x146GB 15K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 3Gbps 3.5-in HotPlug Hard Drives
– 2U Rackmount case
– Redundant Power Supply with Y-Cord
– 2xIntel PRO 1000PT Dual Port Server Adapter, Gigabit NIC, Cu, PCIe x4

Speed and reliability were obviously my two main concerns here.

SPEED: Dual processors, massive amounts of RAM and 15k RPM SCSI drives will allow JSF and the JSF Forums to perform much, much faster – especially at peak hours. Our overall membership and the number of members and guests online at the same time continues to grow; these servers should provide plenty of overhead for our continued growth.

RELIABILITY: Clearly the data on the hard drives is the lifeblood of this community. Protecting that data is critical. To that end, I selected dual hard drives in a RAID 1 configuration. If you are not familiar with RAID, basically RAID 1 (there are other forms of RAID, but I won’t address those here) mirrors the data from one drive to the other in real-time. This provides true data redundancy, and allows for the complete failure of one drive with absolutely no loss of data or impact to the functioning of the server. The drives are also “hot-swappable”, which simply means that if a drive happens to fail, I can replace it without needing to shut the machine down or interrupt service.

Additionally, the data will be backed up automatically each night, compressed and transfered off-site (to my home network). This compressed backup is then automatically backed up again to another storage device on my home network. That means that there are 4 backups of each machine in existence at any given time, none older than 24 hours. I archive the most recent 4 months worth of backups, so there are always multiple generations.

I’ve also ordered redundant power supplies with “Y” cords. Power supplies will eventually fail, and when they do the server goes down hard. Redundant power supplies prevent that from occurring and will help insure continuous uptime.

Finally, I’ve ordered redundant dual-port Gigabit network cards.

While I’m very excited about the new hardware, the most visible changes will be the new forum software. There are some really cool new features that I think you all are going to enjoy a great deal. These new features will allow you to create your own custom space, complete with blogs, stats, photos and user comments – and that’s just scratching the surface of what you can expect to see in the near future!

Moving on to another subject… Lisa has been out of town half the week on business. She might be back tonight, but there’s a good chance today’s meetings will end late and she won’t make the long drive back home until tomorrow morning. If she doesn’t get back tonight I’ll have to postpone my weekly stats until Monday (I need her help to perform the 7-point body fat test).

OK, that’s about it for this morning. Enjoy your Saturday!

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