[aprssig] Looking for colocation site. Again.

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Wed Jan 15 18:40:17 EST 2014

On Jan 15, 2014, at 4:34 PM, SARTrack Admin <info at sartrack.co.nz> wrote:

> I recommend that you use a VPS (Virtual Private Server) instead.
> For example, I run two private APRS Servers, one in New Zealand and one in the Netherlands.
> The Netherlands server only costs me about 10 Euros per month, including the domain (sartrack.nl) and with 100GB international traffic, and directly on a major international Internet hub.
> The server can be a Linux or Windows server, just whatever you want.
> Its a great system.

Thanks, but you do not have an understanding of findU. I serve 1.5 million dynamic pages a day, while parsing the APRS IS stream into a number of different tables. This takes an enormous amount of disk IO. Just the database writes of the parser average more than 350 per second. But that is nothing compared to more than 6,000 reads per second on the database generated by the cgis. By using 32 GB of memory most are served from RAM, only an average of about 200 reads actually hit the disk per second. And this is just the database, there is also all the cgi files, radar and map io. And logs. Lots of logs. It takes a six drive (600GB 15k enterprise SAS) RAID 10 array to keep up. And it only keeps up because there is a huge amount of caching everywhere - in the drives, in the hardware RAID controller, in mysql, and in Linux. (I’m dealing with all of that now as I try to restore this tired server to something that can handle the load more comfortably than it had been before being replaced - it felt wheezy!) This isn’t something that can be run on your garden variety virtual machine! www2.findu.com right now is running on a very different kind of virtual server, one with fiber channel access to a fast RAID array, and yet every week or two one or more tables get corrupted due to the load other servers place on the hardware. The only reliable answer for something like findU is a dedicated high end server.

I’ve often said writing the software for findU was easy, the hard part - and almost all the effort now - is running high volume high reliability servers. 

And 100GB a month might sound like a lot, but last month findU used 2400 GB - that allocation would be gone in little more than a day!

I actually have a virtual server for my blog and other static sites. I keep as much of that stuff off findU as I can to lighten its load. Maybe your virtual server is different than Go Daddy, but GD’s “unlimited” account limits databases to 1 GB each (findU is one database with 45 tables and 452 GB). I pay about $8 a month, but GoDaddy does that by putting hundreds of sites on a single server, counting on them being low volume. Anyone that uses more than a tiny fraction of the shared resources will quickly get noticed and told that unlimited really isn’t unlimited! That already happened to me when I used 1TB of disk space moving several old static sites with huge numbers of photos over to the GD server. Even though I had an “unlimited” account, which could handle an “unlimited” number of domains and had “unlimited” disk space I was using an excessive amount of their resources and I had to desist or get thrown off. Read the fine print, they can do that, at least with Go Daddy.

So lots of reasons that just isn’t an option. But there is definitely a part of me that misses the days when findU was run on a cheap Dell desktop tower sitting at the foot of my bed on a home DSL line. Big boy’s toys are expensive and time-consuming!

Steve K4HG

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