Windows 7 Forums Server Move Announcement for October 2010

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by Mike, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    IMPORTANT NEWS

    I am pleased to announce that Windows 7 Forums is fully upgrading its hardware capabilities to the maximum possible threshold. We will be increasing our memory, processor, and networking capabilities to an extent that will meet current requirements and exceed future requirements. This decision has been made for a number of reasons that are sound in their reasoning and decided as a best decision for the website as a whole.

    It has also been made in consideration of problems experienced with our existing provider, and the potential benefits that are being extended to us by a new one.

    The move is being partitioned into three phases:

    Stage 1. Assembly - The components necessary for new hardware and software to power the website are being assembled and tested (72-120 hours)

    Stage 2. Migration - The old service is disconnected. All files and data from this service will be completely, and securely, moved to the new one. (24-48 hours)
    Stage 3. Transition - Changes in DNS settings will complete the move to a new service provider, with new hardware and software. (4-48 hours)

    (We estimate most of the world is now able to access the new server location without difficulty.)


    We are currently at Stage 1. (10/5/2010)

    We are currently at Stage 2. (10/6/2010)
    Stage 3 Confirmed Complete. (10/7/2010)

    The move has been finalized faster than expected due to non-stop work performed and a quick turn-around time on service and hardware assembly and configuration
    .

    During Stage 1 (Assembly), the server is completely assembled, hardware burn-in testing takes place, software is confirmed working for the device, and service nodes are established that connect us to the new network. This can be a long period, as if anything is found wrong with a device, the assembly may have to be started from scratch with new hardware.

    During Stage 2 (Migration), the existing service is shutdown and all files and database components are promptly moved by the managed hosting team to its new, high capacity, and high speed home. At this time, the server will be unavailable until the entire process is completed to avoid any possible data loss.

    During Stage 3 (Transition), access to Windows7Forums.com will become completely unavailable until such a time as that domain name resolution changes are made and propagated around the entire Internert due to the change in service providers. When these parts begin, you will know, we will please ask that common visitors please give approximately 24-48 hours for the DNS to propagate properly across the Internet once the final migration process is in place. When this change is finalized, you will be able to access the forums and a notice indicating that you are on the new service will be plainly visible for you to see.

    What can we expect to be visible from this change as soon as it is complete?

    • Faster load times.
    • State of the art processing capacity.
    • Highest memory resources possible on a single service.
    • Solid state disk technology reintroduced into the production environment for the first time since January 2010.
    This plan was previously in development for January 2011, but has been expedited to October 2010.

    Overall, we expect that your new experience on Windows7Forums.com will be at lightning speed. We are currently reaching maximum system resources, and we are now moving to acquire more. Thank you for your patience in this matter. This action is being taken for all of our viewers, members, and supporters around the world.

    How can I access the new website location?

    The Domain Name Service (DNS) hostname will propagate and direct all Internet users around the world to the new web server location. This is done by removing A, MX, and PTR records on our existing nameservers and creating them on a new one. It is also done by pointing our domain name to new name servers using domain name administration. In common terms, this means you will need to wait, usually around 24-48 hours to "get to the new site". If you continue to try to access the site, while records are being updated, your DNS cache may not be updated with the new information as soon as it can be. Keep in mind that this portion will not have started until the website becomes inaccessible to you, so you can continue to use all of the website's features.

    How will I know if I am at the new website location?

    You will know you are at the new website location by two ways. The first way you will know is that you will be unable to access the old website to prevent any potential data-loss during the transition. So until you can actually see the new website, you will know you are not on it. Also, we will be posting a notice on the website once we are on our new and improved service to indicate to everyone that we are on better hardware.

    You are here!

    Why is this being done?

    This is being done to meet existing demand and future expectations of website traffic. We are currently at a point where we are confident we are using 100% of our resources to make this website available to the public. Our new hardware is a multitude of times faster than the existing hardware we are using now. We are also paying a 300% premium on hardware at our existing provider, which services major Fortune 500 companies, but does not necessarily serve the interests of smaller organizations.

    Why will the change over take so long?

    The change over must take place in this manner because the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the website is changing to a new location. It must also be done right, and with precision the first time. With the DNS changes, this means that top-level domain servers must pass down the new information for windows7forums.com to every DNS server on the Internet that serves public requests. This is a common problem when a website changes ISPs. Sometimes, larger companies are able to bend the rules by purchasing an IP block that they can take around with them wherever they go. We will be leasing an IP block from our new service provider, but we will not be able to buy the old IP block and reassign it to our new provider. Consider the IP address to be the "phone number" that helps you find windows7forums.com. There is not doomsday, however. Some people may be able to detect the change within 45 minutes to an hour if they are not actively using the website at the time of the change. However, it will take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for the change to completely propagate across the Internet.

