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2013-02-10 09:06:18 -0500

By the beginning of January 2013, the OTW had acquired 5 new physical servers and Systems had begun the work of restructuring our server setup to use the new machines. Our aim was to use our existing hardware as effectively as possible, and to set things up so we can work more efficiently and add new hardware more easily in the future.

Short term work

Our current focus is on transitioning to the new machines. So far, we have completed the work to automate the installation of our database servers. After some testing, we moved the Archive database onto the new machines. The Archive’s unicorns (which serve up all the data) are now all running on the new machines, which means that the site is under much less pressure.

The next step is to move other services, including Squid (which takes care of some of our caching) and resque (which takes care of delayed jobs like sending out mail).

We plan to transition Fanlore, Transformative Works and Cultures (the OTW journal) and Symposium (TWC’s blog) on to their new physical server when the groups who use the service have completed their testing - this work will be done shortly.

Once all this work has been done and the old systems are no longer in production, we can rearrange the hardware to better support our requirements. The three machines OTW 3,4 and 5 are all the same chassis with different components. They are currently configured as follows:

OTW3: cpu 2*4 core @ 2.4GHz, 48GB of RAM, 4*SAS (147GB)
OTW4: cpu 2*4 core @ 2.4GHz, 48GB of RAM, 4*SAS (147GB)
OTW5: cpu 2*6 core @ 2.67GHz, 96GB of RAM, 2*SSD Intel X25 ( 80GB ) and 2*Intel 710 ( 200GB)

OTW5 was originally our database server, which is why we needed extra RAM. However, as it is now a secondary server (we have a shiny new database server) it will not be used efficiently. So, we’ll move the RAM from OTW5 to OTW3, along with the Intel 710 drives. OTW3 will become the new database slave. The new setup will be as follows):

ao3-db02 (was OTW3): cpu 2*4 core @ 2.4GHz, 96GB of RAM, 2*SAS (147GB) and 2*Intel 710 ( 200GB)
ao3-front01 (was OTW4): cpu 2*4 core @ 2.4GHz, 48GB of RAM, 2*SAS (147GB) and 2*SSD Intel X25 ( 80GB )
ao3-app03 (was OTW5): cpu 2*6 core @ 2.67GHz, 48GB of RAM, 4*SAS (147GB)

Once this is done, installing the new operating system and introducing them to the Archive should be relatively pain free. This will give us 8 machines running the Archive of Our Own, with their roles distributed in a much more efficient pattern.

Looking ahead

Systems have worked hard over the past year to improve the OTW’s hardware and use our resources as efficiently as possible. We’ll continue to work on maintenance; for example, we expect to upgrade the version of Debian on all our servers within the year (the new version will be released shortly). Upgrading our software means we have access to the latest security patches and our sites are as stable and secure as possible.

We’re also thinking past 2013. All our projects are growing, and with it will come increased demands on our infrastructure. If the Archive of Our Own continues to grow at its present rate, we’ll need to add more servers within a year. We also plan to add multimedia hosting in the future, which will demand even more server space and support. The Systems team is planning for this and thinking about the best ways to support expansion going forward. If you enjoy using the OTW’s projects, you can help support our expansion too by donating and reminding others that the OTW depends on your support!