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myff admin

Slower forums part 1

A title that plays on our very successful forum optimisations over the summer of last year, optimisations that were followed by adding a lot more server power to the mix, to the point that I think most people agree that (when advertising is not slowing things) out forums are just about the fastest you will find anywhere

So why the "slower forums" title?

Essentially as whilst speed is obviously important, it is not the only word in the dictionary.

1) Reliability
2) Redundancy
3) Ease of maintenance
4) Cost
5) Scalability
6) Flexibility

Are all good words as well and may come with a speed penalty.

In particular I'm looking at our storage, currently the servers have their own RAID 10 or RAID 5 arrays. These give screamingly fast file performance, but don't tick many of the other boxes  

Adding NAS storage to our servers would tick the other boxes, but what would happen to speed? I think it is 100% certain it would slow things a bit, but I think anyone reasonable would have to agree that at current forums speeds we can afford to lose a notch or three.

I'm therefore currently contemplating adding something like a 1.5tb NAS system, the cost will be over 2000 and add a good 100 a month to running costs, but as I see it, if it flops on the forums front it could still basically replace the current backup and gallery server and so get us back to the same running costs, and we would then be able to let people upload far more and also run even more comprehensive backups.
myff admin

This is turning into a but of a "no brainer".

Would give us 2tb or 3tb depending on set up. It is  1,358.29 which whilst hardly chump change, is not bad at all.

The absolute baseline cost of colocating this server would be less than we spend on the current secondary backup server, and it would have a whole lot more capacity.
The only drawback to a swap out there, is that the current secondary backup server is fully offsite. But seriously when did anyone last hear of a datacenter disaster? These are secure compounds designed and built with protection in mind.

To save further on cost we could keep the secondary backup server and retire the swan server, that would actually payback the cost within the expect life of the system.

So as such this device could be justified even if we were looking pessimistically at things rather than taking the optimistic view, and we are taking the optimistic view I have just looked at the quarterly stats and we have more active forums that ever we have had before
myff admin

Again just musing here, and I'd like to emphasise that we have not spent 4+ years and the rather large sums on hardware creating very fast forums, just to decide to slow them down for the sake of it, at the very point where we have oodles of spare capacity    

If we were to use NAS storage directly for forums, then the speed impact would hit large forums harder, their database indexes etc are larger and would take longer to be accessed if they were on NAS rather than the very fast RAID arrays they are on now.

That opens up the nasty little prospect of us running a two tier service, those forums on NAS and those on direct RAID storage. If we ever end there I'd reassure people that it would never be a "paid" thing, it would be simply based on post count. I really hate two tier services. Forum Index -> Forum Blogs
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