An inside look at BA, a detailed walkthrough...

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Andy
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An inside look at BA, a detailed walkthrough...

Post by Andy »

An inside look at BetaArchive, a detailed walkthrough...

I got a little bored this afternoon so I decided I’d give you a detail “insight” into the workings of BetaArchive from my end. Since all you have ever seen are pictures and the odd details here and there, I thought a nice compilation in a thread might help to clear up any problems and questions you might have (of course questions are always welcome!).

All of the following equipment is located in my converted loft or small bedroom at home in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom.

HTTP Server

Image

So I’ll start with the server hosting the websites, the HTTP, PHP, MySQL and Mail Server. Obviously I’ve just described its purpose but what about specs?

2.13GHz Intel Celeron D, 256KB L2 Cache
512MB RAM (2x256MB) 333MHz
16MB On-Board GFX
40GB, 80GB and 200GB Hard Disks (IDE)
230w PSU
10/100 Ethernet On-Board

The purpose of the hard disks are individual.
40GB – Boot and boot backup image.
80GB – WWW drive, contains the websites, MySQL data, etc
200GB – Backup and storage drive

Software:
Abyss Web Server X2 2.4 *
PHP 4
MySQL 4.0.24
hMailServer
FileZilla FTP (for hosted clients only)
Norton Ghost 9.0

Incremental backups take place every 1-hour and a full backup during the night. Maximum of 5 days backups then the oldest is removed.

I use an external 160GB NAS drive to occasionally backup one of the ghost images from the server for safer keeping.

The server is connected to the network via the 10/100 Network card to the 5 Port Switch located on top of the UPS.


Storage Server

Image

Next is the storage server. Again, its purpose already described.

This server holds backup/mirror copies of all the files hosted on our two main FTP Servers, AbyssUnderground FTP and the SillyProject FTP. In case one server should go down and we lose the files, we have a copy here safe with me. Updates to this server’s mirror copy are made every time I move files from upload to download. This ensures I always have an up to date copy of the contents of the servers.

So what are the specs?

975MHz Pentium III, 512KB L2 Cache
256MB RAM
32MB ATI GFX
20GB, 2x250GB Hard Disks (IDE)
250w PSU
10/100 Ethernet Card

As above, the purpose of the hard disks are individual.
20GB – Boot.
250GB #1 – Storage Drive for my files
250GB #2 – BETA files only drive

Software:
Abyss Web Server X1 2.4 *
PHP 4

The server is connected to the network via the 10/100 Network card to the 5 Port Switch located on top of the UPS.


5 Port Network Switch

Image

This is a standard 5 Port switch (1 Up-Link and 4 standard ports). It is a switch and not a hub and therefore is faster and can create separate VLAN connections when transferring data. This ensures that all hosts connected to the switch can transfer at the full 100Mbps with any other host connected to that switch.


UPS

Image

I’m guessing you all know what a UPS is but for those who don’t know it’s an Uninterruptible Power Supply, in short, battery backup.

This UPS is a 1200VA version capable of 780w of output power. Of course the server’s don’t use this much. It contains 2x7Ah 12v batteries, which can run the 160w load for approximately 30 minutes in the event of a mains outage. Only 1 outage has ever occurred that has out-run the uptime of the UPS and that was late 2006 as some of you may recall. The server was offline for 18 hours as I was away at the time of the outage. Nobody was around to turn the server back on again.

This UPS cost around $80 and was a bargain. It also has surge protection built in in case some bad power comes down the line. Unfortunately it won’t protect against lightning but it’s rare that you will ever be struck.


The Network

The network is hard wired into my house. Cables run through the walls and the floorboards to get to the lower floor where the network equipment is based. It is all 100Mbps based but could cope with 1Gbps.



For the Router we have a Linksys WRT54GL* flashed with the DD-WRT firmware. I flashed it with DD-WRT simply because it offers many more features that are of use to me as a server admin, for example logging, firewall etc. It also allows me to turn the wireless power up as this is of great need to me sometimes.

Image


For the Modem this is a standard issue NTL:100 modem that is around 5 years old now (of course the ISP is now called Virgin Media). The connection speed is 4Mbps downstream and 0.4Mbps upstream. Traffic throttling can come into effect from the hours of 4pm to midnight for a maximum of 4 hours, in which time my connection will be roughly halved (to 2Mbps and 0.2Mbps upload), but only if I download more than 750MB in that time, which is rare.

Image


The UPS is a 300VA MGE UPS. Just like the 1200VA UPS it has surge protection. This unit easily powers the network equipment for well over 1 hour in the event of an outage. Of course I am unsure if Virgin Media have UPS backup in their cabs. I will have to wait until the next outage I am here for to determine that.

Image



And there you have it, the inside workings of the BA servers and network. Hope it wasn’t too boring and I hope it answered any questions you had. If not, feel free to ask and I’ll fill you in!



* Information correct at time of writing.

callumh
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Post by callumh »

How can talking about servers possibly be boring?

Luckie
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Post by Luckie »

thanks for the pictures
"Theory is when you know something, but it doesn't work. Practice is when something works, but you don't know why. Programmers combine theory and practice: Nothing works and they don't know why."

