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Server Move Complete

As you probably are aware of by now, the site has been offline for about a week. I’ll explain what has been happening.

Ten years ago, I needed a server to host a Space Station 13 testing server on (as well as my blog), and my poor Linode VPS could not hack it. I had gone back and forth with their support staff, shut down all unnecessary services, and made tweaks to SS13 to try and bring the load down. You can only do so much for a game built around a hyper-realistic atmospheric simulation, though. It was time to move to something more powerful.

After some deliberation and shopping, I settled on a bare-metal dedicated server from Limestone Networks in Dallas, Texas. (This was back when “bare metal” actually meant you had IPMI access to a machine in a rack, not some weird cloud thing.) They had a good box for the price, and SS13 ran amazingly well on it, although the game could only run on one core due to its 32-bit nature and ancient architecture. I leased the server for $155/mo (plus over-bandwidth fees that I incurred occasionally), and everything was good.

Shortly thereafter, I started my career in game development and needed a place to store private repositories. (NOTE: None of these projects are company secrets, just personal projects like game prototypes.) I installed GitLab on the server, and loads began to increase exponentially. GitLab is designed to run on a cluster of machines – or at least one very beefy machine – and since I use lighttpd instead of apache or nginx, I had to use a custom build and do all sorts of modifications to make it work with other software. GitLab didn’t like that, but I was able to keep it usable.

Time Marches On

After many faithful years of service, it became sorely evident in 2022 that I needed to start looking at new equipment. I had spent quite a bit of money upgrading the server to 32GB of system RAM, fixing dying hard drives, etc. Even worse, the server was so old by this point that the Supermicro IPMI interface, which required a Java applet, no longer worked on modern browsers and even the desktop version was so antiquated that it refused to run on Windows 10. Every time I needed direct, non-SSH console access, I had to ask Limestone support to perform the task for me.

It was time, but life would intervene. I was hired at Alpha Blend Interactive UG to work on ChilloutVR, and work consumed my time. Just when I thought work would let up and I could quickly get the new server ordered, I became Head of Development and had no time again.

However, last week some time appeared in my schedule.

Out With The Old

I found a good, budget-friendly server on Limestone’s server listing and after some back and forth (I apparently had some unpaid invoices from 2016, which I paid when made aware), the new server was provisioned by Limestone Network’s staff on a Sunday afternoon. I immediately pulled multiple .tar.gz backups of everything. The new server came up that night.

The new machine’s specs:

  • Intel Xeon E5-2650 v4 (24 cores) @ 2.9 GHz
  • 64GB RAM
  • 2x 10TB HDDs
  • 4 IPs (down from 8 but I rarely used the others)

This entire week was spent uploading enormous tarballs and configuring DNS. Most of the configuration from the old server worked out of the box, but due to poor upload speeds from Comcast (705kbps), I’ve been stuck at an agonizingly slow pace restoring services.

All the major services should be back online now. I’ll be going through and double-checking things.

Thanks for your patience.