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Thread: Who ownes it

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Charleston, SC


    Quote Originally Posted by heroic View Post
    I have 11 terabytes of storage, 16 gigs of RAM and eight cores on a 25 Mbit/sec pipe to the interwebs in my bedroom closet.
    Well, that is hardly a PC, at least according to the standard definition. You simply *choose* to have a server-class machine as your own personal computer. But that is the exception rather than the rule! (Out of curiosity, what do you use all that power for? And 11 terabytes of storage? What on earth are you storing?)

    Wondering if you run folding @ home or some other distributed computing engine on that box when it's not crunching numbers for you? Sure would be a shame to put all those gigaflops to waste!

    One other point: that 25Mbit connection of yours would be a very small pipe indeed if you were trying to hosting PL on it. Sure, most of the time it would probably be adequate, but PL's bandwidth usage peaks are *well* above that mark. (An order of magnitude or two higher!)

    Still, for home use, that's nearly 3X faster than what I'm getting right now out of Time Warner. (I'm seeing sustained transfers bumping up on 1Mbyte/sec throughput.) What sort of connection do you have at home? (If I had to guess, I'd say fractional T3.?. Unless you're one of the lucky Verizon customers that got hooked up with FiOS, that is!)
    PhotonLexicon could easily run on someone's personal computer. They'd just have to be a bit of an unusual person, that's all...
    I think calling a server-class machine a "personal computer" is really a stretch. Sure, some people have servers in their homes (I know a few CAD junkies that do it), but I doubt that they'd appreciate the idea of demoting their very high horsepower machines down to lowly "PC" status!


  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    May I ask Who Ownes the server Photonlexicon.
    That would be me.

    From what I understand the janitor is a fussy one and prefers to have his server nice and close. I believe it is, while not his "personal computer", certainly his property and located close to his person. I could be wrong. It has happened before.
    Fussy indeed. I'd prefer to keep it local for one simple reason; Servers are scared of sledgehammers. For a short period of time a million internet-years ago I had PL running out of my old house on a T1. Figured the peak loads only exceeded the available bandwidth infrequently, so why not. Funny thing is that as soon as I threw the proverbial switch and the change over went live; the bandwidth requirements went through the roof. I did not calculate for all the new requests that materialized because the hardware was no longer the bottleneck. This arrangement lasted 3 months before I had to move to another host with more than 1.544mb/s available. During that time I figured out a lot of neat caching/streamlining/optimizing tricks to make PL run with as small of a network footprint as possible but as expected, eventually that wasn't enough and PL had to go "remote" again.

    The only picture I have of "tEh Rack" when PL was hosted locally is attached. It was the one with the 'Do not start, needs repair" tag on it.

    On a side note; I still have the T1 mux/demux card that PL beat the silly shit out of

    My personal computer has the hardware capable of handling PL, as anyone who has seen "Mission Control" will attest to, but there is still a bandwidth limitation anyway I look at it with these ostensibly named "Broadband Providers" stateside. The US is really behind the times.

    So allthat; you were half-right.

    That email address is indeed valid. I edited your original post to destroy the original "mailto" link that spam harvesters are so fond of.

    Not quite, Aaron. PhotonLexicon is *far* too large to run on a personal computer in someone's den or library. The bandwidth requirements alone would prevent it. (Not to mention the processing power and storage requirements.)
    Currently, yea. PL is way too large to host locally. It's not really a matter of hardware anymore but peak bandwidth. If I wanted to be a bitch about the hardware I could get away with 2ghz processing power split 75/25% over two servers(data/mysql)

    For a long time, PL used to run on a shared server that was leased from a hosting company. (A friend of Spec gave him a deal on hosting services way back when.) The server that PL used to be on would actually host multiple websites at the same time, thus it was pretty cheap.