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Re: An inside look at BA, a detailed walkthrough...

Post by GRJParker »

Andy wrote: *snip*
HTTP Server

Image
*snip*
Your HTTP server's case is almost the same as mine, same design, but I have two extra bays in the top! Also, interesting look behind the scenes of BA.

Jeff
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Post by Jeff »

Thanks, that was a great look behind the scenes...
-Jeff

4tified
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Post by 4tified »

Great walkthrough, though I oringinally thought the server was bigger than that, hehe. That obviously make no difference though.
Laptop: Precision M6300 2.4GHz Core 2 T8300 / 4GB RAM / 320GB HD / ATI Quadro FX 3600m
Server: PowerEdge 1950 (Gen III) (x1) 2.5Ghz Xeon E5420 / 24GB FB-DDR2 / 1.5tb 7.2k SAS RAID 0
Desktop: Precision T5500 2.66GHz Xeon X5650 / 24GB DDR3 ECC / 2x 300GB Seagate 15k7

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Post by Daniel »

Thanks that was very interesting!!

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Re: An inside look at BA, a detailed walkthrough...

Post by fzajac »

Andy wrote: For the Router we have a Linksys WRT54GL* flashed with the DD-WRT firmware. I flashed it with DD-WRT simply because it offers many more features that are of use to me as a server admin, for example logging, firewall etc. It also allows me to turn the wireless power up as this is of great need to me sometimes.

Image
Ive got the same router... i think i also should flash it with DD-WRT fw...

Andy
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Post by Andy »

It was well worth flashing it for the extra features. You even get a CPU load meter so you know whats going on load wise. Very useful

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Post by Gnome »

A cpu moniter on your router?
Cool.
I need a new router.

Andy
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Post by Andy »

Toshua123 wrote:A cpu moniter on your router?
Cool.
I need a new router.
Yes its built into the console and uses AJAX to update, which is cool as you don't have to refresh the page to see the current usage %age.

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Post by Gnome »

Thats my type of router.
Ive got a phillips atm.
Wich isnt for servers

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Post by UltimateGTR »

Why the HDDs in the Storage Server can placed like this? I think the HDD will get damage if they are placed like this. Don't the HDD must be placed horizontally??

It is a nice server!

happy dude
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Post by happy dude »

Well UltimateGTR the HDDs are in horizontally, the case is however, standing vertically

Andy
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Post by Andy »

UltimateGTR wrote:Why the HDDs in the Storage Server can placed like this? I think the HDD will get damage if they are placed like this. Don't the HDD must be placed horizontally??

It is a nice server!
A hard disk can be placed in any position providing it is not moved while it switched on. If it is moved the head could touch the disk causing a head crash.

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Post by empireum »

Andy wrote:
UltimateGTR wrote:Why the HDDs in the Storage Server can placed like this? I think the HDD will get damage if they are placed like this. Don't the HDD must be placed horizontally??

It is a nice server!
A hard disk can be placed in any position providing it is not moved while it switched on. If it is moved the head could touch the disk causing a head crash.
I'd either place them horizontally (0°) or vertically (90°). Anything inbetween doesn't sound that healthy, even though the drive in my iPod has to bear it. And as you said, moving a HD while it's on should be avoided if possible.

Andy
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Post by Andy »

Yeah. I can't say I've ever tried to use a drive in any position other than 0 degrees or 90 degrees...

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Post by empireum »

Andy wrote:Yeah. I can't say I've ever tried to use a drive in any position other than 0 degrees or 90 degrees...
Well, as I've said, one of my iPods has an 1.8" HD and sometimes it has to spin up (briefly) at odd angles. Never had a single problem though, but then these HDs may be better suited for that than standard 3.5" ones.

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Post by Apache »

Although this is a good walkthrough, it isn't the servers that BA uses anymore, maybe Andy could update it to the specs of the server that we are currently on
|3e|\|

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The Number One HTTP Server On The Internet

Andy
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Post by Andy »

OK then...

AMD Athlon 2800+ 2.08GHz
1GB RAM
120GB HD
1000GB Bandwidth on a 100Mbps Cogent Connection
Windows 2003 Web Edition

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Post by empireum »

Andy wrote:OK then...

AMD Athlon 2800+ 2.08GHz
1GB RAM
120GB HD
1000GB Bandwidth on a 100Mbps Cogent Connection
Windows 2003 Web Edition
And yes, it's obvious you can't provide pics of that one

Andy
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Post by Andy »

No I can't. The datacenter (like all commercial datacenters) don't allow any form of photography inside the building for security purposes.

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Post by sevan »

Nice to know that the site is well kept.

I setup a server locally for my website, I unfortunately am only using an eval copy of Windows Server 2003 with IIS6, Active Directory (for the hell of it I suppose) and DNS setup.

I don't know if it would be worth moving my site to the desktop (server) or not, but I have a backup site on another host that I don't update as often as I should.

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Post by InsaneNutter »

I gather the servers you posted in your first post are not used for hosting BetaArchive anymore, it seemed quite a good setup. Im curious as to what are they used for now?

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