Author Topic: Server Hosting 2017  (Read 12643 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Server Hosting 2017
« on: April 03, 2017, 18:40:19 »
Folks,

Our current server hosting arrangement runs out before the end of the month, so I have been looking at some options. My notes are a bit of a mess at this point but I wanted to start getting info out there and get a discussion started. This is an opportunity to review our hosting envirnment and make changes if appropriate. I will be going into further detail in the coming days, however my initial investigation has uncovered 4 major options:
  • SALY (Same As Last Year)
  • Move to Canada
  • Lightsail
  • VPC and upgrade
There are other small variants within these which I will explore as the list narrows. I will edit this post with details and updates on each option as they evolve.



Option 1: SALY (Same As Last Year)

Situation: No Change. Same servers, same environment as we are currently using. The "all in" cost including server hosting, traffic, etc. is about $300 / month for hosting. Some details:

Front-End Server
  • EC2: m3.large
  • 7.5 GB RAM
  • 2 CPUs, 2.5 GHz
  • 160Gb disk based storage
  • 64-bit architecture
  • Network: Moderate / 500 Mbps
  • Upfront price: $421 / year
  • Hourly: $0.035
  • EXPIRES: 29 Apr 2017
Database (not up for renewal yet)
  • db.m3.large
  • CPUs: 2
  • RAM: 7.5
  • Net: Moderate
  • Reserved instance, high utilization
  • Database Storage: 20Gb
  • Upfront cost: $673 / year
  • Hourly: $0.048
  • EXPIRES: 12 June 2018
Pros
  • We know what works, minimal effort.
Cons
  • Stuff that's broken stays broken.



Option 2: Move to Canada

So yeah, we are currently hosted in the USA. Amazon recently opened a datacenter in Canada, but it is about 10% more for what is otherwise the exact same service.

Pros
  • Privacy laws, and stuff
Cons
  • They only offer m4.large in this datacenter, bigger than we currently have
  • Overall cost is +10% over US hosted servers
  • Migration to new datacenter required



Option 3: Lightsail

Lightail is a cheaper/low overhead offering: https://lightsail.aws.amazon.com/

Pros
  • Lower cost
Cons
  • May not handle current load
  • Inability to grow
  • Server rebuild required



Option 4: VPC and upgrade

Make use of the integrated VPC to re-architect a more efficient (and therefore cheaper) solution.

Pros
  • Reduced cost for equal resources
  • Increased networking functionality (mostly stuff we do not need at this point)
Cons
  • Increased platform complexity
  • Server rebuild required
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 13:03:34 by Mike Bobbitt »

Offline Sandyson

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • 2,965
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 91
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 18:08:35 »
Is the site in the black or the red?  i.e. are we the membership paying our way or does the financial situation demand a change?
The site works fine for me.  It is sometimes a little slow but this is not an air defence situation and therefore most acceptable to this user.  What are the needed or desired technical changes?

Offline GAP

  • Semper Fi
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 205,110
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,881
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 19:27:52 »
If it's not broke, don't fix it.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 13:28:33 »
Folks, after quite a bit of review, I have decided that Option #4 is probably the best choice. It is a fair bit more effort for slightly more performance/less cost, but it moves us in the right direction. It will certainly introduce a bit more pain in the short term while all the kinks are worked out, however long-term it will provide the most efficient and cost effective option.

Starting next weekend, I will begin building the replacement server alongside this one. I expect it will take a week to get ready and is planned to come online around the first of May.

We currently have 60 active subscribers (thanks!) for $1,800 per year in subscription funds. The server hosting cost is about $300 / month, so we are half way there already.

Offline recceguy

    A Usual Suspect.

  • At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child – miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats. -P.J. O’Rouke-
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 240,577
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 17,501
  • doddering docent to the museum of misanthropy
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2017, 14:08:55 »
$$ Inbound.
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”

John G. Diefenbaker

Offline Kat Stevens

    beth am dyrnu braf yn y gwddf?

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 194,590
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,371
  • that's how we roll in redneck land
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2017, 14:19:25 »
Ditto
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 72,270
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,452
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2017, 14:38:02 »
Funds fwd.
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 18:00:54 »
Thanks all, the support helps out quite a bit!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 18:12:37 by Mike Bobbitt »

Offline Tcm621

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • 4,840
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 573
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 19:41:42 »
Funds down range

Sent from my SM-G900W8 using Tapatalk


Offline the 48th regulator

    A mans gotta eat.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 47,360
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,970
  • Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.
    • Green Veterans Canada
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 21:30:43 »
Booom,


Funds sent



Aragh!!!!!!   :camo:

dileas

tess
I know that I’m not perfect and that I don’t claim to be, so before you point your fingers make sure your hands are clean.

Offline Scott

    - apparently an antagonist.

  • Likes fire and loud noises.
  • Chief of Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 180,505
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,463
  • El Scorcho Diablo
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2017, 21:34:02 »
Pony up, folks. Help keep this place going!
Be nice for no reason.

Online kev994

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Member
  • *
  • 2,605
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 129
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 13:21:47 »
Subscribed! Thanks for your efforts, the OUTCAN thread alone has saved me well over $30 a year in frustration.