    However, PL was growing so fast that Spec kept getting polite e-mails from the hosting company explaining that he was using up the majority of the resources of that machine *just* for PL traffic! The guy was a personal friend of Spec, so he cut him a lot of slack for a long time, but PL was getting so big that it could no longer run efficiently on a shared server.
    Yea, PL was eating 25-35% of a shared box with over 250 users on it, all of which wanted their fair share of processing time; PL told them where to stick it. I had to get creative with thread hijacking to keep PL responsive, but *shhh* don't tell anyone. Luckily not all of the users on that box were nearly as demanding otherwise PL would have had load times in excess of 60 seconds assuming the stream to the person making the request didn't time out/get lost in translation. I don't even want to think about what searching the board would have looked like... To put it mildly; It would have been a nightmare.

    *That* friendly arrangement wasn't so much of a personal one. I had been a client of theirs since 2002(they opened up shop in 1999) and I am considered one of the early adopters (5 digit account number, 24,xxx) Last I heard they were up to 300,000 something... so yea, I'm "legacy" there.

    Recently, Spec had to move PL to a dedicated virtual server. Of course, this is more expensive, but it also increases the response time of the site. Pages are served *really* quick now, and you'll notice that even deep searches come back in a second or two. That's really amazing when you consider the size of PL.
    A lot of weird things happened before PL ended up at this current location... I had an option to run the hardware with a friend at his local-ish Atlanta Colo but very quickly he started talking about money and hardware I did not have/did not want to afford...

    Had I gone with that arrangement I would have ended up shelling out a couple grand up front to pay for a mysql server and another data server and then the monthly 2-4U worth of cabinet space and bandwidth on a "as-needed/metered" basis. This would have been more "future friendly" and the per U cost was very competitive... but I could not bring myself to go with this arrangement. I could spend a week talking about the logistics and reasons why I refused, but I would rather not. Too much personal drama would be attached. I hate drama.

    The most recent host incarnation of PL is back at the original host under a virtual dedicated setup. (averaging 10-20 users per server with *guaranteed* unsharable resource allotments.) This is not the cheapest route, but it works and is relatively future-friendly. So... there it stands. I'm still keeping an eye out for better/cheaper but nothing has materialized yet. I've become quite accomplished at moving PL around as needed, so if something comes up, I'll start the dance and get everything shifted.

    A couple people here have asked about this process before and how I minimize downtime during these moves so here we go:

    I open up the new account and let their servers "stabilize" Then I generate load tests(fake but demanding PHP/MySQL transactions that simulate the load PL will put on the hardware) I eventually try to destroy the box to figure out its transaction limitations. I consider this a form of future proofing. I take a current snapshot of PL and move it over(last one was 14GB in total). Double check the permissions and do "live fire" tests and incorporate any incremental updates to the database/file system. It's not entirely "by the seat of my pants at mach4" but I do have a system. One more thing; don't let my "nickel tour" of this process fool you... this is not as simple/easy as I make it sound. I typically don't sleep for a couple days and measure time in "pots of coffee destroyed/ephedra consumed/primatine mist inhaled.

    I had a friend drop by the last time I did this who watched this "process" in action. He's a pretty smart tech guy and thought I was off my rocker. I start speaking in disjointed half sentences. He joked "Ya know man, if you want any help feel free to ask..." My responses look like this: "Food; Publix Sub - Whole on multigrain mayo delicatessen mustard, Munster, half a ton of lettuce - Salt Pepper Oil Vinegar" or "Call xxx-xxx-xxxx; apologize. - forgot I was going to drop by; say "Operation Clusterfuck; he went nuclear"".

    Anywho, If *everything* goes over well I will then issue the DNS update and as it propagates across the internet the new users start flooding in. I disallow connections to the old MySQL server, take one final backup to incorporate any new board changes(posts/PMs/attachments/etc) and then append it to the new database... If *all* goes according to plan PL sees <12 hours of downtime and *nothing* is lost and there are *no* mismatched database entries.

    Yea, I could just say "Fuck it!" and disallow access to the previous dataset but there really is no excitement in that.

