New Hardware for PugsNet! Woo-Hoo!

It's been nearly two years since my last blog entry.


It honestly doesn't feel that long, but system generated date/time stamps don't lie... Have I run out of stuff to say? Has my life been so boring that there's nothing of note to blog about? Have my fingers all been broken and I wasn't able to figure out the voice-recognition software?

No... Sadly it's been simple frustration with the performance of PugsNet. PugsNet has been running for six or so years, non-stop, on an old Pentium II, 233MHz machine with 256MB of RAM. This same machine has been running the PugsNet Exchange server and the Active Directory domain controller.

Basically, a decades old machine has been running Windows Server 2003 as the domain controller, Exchange, as well as Drupal (which is designed for the Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP environment, NOT Windows IIS!!) with the barest minimum or RAM. I have NO idea how I shoehorned Drupal into IIS, but it's worked for this long.

That this box is still up and has only been down during power-outages is nothing short of a miracle! The performance, however, has degraded to the point that even logging in to blog has become painful... This fact, combined with how busy life has been has led to my absence from the blogosphere.

Fear that the miracle that has kept this box running for so many years will end combined with a desire to see the performance be enhanced to make the site usable again led me to purchase a new box to migrate the PugsNet server to... a month ago...

I spent a weekend learning an open-source imaging tool, making an image of the server, loading the image on the new hardware, and... watching the box boot, re-boot, re-boot, again and again and again! My feeble attempts at trouble-shooting came to naught. My pleas for help across the Interwebs via Twitter and Facebook came to naught. I hooked up the old server and graciously, it decided to run for just a little bit longer and came back up.

The general consensus of those smarter than me was that the new machine be brought up as a Virtual Host and the old machine be converted from physical to virtual. To that idea I responded, "HUH?!". Please keep in mind that I've been a project manager for a decade or more and even when I was on the technical side of IT before then, I wasn't all that technical to begin with.

Thankfully, the old server has held up for the intervening month AND Adam Granatella sacrificed his Saturday afternoon this past weekend to help with the physical to virtual conversion and migration to the new VM Host hardware. By "help", I mean that he did the work and I provided supervisory input...

After a small hiccup on Sunday (I couldn't figure out why the new virtual server kept "crashing" until I realized that when the virtual host goes to sleep, the virtual server will not be available... DUH!!), PugsNet has been humming away on the new hardware and the performance increase has been STAGGERING!!

With this performance increase, PugsNet is now usable again and one of the two impediments to my blogging has been lifted. My goal is to be more active from here forward and especially start posting useful photography related entries. I'm several major releases behind in my version of Drupal so I may try updating that as well. Basically, PugsNet will be active once more!

Adam, thank you! You're an effing rock star!!