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SATSIG server

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Nov 19th, 2009 at 6:42pm  
Our old, dedicated, rented SUN Netra T1 server system takes about 10 - 30 seconds to generate the "most recent 20 forum postings"  The perl forum code make a very heavy demand on the server.

To try and reduce monthly costs and improve speed, we have found an ISP with servers operating as multiple Virtual Machines.  As a 1 month trial experiment, we are configuring satsig on a new VMWARE server, that looks like SUN machine.

We are planning to change the DNS this weekend, say 3pm saturday afternoon.  If it works well that will be fine and we will leave it going for a month to evaluate.  If it fails we will change the DNS back again.  Due to propagation delays in the DNS there may be 24 hours or so of disruption.

Some forum messages may be lost.

Best regards, Eric.
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #1 - Nov 21st, 2009 at 9:25pm  
After copying all the content to the new server we changed the DNS A record to the new server IP address and within 2 minutes noted traffic starting on the new server and reducing on the old one.  The process is expected to completely transition in 24 - 48 hours as the DNS change gradually propagates to every DNS server on the internet. There has been no outage.

Static web pages and the forum seem to be working normally.  

The time taken to deliver "20 recent" was not improved the first time, but from second call onwards has been about 2-3 seconds.  There may be some caching that is helping now.  It used to take 10 - 30 seconds.

Comments please.

Best regards, Eric.
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« Last Edit: Nov 22nd, 2009 at 10:36am by Eric Johnston »  
 
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Reply #2 - Nov 22nd, 2009 at 3:01pm  
Have done "20 recent" several times today.

On first occasion took about 20-30 seconds.  All subsequent attempts just 2-3 seconds. Good compared with last week when always 10 seconds or more.

We wonder if no one accesses the page for many hours then it takes longer the first time it is called after a long period.

Comments on your experience please.

Best regards, Eric.
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« Last Edit: May 31st, 2011 at 6:08pm by Admin1 »  
 
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colinjmx5
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Reply #3 - Nov 22nd, 2009 at 5:07pm  
I am glad works well, dns hosting also working well
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #4 - Feb 21st, 2010 at 11:35am  
Sunday 21 Feb 2010: 0900GMT

We had a server outage early this morning.

A fault in the air conditioning at our VM hosting company caused overheating and a general power shutdown.

All appears normal now.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #5 - Feb 21st, 2010 at 11:53am  
Due to spamming, the forum Sendtopic facility has been removed.

This allowed people to tell others about a forum topic by filling in a form which caused an email to be sent from our server to the recipient telling them "I want you to check out the following topic ..

Apologies to anyone who has received such spurious emails.

The facility to print a page has also been deleted as of little value.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #6 - May 24th, 2010 at 9:01am  
We are reconfiguring the network associated with the satsig.net server between 6 pm and 8 pm today.  Some outage time is to be expected.
Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #7 - May 30th, 2010 at 2:29pm  
The network reconfiguration failed on the first attempt, so we backed out.  Success was achieved 24hr later. There was a brief outage.

The problem with slow generation of the "most recent 20 messages" has been temporarily resolved using a static page generated once or twice daily and saved as static html.  Please use the "updated daily" link in the top index for the time being. It loads in 1 sec, instead of frequently as long as 90 sec.

Best regards, Eric.
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #8 - Jul 12th, 2010 at 5:24pm  
Regarding mixed either 1 sec or 90 sec delays getting "20 recent posts".

Since Saturday 10 Jul we have been running a wget call using cron every 5 minutes with the saved page as recent.htm

This allows the static page result to be displayed in 1 sec, always.

The effect of the 5min call seems to be to keep all the relevent files live in cache memory so they never time out.  The result is that the old call (at bottom of forum home page) now always runs in 1 sec, instead of 90 sec if not used for a while and 1 sec if used recently.

Many thanks for suggestions received, particularly regarding wget and cron.

Has anyone noticed the improvement ?

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #9 - Jul 15th, 2010 at 8:21pm  
Hi Eric,

Me - definitely. Before that, sometimes I even gave up any hope loading the recent 20. Now it works fine. I'm glad this has been fixed.
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Reply #10 - Jul 23rd, 2010 at 8:34pm  
Our virtual hosting company have been having intermittent problems with their massive disk storage array.  This has affected the satsig server at times during the last 48 hours.

Sorry.

