Site Migration and Downtime: 27th, 28th, 29th January

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richard
LNER A4 4-6-2 'Streak'
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Site Migration and Downtime: 27th, 28th, 29th January

Post by richard » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:29 pm

I've been hinting for a few months that there's going to be a big site migration. This is now scheduled for 6:30pm EST Friday 27th January. This will move all my sites to a virtual server, and I shall also be taking the opportunity to move the forums to Pair's "Software Manager" (SIM). I've been using the SIM for two Wordpress installations, and it has proven to be a lot easier to maintain.

This is the approximate timescale for what will happen (times are US Central, add about 6 hours for UK times):
  • Tuesday - Thursday: I shall be backing up my various sites, including the static section of the LNER site. I will not be doing any more forum adjustments or page additions during this time period. Also I have some pending additions (more ship information; list of 3mm kits) and these have also been suspended until next week.
  • Friday starting in the morning: The forums will be suspended. A full backup of the database will occur. I will also be doing the same for the Wordpress (business) sites that I have.
  • Friday 5:30pm CST: Pair perform the migration. for about 5-10minutes during this period, my email will not be reachable and will be queued.
  • Friday night: I start to get everything back up and running. Priority is for email, web forms, and business static pages. These are then followed by business ordering pages; and Wordpress sites.
  • Saturday: Hopefully the business side will be running Friday evening, and I'll move to the LNER forums during Saturday morning. These will be more involved due to the SIM migration. Also, the forums might appear online for short intervals for testing. DO NOT POST until I post a message saying it is safe to do so. Any posts during this testing period may be lost.
  • Saturday-Sunday: I shall be generally online most of the time fixing problems. Hopefully I'll get to other things (there's a plumbing job, and the rail room is coming together after the move...) but I'll check in regularly and will hopefully fix anything that needs fixing.
  • Monday onwards (for weeks): I shall gather web stats for a few days, then do some general maintenance. For example compression will be switched on for the static LNER website. I will also make the pending additions/modifications (3mm list; and two new ship pages)
Improvements we should see in the next week:
  • A virtual server should be less vulnerable to what is happening on other sites/accounts.
  • Virtual servers will be liable to hardware outages. When they occur, they will be much shorter lived.
  • The account can be expanded further if necessary - Pair have stopped issuing the old style shared accounts, so any growth would require a virtual account.
  • My account will have much greater disk capacity for the same price. Bandwidth limits remain the same though.
  • With greater disk capacity, I intend to relax some of the limits - namely the private message mail boxes, the total number of attachments per person, and the size of the non-image attachments.
  • Updated version of the phpBB forum software.
  • Much easier to update the phpBB forum software after updates are released, without breaking the forums.
Possible problems include:
  • In a worst case scenario, we may lose the forums and all posts completely, and will have to re-create them - you would have to create new accounts. I think this is extremely unlikely - but not impossible.
  • Images might be lost. Again, I think this is unlikely, but more likely that a complete loss.
  • It is unlikely that all settings will be transferred - so it might take some adjustments to get everything set properly.
  • Deep links and bookmarks to specific posts will be broken. This is due to one of the extension mods that I installed. For those around at the time, this was the mod that broke lots of links during the last migration. With hindsight, it wasn't worth the effort - and it will be lost during the new migration anyway. Individual members can go through their own posts and fix them if they wish.
  • All references and bookmarks that refer to raw IP codes will be broken. "lner.info" will continue to work. As it will have a new ip code, it might take a day or two for your ISP to realise the site has moved and update its DNS database. If it is Sunday evening and the site does not appear to be back, then this is almost certainly what has happened - sit tight and your ISP will eventually catch on! (in recent years I've found my DNS is usually updated in minutes / hour).
Note that most of the possible problems are due to the SIM migration, but this will make the forums easier to maintain and keep up to date (eg. with security fixes). The 'hurt' will be worth it in the long term.
Richard Marsden
LNER Encyclopedia

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