Hardware

Site moved to new mini at Macminicolo

This weekend I’m moving all my sites and email to a newer mini again at macminicolo, as they rock (for real). My older production mini was a core duo Intel one which was still running Leopard (could not find the courage to upgrade with no backup machine available). Getting a newer machine (a 2 year old Core 2 Duo) also meant I could upgrade to Lion. I’ve installed the new machine from scratch and I’m currently moving site for site and email per domain to make sure that everything goes seamless for the end users.

If you are reading this you are looking at the new mini running Lion!

Why not buy the latest hardware you might ask, because it cost a lot more then a second hand and I really don’t need the power of it. All the sites and mail running on my mini are not giving it a real hard time. If I got slasdotted/fireballed I’ve got WordPress tuned with caching and could handle some load. The highest I got was 10.000 page views in a day, no sweat…

Backup and recover strategies

I got an email from one of the users of DIYMacServer who encountered a hard drive failure on his web and mail server. He asked me about the best path to resolve this and have the least impact on his current users. This got me thinking, since I moved to macminicolo.net I’ve been so lucky I never had any serious problem and got lazy, so I need to look again at my own situation.

Currently I’ve got rsync scripts which copy my mail, web, database and /etc to an external disk. Thinking that I can rebuild a new mini in a few hours, I got a spare at home (which still would need a rebuild) and can change DNS entries quit quickly to make the change transparent for users. But this requires for my server to be online. I’ve used Amazon S3 earlier for backup earlier with a specific rsync script that copied everything over to Amazon. But somehow never got to that….

What is your solution for handling outages?

Small update

I’m very busy with a lot of updates which I need to test on all my test machines and production systems that I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day to get everything done. My current dayjob is also very interesting and challenging and requires a lot of input from my brain. But I’m still chugging everything as well a I possibly can so expect some more blogposts in the coming week.

Here is nice one for the people wh recently bought a mini, someone found out that it will take 8 Gb of usable memory just like the newer MBP’s. It’s a shame that it still soooo expensive but it is a good thing to look forward to. I’m almost temped to by another mini just to see how this would perform. I think it would make a awesome server, although I must confess that of my current production server only half of it’s 1Gb is in active use.

For people looking to host a server at MacMiniColo.net, they have some second hand mini’s listed on the sign up page which will do the job perfectly for less money. I did this myself as well and it is stil working. I like their service so much I recently renewed for a two year period.

Back to testing…

Update: Forgot to mention that I’ve finished installing everything on a clean install of Snow Leopard. So that now works as it is supposed to do. Next up getting my mini ready for the update and installing everything in 32 bits.

G4 mini now equipped with new HD

As you might have remembered my oldest mini had died a few weeks ago by a malfunctioning hard-disk. Getting a new disk took this long as my new MBP was enjoying all the attention it got from me. Installing everything a new and playing with a copy of Snow Leopard.

I got the mini a brand spanking new WD Scorpio Blue 320 Gb for 79 euro, it had the most bang for the money. I had to look for the putty knife because it has been a while since I opened up my Intel mini for a faster HD. Installing it was as simple as always and I was finished within 30 minutes. I’m now installing everything fresh, starting with Tiger to be able to test the new Dovecot instructions on Tiger for the people with the older G4 machines who can’t support Leopard yet. Please remember that after Snow Leopard Tiger support will be officially dropped. (which does not mean you won’t get any help but I won’t be testing everything in advanced and I will only assist in trouble shooting). when that is done I will install Leopard on a different partition (plenty of room on the new HD!) to be able to support all the people still using G4 and G5 based Macs.

If you consider that I bought this Mac mini in 2005 and it has been on constantly since a few weeks ago it means that the hard disk has lasted for almost 4 years of continuous use. Not bad for a cosnumer device!

By the way thanks for all the donations in the last few months as you can see your money is being put to good use.

Upgraded the HD of my Mac mini and future plans

After being annoyed for the nth time that my internal hard disk (still the standard 60 Gb) was full and hed to move some ofmy stuff to one of the 3 external hard disks connected to my desktop mini. I found a good deal and bought myself a Samsung 250 Gb, 7200rpm drive for 69 euro to replace the internal drive. I now can put my iTunes collection on the internal drive and as an added bonus the mini feels a bit more responsive. I haven’t actually measured it but compiling apache again looks like it is happening faster.

Why do I tell you this, because I paid for the drive partly with some of the money I got from the donations I received from some happy users. As this mini is used to test everything first I thought it was appropriate.

Next target for the donations is getting a new Mac (I hope for a new mini), I need it to be able to support you who want to compile everything in 64 bits mode. My current mini’s don’t support 64 bit. I’ve got one of the early Intel mini’s also paid for partly by donations in September 2006! (Boy does time pass quickly when you have fun)

Currently I can only support Tiger and Leopard on G4 and Intel 32 bits machines. Planning for the future I would like to support 64 bits Intel machines as well. As soon as Snow Leopard comes out the plan is to drop support for Tiger so from then on I will support Leopard on G4/G5 and Intel (32 and 64 bit) and Snow Leopard on Intel (32 and 64 bit).

I hope you agree with this decision as it is impossible to support every combination. I know some of you still use Tiger on older Macs and are unable to upgrade. Please know that I’ll try to help you to the best of my ability even if you are not using one of the supported combinations.

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