    Would you believe that PL serves over 1.4 *million* pages per month? Yeah, I had no idea either. This place is *huge*... So yeah, it's not something you'd be able to run from your garage.
    This is pulled from the logs 5 minutes ago, please note that it does not include yesterday or today, yet:

    Monthly Report
    Figures in parentheses refer to the 7-day period ending Jan 31 2009 at 2:30 AM.
    Successful requests: 3,373,903 (775,541)
    Average successful requests per day: 112,554 (110,791)
    Successful requests for pages: 505,725 (123,228)
    Average successful requests for pages per day: 16,871 (17,603)
    Failed requests: 12,708 (363)
    Redirected requests: 43,781 (32)
    Distinct files requested: 127,498 (5,697)
    Distinct hosts served: 11,409 (730)
    Data transferred: 19.45 gigabytes (4.33 gigabytes)
    Average data transferred per day: 664.49 megabytes (633.57 megabytes)

    Yea, PL's a fat bitch that can't seem to put down the chocolate cake.

    A few people have told me that I could make a living off advertisements here but I'd rather see that donation bar used. That being said, I'm trying to find a way to make PL pay for itself and maybe put some cash in my pocket. Money is stupidly tight for everyone I know, so I am trying to figure out a solution.

    Note that Spec also maintains the PL FTP server. This server is different from the ILDA SWAP server that Cruch set up, and it doesn't get nearly as much traffic as Cruch's does, but it is another job that keeps Spec busy.

    Quite a bit of work for a sentient toaster, don't you think?
    Yea, PL FTP is active and operational. It does have a neat trick that I thought would be used more;

    When you upload data to the specified directory in the FTP it shows up there for ease of downloading/sharing without having to use a ftp client. Bridge used it once, and thats about it. Damn shame really as setting up a symlink like that across two separate/secured users seemed like a good idea.

    Anywho, yea I pretty much work here these days, It's a one man op. Not much else going on.

    But is Spec a physical presence or more of an entity?

    Has he attended a LEM, mysteriously swathed in impenetrable layers of iridescent clothing with dry ice issuing forth beneath him as he glides surreally amongst us mere mortals?

    Would those in attendance bow and reach out to touch the hem of his garments as he passed if he deigned to lower himself to our plane of existence?

    Such things are the dreams of mere men.......
    "Spec" and "Specwhore" became legacy accounts here at PL. They are used to handle some back-office junk. I have a couple other "ghost" accounts that are used to test user permissions and other assorted nonsense.

    So to answer your question: "Both"

    I have attened LEM's in the past. The first one I attended (Flem mk.1) only 3 people knew who I was initially, and I liked it that way while it lasted. A couple people asked me "Who are you on the board?" and I responded with "No one of any consequence." Which is *mostly* true.

    Flowing robes and a permanent vapor cloud would rock, but thats a lot of hardware for a mere mortal. No one has proverbially "kissed the ring" and I would likely take offense to that. The people that do know who I am know that I will get annoyed if they start treating me different than any other user.

    Operating PL could give me a big ego but I don't see that as even remotely productive. I really do consider myself a janitor here.

    Janitors, by definition, clean up messes and have access to all the keys... Thats what I do, for the most part.

    I have 11 terabytes of storage, 16 gigs of RAM and eight cores on a 25 Mbit/sec pipe to the interwebs in my bedroom closet.

    PhotonLexicon could easily run on someone's personal computer. They'd just have to be a bit of an unusal person, that's all...
    Thats some impressive hardware you have there. I am left to assume that you are certainly not stateside to have that kind of pipe at your disposal. Or at least in one of the regions where IFITL/FIOS is available. I am stuck in data hell(Georgia) so its going to be at least a decade before any of the neat toys become available. Damn shame really.

    Here's the equipment that *use* to run PL.
    Heh, I had a pile of really old hardware one day got some friends over and we had a field day tossing things out of a second story window. That was the hardware on the ground after about an hour, was too busy to take pictures of the pile when it was completed. I *really* miss that house.

