A Slwo Transition to a New Server

We're finally upgrading to a new web server. I've spent the last week moving a couple of domains a night from our current colo to the new machine. We're getting a massive hardware upgrade; the old machine is a 1.7GHz Celeron with 512 megs of RAM, and the new machine is a Dual 2.8GHz Xeon with 2 gigs of RAM.

In addition to the beefier hardware, I'm also migrating us from Exim to Postfix, upgrading to MySQL 5, Apache 2, and PHP 5, and, most importantly, segregating web, database, email, and nameserver bits into their own VServers.

The net result of all of this will be a system that's more secure, much easier to administer, and significantly faster.

I'm particularly exited about the move to VServers. We've had a few "trouble" users in the past who used more than their fair share of CPU, memory, or disk space. With the old system my only real options were

  • ask the person nicely to behave
  • disable the offending content and/or lock out their account, or
  • fix the offending PHP/SQL/whatever by hand

I was never particularly happy with any of those options. With the new setup, I can just isolate the offending user's content on a separate VServer, and throttle whatever resource they're abusing to an acceptable level.

There are other advantages, too. A couple of past upgrades have had "issues". Specifically, a new package I need to install wants to upgrade a bunch of core libraries, which, in turn, force upgrades to daemons I'd rather not mess with (I'm looking at you, Dovecot). The VServers allow us to quickly create throw-away machines to test upgrades and to isolate installations and upgrades to the services they apply to.

Stay tuned...