Best regards, Eric.
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #11 - Sep 27th, 2010 at 4:00pm  
A planned satsig server outage, for high voltage power supply repair/upgrade, is due to start about 22:45 GMT on Friday 1st October. The outage is expected to last up to 6 hours, until early morning of Sat 2nd October.
Explanation from our hosting site:

"We recently installed a fourth 500kva UPS into the data centre to add resilience and capacity to our power systems.
The data centre was designed with this in mind, so the appropriate connections exist on the Schneider UPS Output Panel (that feeds all servers from a common busbar) to connect this UPS.
During the installation of the UPS, engineers discovered there was a fault with the panel which meant the additional UPS could not be connected.
To repair this fault, we need to electrically isolate the panel, as engineers cannot work on the panel while it is live for safety reasons.
The manufacturer of the panel, Schneider, is sending a team of engineers to repair the panel so it can accept the fourth 500kva UPS."


Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #12 - Oct 1st, 2010 at 9:22pm  
As per previous posting.  Outage is due to start approx 23:45 tonight. Lasting possibly 6 - 8 hours.

Best regards, Eric.
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colinjmx5
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Reply #13 - Oct 2nd, 2010 at 9:42am  
maint complete at 9am, all services tested ok
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Reply #14 - Nov 9th, 2010 at 10:17pm  
Apologies for 10min outage at 8pm this evening due to a hosting network hardware failure.
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Reply #15 - Dec 11th, 2010 at 1:27pm  
Please use proper english words and grammar and no SMS texting type language.

"4sales" should read "for sale".  Even if there are multiple items for sale, the verb sale is not written in plural with an "s".   The noun "sales" in plural, is appropriate in the context of, for example, "New Year Sales".

Please start sentences with a capital letter.  Put a space after a comma.

Thanks, it saves me a lot of time editing, which I have done in the past.

I am sympathetic to people for whom english is a second language but such people, when readers, will benefit by seeing correct english, spelling and grammar.  It makes it easier to understand.

Also, good contributions are less likely to be deleted as spam .... Contributions with bad  spelling or grammar are being deleted.


Please try to get these abbreviations right:
dB, dBm, Hz,  kHz,  MHz,  GHz,  iDirect,  Eb/No,  L band, C band, Ku band, Ka band, 1.8m, 2W.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #16 - Mar 3rd, 2011 at 10:28pm  
Next years top centre forum banner ads start 1st April 2011.

Size 768 x 75 pixels. gif, animated gif, jpg, png OK. Flash not guaranteed to work.

Price 60 (£) per year per forum section.

Displayed randomly within a forum section, minimum 20 % of occasions.

Forum home page and misc pages comprise "default" section.

Vacancies in all sections except Middle East.

Send banner ad to eric@satsig.net with target url or email address for enquiries.   First come, first served. Superlative words and false claims banned.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #17 - Mar 17th, 2011 at 7:31pm  
Sorry for server outage today from approx 10am - 6pm GMT.

This was due to a dual UPS failure, call out of fire brigade etc, and resulting general power outage at the BlueSquare data centre.

A shame really as we had completed a total transition of the satsig server from one data centre to this new one above,  just a week ago, and Colin (my son) had managed the transition of both the web server and the firewall interface computer without any anomaly or outage at all.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #18 - May 31st, 2011 at 6:05pm  
There will be a hopefully brief outage at 7pm BST today due to hardware upgrade by our VM hosting company.

** It lasted less than 6 minutes.  All OK afterwards. **

Best regards, Eric and Colin
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #19 - Jun 8th, 2011 at 6:07pm  
Our VM hosting company had problems with disk memory earlier this morning and I am not sure that it is completely fixed.

If you are seeing occasional "slow downs" please describe.  eric@satsig.net

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #20 - Jul 27th, 2011 at 4:24pm  
Sorry about the brief outage this morning...

"We have had confirmation that the outage was caused by a power failure at Telecity Meridian Gate. C4L are investigating why the UPS system at the datacenter did not kick in. Power was lost at approximately 09:30 and service was restored at 09:33"

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #21 - Nov 23rd, 2011 at 6:41pm  
At 9pm tonight there will be a brief outage (2 minutes expected) to reconfigure the time sync arrangements.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #22 - Nov 27th, 2011 at 6:56pm  
The server LAN network connection was changed early this evening and the initial impression is that a symptom of "intermittent slow downs" has been eliminated.

Does anyone observe a change in satsig server performance relative to the performance over the past three weeks ?.

We would be interested in your feedback.

Best regards, Eric.
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #23 - May 22nd, 2012 at 1:59pm  
I recently added "Social networking" buttons to the satsig.net home page and to the forum pages. 

See the Facebook, Tweet, LinkedIn and Google+ buttons at the top.

Does anyone find this of any value ?

It seems it may slow down the page load times and I would be interested to hear any feedback.