    I have *ACTUALLY* been in the presence of Spec. I didn't notice any dry ice, but there was this hum...
    Heh, I met "TR" for dinner a while ago. We went to my favorite hybrid Chinese/Japanese restaurant. If I remember correctly my friend "Var" was there in addition to "Z!". Had a load of fun. There were a couple conversations about the board and user problems and it was then I figured out that people find my approach to be a breath of fresh air. More often than not people assume that PL is some corporation with an obfuscated chain of command that relies on SOP books to deal with situations... Some people are surprised when they find out its just me and find my no nonsense approach to PL relieving... You will *never* find me uttering marketing jargon or putting corporate styled roadblocks up. PL is a community.

    As an aside; I think the hum he is referring to is the tinnitus that mysteriously showed up a while ago. Ugh. Tinnitus is a nightmare on the best of days. Seriously, it makes just about everything more difficult. I could not hear my ex some of the time when she spoke... certain tonal inflections of hers would get lost in the ringing... that just about killed me. It complicates talking to people... I hate having to say "Would you say that again, please?" That response makes me feel like I wasn't paying attention even though I was listening attentively... I can no longer retreat to my quiet place and be alone with my thoughts/ideas... It, along with the weird roller coaster that was 2008 really nuked my mood and even when I try to explain it people just don't understand how much of a problem it is and why my mood can be extremely negative some of the time. Imagine what it would be like to have a small person in your head playing with a quiet angle grinder all day and night... It even makes sleeping difficult. It just *never* goes away. Ugh. This "mood" coupled with other personal problems destroyed a relationship with the ex because it was extremely hard to outwardly manifest "happy" when I felt like I had to say "Can't hear you..." "Speak up" and "I don't understand..." so frequently. Some times I even missed important parts of conversations because of it... I had to reply heavily on non verbal communication and implied body language, and we *all* know how those can be mis-interpreted. Things started getting really bad a month in and I felt like nothing I could do would make things better. I felt more and more like a burden and less like a productive member of that world and whats worse; the more time that passed the harder it became for me *write* what I was actually thinking. There was a ton of thought and the backlog kept filling up. It is a depreciating and depressing spiral.

    Well, theres my post. Hope this is at least a good history lesson. Any questions/comments about anything are greatly appreciated.

    (moving thread to administrative news)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC00417.JPG  


  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Server tower

    Your just missing a 5 watt wight light projector on that server tower and a disco ball in that pic!

  4. #14
    soforene's Avatar
    soforene is offline The Troll formerly known as Herbert Von Poople-Futtocks
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    ...That email address is indeed valid. I edited your original post to destroy the original "mailto" link that spam harvesters are so fond of....
    Sorry dude.
    I never realsied it was a bona fide mail addy (cus it was given as a kinda joke).
    I shall smack my own botty soundly.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Laser Zone View Post
    Your just missing a 5 watt wight light projector on that server tower and a disco ball in that pic!
    You want to send me one?

    Quote Originally Posted by soforene View Post
    Sorry dude.
    I never realsied it was a bona fide mail addy (cus it was given as a kinda joke).
    I shall smack my own botty soundly.
    I use a catch-all here at PL. so pretty much *anything* @ PL will get to me.

    I originally had only a few valid addresses but over time people started sending all sorts of queries to odd email addresses here, so I just opened it all up and went on the offensive with spam filters.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    nerdtown, USA


    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    Operating PL could give me a big ego but I don't see that as even remotely productive. I really do consider myself a janitor here.

    Janitors, by definition, clean up messes and have access to all the keys... Thats what I do, for the most part.
    I feel I should remind you that Hong Kong Phooey was a mild-mannered janitor. :-)

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Bend Oregon USA


    I'm not worthy!!! I'm not worthy!!! I'm not worthy!!! I'm not worthy!!!
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    Been there, done that, got the t-shirt & selling it in a garage sale.

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