Sunday, March 13, 2005

Carpe Bonum site update

Loyal Carpe Bonum readers:

I wanted to let you all know there will be significant changes to the Carpe Bonum blog in the next couple of days. I am moving the blog to a Movable Type engine hosted in my house.

Here are the implications:
  • Readers who arrive via HCBA or Homespun blogrolls: No change. I will get those links updated when the new site goes live.

  • Readers who arrive via the Feedburner feed: No change. The same feed URL will point to the new site with no changes required on your part.

  • Readers who arrive via the Blogger atom.xml feed will need to update the feed address to the Feedburner feed. I'll post the Feedburner link when I announce the cutover. It is also set up to be autodiscovered.

  • Readers who arrive via their own bookmarks, past links from other blogs, or individual blogrolls on other blogs will need to update their links. I will make every effort to individually contact bloggers who have blogrolled Carpe Bonum and let them know about the change. I will also place a link to the new site prominently on the Blogger site.

  • Archives: The Blogger site will remain up indefinitely, so all the old links will still point to the original content. I am also planning to import all the Blogger entries into the MT site. So all the old content will be searchable from the new main page. (This is the major task remaining before the cutover.)

  • Blogger site during the transition: The process to export the Blogger entries requires a radically different main template. Readers may see this template for a time while I am exporting. I will restore the original template when I am done.

  • Statistics: I have a server side statistics engine on the new site (AWStats). But the new site will also continue to hit SiteMeter and StatCounter like the Blogger site does.

  • New site performance: Here's the rub. The new site is hosted on an ancient 400 MHz AMD K2 with 192 MB RAM and a 30 GB disk running Linux Fedora Core 3 behind a residential cable modem. There are two issues: the response time of the server itself and the upload bandwidth through the cable modem. On the server side, I am finding the response time to be pretty good (~1 sec page loads over the LAN with the client cache cleared) as long as nothing else is going on in the server. On the bandwidth side, I can upload about 400 kbits/sec. The main page right now is about 20k bytes plus another 30k bytes in locally hosted images, which will take about one second to upload through the cable modem. So I think the system is pretty well balanced. That is, increasing either performance factor would not increase overall performance because the system would then be limited by the other. So we're going to go with it like that and see how it works. As long as I am averaging less than 10 pageloads per minute, I think it will be no problem. That was about the load during the busiest hours on Instalanche day. Even if that load is exceeded by a factor of ten, I think the only consequence would be increased response times.

  • Stability: It's only been about a week since I put the Linux box, so the changes have been coming fast and furious. The changes have been mainly lots of software installs, Apache reconfigurations and restarts, and self-attacks using the Nessus security suite. But at this point it has been four days since the last restart, and I don't anticipate any major system software changes.

  • Reliability: Three major issues here: First the hardware itself. The server is an ancient box which could die at any minute. Next is the fact that the power and reset buttons are within reach of my two year old. No further explanation is necessary, I trust. Finally, Roadrunner does go down from time to time. The last outage was about nine minutes, and the outages come every few months. If we figure 36 minutes of downtime per year due to Roadrunner dropping out and, say, two one-hour outages due to the box being reset, that's 156 outage minutes per year. Divided by 525,960 minutes per year, that gives us an availability rate in the neighborhood of 99.97%. Telecom providers demand five nines availability. I think I can live with three to four nines.

  • Security: Well, there are only a few open ports through the firewall to the Linux box, and I attack myself with Nessus. So hopefully I'll avoid serious problems. I already am seeing attempts to use my sendmail as a relay (those spamming bastards).

  • Contingencies: If something ugly happens like the box melting down, I can always point the site URL and the Feedburner feed back to Blogger and use it as a backup. If something great happens, like I start to get more than 10 pageloads per minute on a regular basis, I'll export MT database to external hosting service.
So, uh, that's what I've been spending my excess brainpower on. Hope it doesn't blow up in my face!