It case you missed yesterday’s tweets, the
jeffdarlington.com server has been successfully upgraded both to Fedora 11 and WordPress 2.8. The GPF server is next, although I haven’t started that effort and it’s bound to take longer. I’ll make a bigger deal about the downtime for GPF when that upgrade draws closer.
Let me know if you encounter any problems with the new site.
Just a quick heads-up to anyone who cares, but I’m in the process of upgrading the blog server’s operating system from the creaking and decrepit Fedora 6 to the shiny new Fedora 11. I’m doing most of this work on a totally different virtual server, which I’ll then backup and overwrite this virtual server with the new image once its ready to go live. In theory, there should be only a minimum of downtime when the actual overwrite occurs. However, I’ll probably end up closing comments and such temporarily right before the flash to make sure the database stays in sync. I don’t have a time frame for when the actual flash will occur, but it should be in the next few days.
As an even more advanced warning, GPF will be getting the same upgrade (only from Fedora 8 ) once the blog server is stable. The blog comes first because (1) it’s running on the older OS and thus theoretically more vulnerable due to its venerable age and (2) it will serve as a test bed to make sure the upgrade process moves relatively smoothly. I tend to be much riskier with the blog server because it’s less important to my livelihood, so it gets to be the guinea pig for these sorts of experiments.
Here’s a clarification of my recent Tweet about Diana. Sometime over the weekend Diana, our primary Linux box that serves as the backbone of our home network (DNS, file server, internal Web server, SSH gateway, SVN repository server, etc.), gave up the ghost. I only discovered this yesterday evening, so I haven’t had much time to diagnose the problem. It’s almost certainly a hardware issue. I’m thinking it’s the power supply or the motherboard, as when I try to power her up, nothing happens. The power light comes on, I can watch the CPU fan twitch like it wants to start spinning, but otherwise nothing else visible occurs. No output makes its way to the monitor so there are no error messages to follow.
At this point, I’m not sure of the status of the hard drives. My hope is that they’re fine; the obvious problem appears to be occurring before they even start to spin, as if they’re not getting any power (and that’s why I suspect it’s a power supply issue). The good news is that Demeter, her predecessor, has been sitting idle and collecting dust and has since been rapidly pressed back into service. I should be able to slip Diana’s disks into Demeter, check their integrity, and hopefully recover the data. That’s the core thing right now, getting the data off; hardware is replaceable, data is not. The only hitch is that Demeter is old enough that I’m not sure her BIOS will read Diana’s larger disks. Demeter’s current HD is already larger than her BIOS supports, though, and Linux seems to work fine in this situation, so I’m hoping that won’t be a problem. A worst-case scenario might be to throw a live Linux distro into Athena, our current “alpha” Windows XP desktop, and try to grab the data that way. (Diana’s disks are in ext3, which obviously Windows can’t read.) Both Demeter and Diana have EIDE drives while Athena uses SATA, but I’m almost certain Athena also has legacy EIDE on the motherboard somewhere; if not, I’m hosed there.
Why might this be a concern to you? Well, for one thing, Diana was one of several redundant backup locations for storing my my high-resolution original strips. Fortunately, everything from Year Nine and back has already been backed up to multiple DVDs stored in multiple physical locations, while Year Ten’s files are stored across three redundant drives (two in separate physical machines and one external USB drive). More importantly, Diana was my SVN repository server, housing all the source code for the GPF site. I have working copies of that repository in multiple locations so I’m not hurting there, but with the repository down I’m stuck manually keeping those working copies in sync. The biggest problem that may affect you guys is the humongous time sink this will be for me to repair/replace Diana and get all our internal mechanisms working again. With my day job, two hours of commute, and toddler patrol vying for my time, my comic production schedule is severely squeezed as it is. This is probably going to impact that buffer I was forced to take a hiatus in December to reclaim as I wasn’t able to increase my production, just maintain the status quo.
For those of you who might care, I’ll post updates here when I can. More frequent cries of frustration will likely come through the Twitter feed. If the comic will be severely impacted, you’ll get something in the GPF News. So keep watching those RSS feeds.
Not sure if anyone noticed, but both the blog and the new GPF beta test site were down last night. Our hosting service, Slicehost, informed us that a breaker blew in their data center and they were forced to bring a number of machines down to protect them. In addition, the blog server (which also hosts a number other private sites I run) stopped responding, so they had to reboot it again.
Unfortunately, while Slicehost was very informative and sent me several e-mails to keep me apprised of the situation, the sites continued to be down until early this morning. That’s when I discovered that for some bizarre reason the MySQL and Apache services were not configured to start at boot time. This is baffling, in my opinion, as I thought this was automatic with Fedora. You install the application package and, if it’s a service like this, it also installs the appropriate links in the init directories to make sure the services start on boot. Not so, apparently. I’m not sure if this is Fedora’s fault, Slicehost’s, or mine, to be honest, but it should be fixed now.
There’s one part of me thinks that this outage is an ominous sign on the eve of my leaving Keenspot. Then again, it also helped me catch a critical flaw that would have been extremely annoying if it happened a week later, after the move when thousands of readers would be hitting the new site. So I don’t know whether to be paranoid or relieved. (O_O)