I’m happy to announce that sygard.no is running on a new server!
Sygard.no has previously been hosted on a Virtual Machine in a hosting center in Germany. This machine had limited amount of available processing power and disk-space, but it was the small amount of memory which was the most limiting factor (300MB). The virtual machine was running the standard LAMP applications (Apache2, MySQL and PHP), in conjunction with Bind9, Postfix, Dovecot and some other small programs, which left minimal available memory for other tasks. From a fresh reboot, the available amount of memory was around 20 – 30 MB. Mind you, both Apache2 and MySQL were tweaked to get a smaller memory footprint, but still, the amount of used memory was too much, especially since it did not have a swap-partition.
As a programmer, I enjoy creating applications over several different platforms, all communicating with each other over a common protocol. While writing a server back end in C probably gives you one of the fastest implementations of a server (fastest as in best CPU/memory utilization), the process can be long and demanding compared to higher level languages such as Java and Python. While Python is great for small tasks, I prefer Java for the more complex applications. Running Java programs requires the Java Runtime Environment and the Java Virtual Machine to be installed and working on the target platform, and this is where the Virtual Machine started to give up. Just starting the JVM requires about 80ish MB of memory, and that’s just for writing “Hello World!” to the standard output, which was more memory than I had available. I successfully started JVM a few times, but that meant stopping the Apache2 and MySQL daemons, which was unacceptable. I only tried Suns version of the JVM (version 6) though, maybe other implementations doesn’t require that much memory? In any case, I needed more.
I could, of course, upgrade my Virtual Machine to a more powerful one, but the prices quickly became quite large compared to the power they provide. So, after some consideration, I decided to get me my own physical server.
I am a big fan of virtual machines, and as long as they have a reasonable amount of system resources, I gladly use it for my services. It was important to me to be able to run one or more virtual machines on the server, so the main hardware requirements was memory and a CPU able to run some sort of virtualization, like the Intel Virtualization Technology. I also wanted some hard disk redundancy, so two or more harddisks in a RAID configuration was high on the list of requirements.
I started looking for servers from GreenTech.no and other resellers of used hardware, but quickly discovered that the prices was a little over my budget. I got a suggestion to look for new middle-ranged server hardware at Nextron.no, but with the same result. I had almost given up on my dream of having my own server until I remembered that there was something called Finn.no. After browsing through almost 30 pages of items, I had discovered three sellers selling the type of hardware I wanted, more or less.. I sent them an email and luckily, one of them was still for sale. I did some research and found out it had almost everything I wanted!
- Supermicro SYS-6015V-TB Dual Dual-Core Xeon 2xSATA (hot-swap)
- 2 x Intel Dual-Core Xeon processor 5060 3.20Ghz
- 2 x STT 2GB FBDIMM 667MHz ECC (total of 4Gb RAM)
- WD Caviar 320GB 7200RPM 16MB SATA 3Gb/s
- 3ware Escalade 8006 2-port SATA/150 RAID Controller – PCI-X, SATA
As you can see, the hardware is quite good (for a 3+ year old machine), although, the amount of memory is a little too low for my needs, I decided it would be enough and went for it. A day later, the server was sitting in my living room! I started it up, and everything worked perfectly!
I installed Xen Server 5.5, which installed without any troubles and started testing. I did consider VMWare ESXi, but felt Citrix Xen Server had more to offer then the free version of VMWare ESX. I quickly found out though, that the amount of memory was a little low, so I went and bough an additional 4GBs and installed it into the available slots giving a total of 8GBs of RAM.
After configuring the server for a few days (yes, I’m new to Xen Server…), I felt it was time to move it to a more permanent location.
I friend of mine runs his own hosting firm here in Oslo, Optical.no, and offered to host my server in one of his hosting locations, which I gladly did! The server was installed and hooked up to the interned through a 100Mbit link with with direct connection to the Norwegian Internet eXchange (NIX) network 😀
The server is currently running 4 virtual machines, one Windows Server 2003, and three Debian Lenny GNU/Linux. It does this with ease, and I would think it could run in excess of 10+ virtual machines, as long as they are running Linux. The windows machine is there mainly to run Xen Center, and I must say, I don’t feel good about having a Windows machine directly connected to the internet… Don’t exactly know why, I just don’t trust it…
All in all, I’m very happy with the result, and hope it will deliver services for years to come!
I’ve added some images of the server if anyone is interested 😀