Best regards, Eric


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Reply #24 - May 30th, 2012 at 10:31am  
Sorry about outage last night from 2200- 2345
It was due to UPS power failure at Blue Square. Still not fixed and UPS is in bypass for the time being.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #25 - May 30th, 2012 at 10:34am  
I've added "Notify of replies" option to the forum.

This means you may choose to be sent an email when a particular forum topic is updated. Please say if you find this of value.

Also any comment on the "social networking buttons" at the top would be welcome.

Best regards, Eric.
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SuperDave
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Reply #26 - May 31st, 2012 at 2:39pm  
Eric, I think the "Notification of Replies" is a great addition! 

Thanks,
Dave
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Reply #27 - Dec 5th, 2012 at 10:54am  
Over past three weeks or so, I've noticed intermittent times (a few a few times per hour, each lasting a minute or a few minutes) when satsig pages and satsig forum pages have been very slow to display.

We have made many small changes (perl code, apache config, cron jobs, firewall settings etc) to try and speed things up, but with no obvious effect.  It has been difficult to reproduce the 'slow page' anomaly as for most of the time page loads have seemed normal.

Yesterday morning I started using the Pingdom test facility and within an hour had detected two anomalies lasting 1 minute and 6 minutes.  The second detected 'slow anomaly' was yesterday lunchtime at 12:08, when for 6 minutes, the page load times increased from typically 0.5 sec to 5 - 6 seconds.  

Yesterday afternoon the connection of the firewall VM and the server VM were reconfigured on to the same physical machine.

Initial tests overnight show that there have been no seriously slow periods since 13:43 GMT Tuesday. I am carrying on with tests today to see if any more 'slow' event can be detected.

If anyone has any observations or comments please email me eric@satsig.net
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Reply #28 - Dec 13th, 2012 at 1:19pm  
Any feedback about the current speed performance of the satsig server, since 4th Dec, would be appreciated.

Send any measurements, observations or comments to me at eric@satsig.net, or put them below here in the forum.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #29 - Jul 17th, 2013 at 10:51pm  
The satsig website is on a VMHosts VM Cloud shared server system.

Some upgrade is planned on Friday 19th July 2013 between 18:00 – 20:00

Expected connectivity loss should be limited to around 30 – 45 seconds

Best regards, Eric.
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Munger
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Reply #30 - Jul 25th, 2013 at 10:00pm  
Is there an option to have notifications of private messages too?

Speed wise, the sites been good for me...
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Reply #31 - Jul 26th, 2013 at 10:00pm  
I've turned on an option to allow you to receive an email when you are sent a personal message.
You may have to activate the receive notifications option in your profile / options.  Not sure.
I have also turned on the cc and bcc options for personal messages.
The time limit for modifying your own post texts to rethink, clarify, remove / correct mistyping etc is now 10 days.
Best regards, Eric.
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Munger
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Reply #32 - Jul 26th, 2013 at 10:10pm  
Thanks very much Eric. Setting is now on...

FYI, the default is still off so each user will need to turn the feature on themselves if they want it.
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Reply #33 - Jan 22nd, 2015 at 12:45pm  
Over the past few weeks I have been modifying the YaBB Perl software and templates that drive this forum website to try and make the displayed pages more compatible with smaller screen devices, aiming for as small as 320 pixels wide - but not quite there yet!

I have also tried to get the Google AdSense adverts which appear in the top left and top right corners to automatically adjust in size in response to the screen or browser window width.

I've tested using a large screen with Chrome 39, Firefox, Internet Explorer 11.

I've tested with a Samsung Galaxy SIIImini mobile phone using Chrome 26 and the Samsung internet browser.

It is generally working OK and this is to advise that there will be more changes over the coming days.  My updates (about 20 per day) usually involve an outage of a few seconds, followed by some unusual display while I debug my errors!

Best regards, Eric. 
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Reply #34 - Mar 7th, 2015 at 8:49pm  
A brief server outage is expected this evening at 2100 GMT due to maintenance work by our virtual hosting provider. Intended to be 60 seconds, but maybe more !

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #35 - Sep 16th, 2015 at 6:30pm  
Our hosting company are physically moving our server.

Shutdown is scheduled for 22:00 BST Friday 18th Sept 2015.

Hoping for restoration by 02:00 Saturday morning (19/09/2015).

However the maintenance window does extend to 06:00.

Hope they drive carefully and don't get stuck in traffic on the M25 !

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #36 - Sep 19th, 2015 at 8:31pm  
The satsig server outage last night lasted a bit longer then we expected. The physical move itself went well and the equipment restarted fine.
There  was then a delay due to some obscure routing problem.