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 17:41:27 »
Update: Work on the new server has begun in parallel. On track to have a cut-over later this week or early next.

Offline recceguy

    A Usual Suspect.

  • At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child – miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats. -P.J. O’Rouke-
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 240,577
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 17,501
  • doddering docent to the museum of misanthropy
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2017, 18:32:42 »
Did you get all the cash required, without spending your own cash?
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”

John G. Diefenbaker

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2017, 18:45:57 »
Did you get all the cash required, without spending your own cash?

We got pretty close. I haven't had to pull the trigger on the "big" purchase of the reserved instance yet. Although I'm kinda doubling costs by running two server infrastructures while things are cut over, I hope this period will be short. Having said that, I just discovered that I may have to scrap and rebuild the new server ("right" this time). I am learning lots at least. :)

Offline SeaKingTacco

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 107,605
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,417
  • Door Gunnery- The Sport of Kings!
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2017, 21:42:59 »
Come on folks! Pony up- Mike should not have to dip into his own pocket.

While I prefer not to subscribe (for my own reasons) to do write a cheque periodically that (at least) equals the cost of an annual subscription.

 Maybe you don't have the cost of a full subscription right now- $5. $10. It all helps!

Offline MOOXE

  • Member
  • ****
  • 845
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 141
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2017, 22:20:32 »
I have been in this same situation, but the opposite way. My site was slowly losing members and I would downgrade as time went on. Had to pay for two servers during the transition. I used unmanaged servers which are much cheaper. At my peak I was paying $60 per month back in the early 2000's for a Celeron config with a few hundred GB hard drive. Currently I am paying for an unmanaged Core 2 Duo E7400 2.80Ghz, 4 GB RAM, 500GB HD, 100mbit unmetered connection for USD $10 per month. Unmanaged meaning, if anything goes wrong, I have to fix it.

What I did to offset the cost was add Google Adsense to the site in April 2006. I am sure Mike is no stranger to it and without even looking I bet its been debated here. Ads suck, but tech has advanced so far that you are tracked more ways than one, everywhere. We're all used to ads, and I bet some of you reading already have ABP installed. Anyways, I implemented Adsense in a way that was unobtrusive yet present in areas you had to scroll through. Tech savvy users could block it, but the vast majority of visitors seen it. To date (25 Apr 17), Adsense has generated $4818.15.

Since I started using Google Analytics in 2008, my site has had 700,000 unique visitors. My sites daily activity between 2008-2013 was between 500-1000 and from 2013 onwards its been 200-350.

I know Army.ca is probably 10x as busy if not more. With Adsense installed, cash would just deposit itself into a bank account. I would estimate the bill would be half way payed for and would not impact user experience.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 22:48:30 by MOOXE »

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2017, 06:08:13 »
Thanks MOOXE, that's good insight.

I'm actually already using Google's DFP (AdSense), which I guess underscores the effectiveness of ad blockers. :) For those who are willing, I've attached a screenshot of how to disable your ad blocker, just for Army.ca.

Note: Subscribers never see ads anyway.

I did take this opportunity to review the ad settings, and I believe I have made some changes to help increase ad effectiveness and revenue. (There will not be an increase in ads, just a change in priority to in-house ads.) I'm also going to look at my AdSense settings, as I'm sure some simple changes there could help.


Cheers
Mike

Offline MOOXE

  • Member
  • ****
  • 845
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 141
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2017, 07:18:44 »
Mike I disabled ABP prior to posting that to check if you had any ads. I still didn't see any ads. Where are they showing up?

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2017, 07:59:21 »
MOOXE, the ads are top and bottom of just about every page. See just above the footer (starting with Army.ca Conduct Guidelines) for example.

Also a quick progress report: Firewall is in place and working on the new server. I didn't lock myself out, always a bonus. Patch to support new server confiuraton has been installed "here" on the live server, so the forums will automatically work on the new server.

Next up is to build a database server in the new network infrastructure and migrate to it. Could be some downtime involved in that but I will keep it to a minimum.

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2017, 13:08:51 »
Thanks for your patience all, the bulk of the server migration is now complete. I did not intend to have it done until next week, but today I realized the interim architecture I had was generating much higher traffic costs due to some routing that needed to be in place between the old and new systems. Short version: waiting was going to cost me, probably a lot.

Please let me know if you discover any problems. It was a significant change, so we are likely to have some rough spots. However as an upside, the new infrastructure is [slightly] more efficient, secure, and cost effective.

Online PPCLI Guy

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 128,250
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,840
  • It's all good
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2017, 13:16:27 »
Donation sent - thanks for everything you do Mike.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

Offline MCG

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 189,720
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,462
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2017, 15:42:31 »
Mike,
I found a part of the site that is still down: http://army.ca/wiki/

Offline Mike Bobbitt

  • Army.ca Owner
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 102,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,008
    • Army.ca
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2017, 16:00:50 »
Mike,
I found a part of the site that is still down: http://army.ca/wiki/

Thanks. Put in a quick fix, but logins to the Wiki are not (yet) working.

Offline MCG

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 189,720
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,462
Re: Server Hosting 2017
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2017, 22:58:13 »
Thanks. Put in a quick fix, but logins to the Wiki are not (yet) working.
And it seems down again.