    What influenced the decision making in making this change?


    • State of the Art Equipment: The new service we will be using will be slightly more expensive than the old, but the technology is now state of the art. This will translate into an immediate, noticeable improvement.
    • No Contracts: Our new host has a vested interest in providing its customers with the latest technology, security, and hardware to retain their membership since they do not require yearly contracts.
    • Warp Speed: The technology that will be used at our new service provider is, at least, at a conservative estimate, four to five times faster than our existing equipment.
    • Resources: Resource Usage has been a problem that will no longer exist on the new service.
    • Going Back to Our Roots: When we first started hosting forums years ago, we used a start-up business. While we eventually outgrew this company due to the number of visitors, our relationship with them was always a mutually beneficial one, and not a relationship that was one sided. Our new service provider is a start-up business, but it hosts many prolific websites.
    • No 300% Markup on Hardware! This was highly influential in the decision making process, because since January of 2010, our existing service provider, Rackspace has been trying to sell us a $1200/mo. server that is worth about half the price on the open market.
    • Non-volatile, High Performance Disk Space: Our new service provider is one of few we have seen in the field that offers solid state hard drive technology as a solution to SAS and/or 15K speed Raptor hard drives. Solid state hard drives are non-volatile with higher reliability, longer life expectancy, and no moving parts.
    • Duel Quad Core Intel Processors: We will incorporate into our service duel processors, each one of which exceeds benchmarking of the Intel Core i7 950. By combining two of these server processors, each released in January of 2010 by Intel, we are able to ensure that processing capability will be future proof for our service well into the future. With HyperThreading, this will equate to 16 virtual cores and 8 real cores spread between two processors.
    • Memory: With 24GB DDR3 1066 memory, we are quadrupling our memory capacity for Windows 7 Forums. We are also bringing in 1Gbit wide area network connectivity on multiple Tier 1 networks, including Level 3. On a fundamental basis, our new service provider is using state-of-the-art technology, which we will utilize to improve your overall experience on the website at nearly the same cost. High quality is the goal.
    • 100% Service Guarantee: We have also received a 100% up-time guarantee and hardware assurance from our new provider.
    What else has this change involved? Will I lose any of my information? Is my information still secure?

    Your information is still secure, and it may be even more secure at our new datacenter. This datacenter is being housed at a central hub in Chicago, Illinois as opposed to the Washington, DC metro area. You will not lose any information in the process. This change involves extensive hardware testing, and a full migration that is being performed by professional technicians, as well as myself, to ensure that this migration is performed properly. But most importantly, our ability to manage, control, and harness the power of our service has been restored back to a level we have been looking for since January of 2010. Not only that, but we believe we will have a better working relationship with the computer support technicians at our new service provider than at our previous one. This is because we are dealing with a more mid-range host that has more acceptable pricing, and less marketing gurus trying to sell us a new component every two weeks. Often times we found ourselves plagued with under-the-hood hardware problems that were never solved and oft times went ignored. A marketing guru would then come in and suggest that it is time to buy another server, or perhaps two! We believe that our new service is so strong that it far exceeds the requirements currently needed by our website.

    It is my opinion that our old web host targets Fortune 500 companies with annual contracts and offers sub-par hardware at high cost. This was not a practical solution for us to use, and the problem we had with Rackspace became pronounced over the last several weeks, when they recompiled a service but failed to even turn it back on. Prior to that, they overloaded a section of our filesystem with debugging files and crashed the entire website. Over the last several weeks, we are somewhat certain that they may have turned off the service monitoring (where they make sure everything is up and running) without notifying us. If we had the ability to spend tens of thousands of dollars on many overpriced servers, this provider would be the easy way out, but somehow it seems clear the marketing department might suggest just another one for the low cost of $1,200 and a $20 discount.. It is safe to say that our relationship with the existing company has created a great annoyance for pretty much anyone who has had to hear about it, as well as a large number of visitors who have potentially lost access to the website or experienced slow load times due to general mismanagement. And I state this solely as an opinion and not a fact. I am sure many other websites are quite happy with this host, but after a year worth of problems, it is time to move on. The web server has been experiencing segmentation faults, and a processor was swapped out. When these segmentation faults, or crashes continued, no one bothered to look into them or mention them. It was then suggested that it was OK for us to lose visitors, since it is such a small number of them! It is safe to say we are done with Rackspace and will terminate our contact with them that ends in January.

    What is the name of your new service provider?

    The new service provider is WiredTree Managed Hosting.
     

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