Charlie's Diary

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Fri, 21 May 2004

Alas, poor server ...

This server is dying.

Back when I rented it, on a three year lease in mid-2000, it looked fine for my purposes, which were running a web server for a couple of medium-duty personal websites (intermediate between very-heavy personal and light-duty corporate) and providing email service for my friends, family, and self.

That was before the web server had to handle upwards of 100,000 distinct page impressions per month and the web server found itself acting as a spam filter. I reckon we're getting a couple of thousand spams a day between us, which may not sound like much -- but the server is an aged Cobalt RAQ3; a Pentium-II running at 450MHz, with 64Mb of RAM and a 10Gb disk. The spam filtering server SpamAssassin eats working memory by the double-fistfull, and filtering a single message can chomp up about 10-20Mb for a few seconds. If three spams come in within the space of a minute, the machine begins to grind. It badly needs more memory -- but that isn't really an option.

Adding blogging software, blog-despamming software, mailing lists courtesy of MailMan, and other nice stuff only makes the picture worse. So does the exponential growth in spam. If the spam vanished, things would be fine, if a bit tense: but as it is, I've watched this machine run with a load average in the range 5.0 to 30.0 for the past six hours and it's clear that it is dying on its feet. A load average of 1.0, in UNIX-ese, means that there's a single job queued up and ready to run behind whatever the computer is doing right now; a load average over 1.0 means the machine is fully loaded, and a load average anywhere over 10 means the machine is badly overloaded. This year's peak load so far was around 75 ...

Which is why you probably can't get through to my blog, or to The Prattle or Paganlink or from time to time: I've had to shut down the web server for long enough to clear a backlog of mail.

Anyway. Next week I'm about to buy a new house rent a new server. It'll have about five to ten times the MIPS, sixteen times the memory, and sixteen times the disk capacity of the current one. But it will take me some time to move everything over, because not only is it the web server for several domains, it's doing mail, and spam filtering, and FTP, and mailing lists, and web, and primary DNS, and a bunch of other stuff. I am going to have to put my slowly-rusting Linux hat back on and do a load of system administration work, instead of writing.

Bah, humbug.

[ Discuss Linux ]

posted at: 18:28 | path: /misc | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

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Some webby stuff I'm reading:

Engadget ]
Gizmodo ]
The Memory Hole ]
Boing!Boing! ]
Futurismic ]
Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
Crooked Timber ]
Junius (Chris Bertram) ]
Baghdad Burning (Riverbend) ]
Bruce Sterling ]
Ian McDonald ]
Amygdala (Gary Farber) ]
Cyborg Democracy ]
Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
The Sideshow (Avedon Carol) ]
This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
Yankee Fog ]
The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
Kung Fu Monkey ]
S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

Older stuff:

June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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