Explanation: "The root cause was eventually diagnosed as a faulty fibre cable on the management cluster used to run the Flexiant management VM at the new DC. Forcing the traffic over the redundant link allowed all services to start successfully."

Well done everyone who helped fix it. All is OK this morning.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #37 - Dec 18th, 2015 at 7:38pm  
End of year nannying !!

All forum members are reminded to use:

A complex password of at least 8 characters that is not guessable or in a dictionary.

To use a different password from other services.

To update their password after using public or hotel WiFi connections.

Happy Christmas and Best regards, Eric.
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Maxim Usatov
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Reply #38 - Dec 18th, 2015 at 10:25pm  
Merry Christmas, Eric! Thank you for the great job here at Satsigs! Looking forward to 2016.
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Reply #39 - Feb 22nd, 2016 at 10:16pm  
The future of this satsig forum ?

The YaBB forum uses old perl software that is interpreted source text code and thus slow.

I'm thinking of archiving this satsig forum so that all the pages are turned into static html pages. This will mean that they load faster and still remain there to help people with advice.

To continue with interactive questions and answers I'm looking for alternatives.

Would facebook be a suitable alternative ?  I am inexperienced with facebook. What do you think ?

A different forum software is a possibility. Suggestions welcome.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #40 - Feb 23rd, 2016 at 11:39am  
Hi Eric,

Thank you again for this forum, which was (and still is!) such a great meeting point, way before facebook and Linkedin became popular.

We had a similar discussion at another field (carpentry) and eventually we decided to quit a forum that was quite active and move to facebook. On the one hand, it is very easy and accessible for most users. On the other hand, I am not sure you can archive and search for pieces of information. There are couple of groups on Facebook about VSAT with very little activity in them. This is something else that should be considered.

I can imagine the hard work needed to maintain this forum, and it is bit sad there isnt so much activity in it as it used to be in the good old days...I often wondering where are everyone Smiley But it looks like there is very little activity elsewhere as well.

Personally speaking, it will be pity if this forum will not be active anymore.


Kind Regards,
Nimrod
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Reply #41 - Aug 10th, 2016 at 6:58pm  
Nimrod

Thank you for your kind remarks. It's most encouraging for me.

I have become aware for the last few years that YaBB forums written on perl code are gradually becoming legacy systems.

I have tried to keep this forum up to date, for example making it fit for use on small screen devices and simplifying it to speed things up.  The YaBB Perl software does run slowly, particularly when greedy 'downloader' bots attempt to automatically read every forum page in sequence. Added to that are non-member bots trying to post spam. It just slows things down and fills the log with line after line of 404 errors.

...
Example of the effect to two 'downloader' bots.

To simplify things further, today I have removed the name of the person who did the last posting in the index of each forum area.

I haven't a clue as to how Facebook works and the idea of converting these forum pages to some modern forum software would be big mountain to climb and I'm not sure it would help much.  The YaBB code actually works well and is reliable and since it has been around for years it has been thoroughly tested and any problems fixed. I'm also a bit biased since having started the satsig YaBB I have gradually learned a bit of how it works. All the source code is easily readable and editable.

If I do have to stop the forum I would aim to convert all the programatically generated pages (i.e all the forum pages) into static html text pages.  It is a pretty massive undertaking as all the pages will need new url names and all the links will need fixing. At least things would then be simple and fast, but there would be no updating or user interaction.

Best regards, Eric
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Reply #42 - Dec 28th, 2016 at 4:33pm  
I have made a questionnaire for users of this web site.

Please go to:

Satsig users questionnaire

I'm not sure it yet works properly. Help please.

Suggestions for additional questions would be appreciated.

I am not collecting your email addresses. You should be able to edit your contribution and see the results on-line. Not sure how !

Best regards, Eric 
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Reply #43 - Apr 8th, 2017 at 3:15pm  
Any ideas for the future welcome.

Is YaBB perl slow, dated and old fashioned ?

Is the satsig.net forum any good on mobile device screen sizes ?

What if the forum is 'statified' and turned into a set of static html archive pages.

If a new forum is started, what software system is suggested ?

Replies here or by email to me eric@satsig.net

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #44 - Apr 25th, 2017 at 11:23pm  
Regrettably this forum is to be archived and will be converted to a static html pages.

The content will still be accessible, in read-only form, and the loading of the pages will be faster as there is no processing to do preparing each page as requested.

Till the transition is complete (estimated about 1 month to do 6308 topic pages) the forum should still work in read-only mode.

If you want to put a question or give a reply please email me and I will try to do it manually. If anyone wants old messages or images deleted please email me.

Best regards, Eric.
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