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Server Hardware Fault

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Runefox

Kitsune of the PC Master Race
What I gathered from Myr's comments in the early pages was "Yeah, your problem is the software, not the hardware", which is basically where I'm coming from. Software can tax the CPU, but that's about it. It has nothing to do with bad RAM, incompatible parts being ordered, or anything of that nature. The point is, the hardware failed. So no matter how good or bad the software is, it was the hardware that was the point of failure. Software would have done nothing to accelerate this.
 

2ndVenus

SnakeWildlife
I lost my job and am currently finding a lot of my life hard at the moment (giggity), eventually everyone in the UK (90% currently are) are in debt, why shouldnt i be :D $70 going in from me.

Get that new server darlings, and lets rock on forward, one day ill be able to fly over there and get to the cons XP... one day.
 

SnowFox17

Aussie Furs FTW
It's really amazing what a single pair of servers can do to power a state-wide university and how reliable they can be when they've got well-coded software on them, even when there's millions of daily visitors and hundreds of thousands of users with accounts. You guys really need to stop endlessly neglecting software.

Its really amazing what Governement funding can do for a school.

These guys are setting up servers out of their own pockets so i would cut them some slack. Im in the IT buisness and i can assure you that servers cost $1000s of dollars, not to mention upkeep and adding more servers to compensate for the increase of members.

So stop being part of the problem and help resolve it. Im sure if every member here donated $1 it would help out alot.

Also i wouldnt mind buying a jacket or a tail from here.
 

fruitcake

Eudyptula minor
Heh... all you have to do is charge a subscription fee for anyone who wants to see red-border images... that'd make you enough money to buy a billion servers in a day.
That would work. I mean, you're joking... but really. They should. ;P
 

Lt_Havoc

SPADS Commander
The only thing that really bugs me, is that they moved the servers and made matnaice on them to prevent from exectly what happend now, all for nothing! Either the guys over at Colo are total morons or somone is sabotaging the servers. It is beyond me how the site had so many problems in such a short amount of time. I mean, you guys did menataince and you over looked the worn out hardware that is likley to eyplode in the moment you need it?

Yes, the site is free and all, but hell, without all the users, the thousends of users, FA wouldnt be the biggest Furry related Art page in the whole net.

Hell, wher e is Scotty wehn you really need him?

But anyway, a new server.....guess FA will be offline for a loooong time now. I just finished my Job-qaulification and therefor have no money I could donate, but I bet my ass that a new server will cost at least 15.000 to 25.000 Dollars anyway. Do we have 15.000 users who could donate 1 Dollar?
 

yak

Site Developer
Administrator
I would like to see FurAffinity buy a real server, an IBM or some such, with all those important features, like miles of documentation, tested configurations and remote management features.

I have a few old IBM machines, and even they have features such as:
Redundant power supplies.
Lights out management.
Voltage, environment and hardware monitoring monitoring. (as in, I can tell you that the mainboard is at 22degC and all fans are on high, and 12v is at 12.21v, etc)

Surely something newer can do better, and if your careful and think it through, you can re-use hardware, like drives and such.
If FA manages to gather enough with the current donation drive, we are looking to buy a prebuilt brand name server, if not from IBM, then from Dell or similar.
However, if the donation drive doesn't do so well we will be forced to buy either from a less respectable seller like Thinkmate, or even custom built our own server from parts.

To be honest, much of what we decide to go with depends on how much money we can raise. The best possible result for us right now would be to separate the WWW and the data servers into two physical machines. However, this path is the most expensive one to take - but if we raise enough, we will take it as this is what we are looking for in the long run anyway.
 

Samoya_Wulf

Zombie Warlord
I heard what was going on from my wife Echo who was watching this, I have to admit haveing it down sucks but hey you guys are right on going to fix it the way you do. I hope you guys can ge that new server, and the idea you have about haveing some payable accounts with extra features and such would be a good idea and a great help for gettting some money to help with issues such as this.
 

WarMocK

I like to nuke ^^
That would work. I mean, you're joking... but really. They should. ;P
And FA would lose about 3/4 of its visitors. ;-)
I'd love to donate some cash via PayPal, but unfortunately, I'm COMPLETELY broke atm. I really reconsider doing comissions, but I don't wanna do adult stuff, and other stuff usually is not on high demand. -.-
 

Echo_wulf

Member
If FA manages to gather enough with the current donation drive, we are looking to buy a prebuilt brand name server, if not from IBM, then from Dell or similar.
However, if the donation drive doesn't do so well we will be forced to buy either from a less respectable seller like Thinkmate, or even custom built our own server from parts.

To be honest, much of what we decide to go with depends on how much money we can raise. The best possible result for us right now would be to separate the WWW and the data servers into two physical machines. However, this path is the most expensive one to take - but if we raise enough, we will take it as this is what we are looking for in the long run anyway.

well i certainly hope you are able to raise the money ^.^ i had posted before asking on how i can donate when i do get some money cuz im kinda dumb when it comes to that...... but no one replied... so how do i???

and seriously thank you for all that you have done and will keep on doing ^.^
 

xionos

New Member
I'm sorry, but with the recent outages, I've been less and less inclined to actually donate. Why donate to a site that's down more than it's up just for a "we might". Not only that, but features have been boasted about with this Ferrox build ( the Search feature being one of the ones I've been looking forward to ) for over a year now, and still nothing. I don't see what's so hard about it. F.A.P. has a search feature, Hentai Foundry has it, DA has it, VCL has it...but not one of the biggest furry community sites on the web? That just leaves me to believe someone's thumbing themselves with one hand, and picking their nose with the other.
 
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yak

Site Developer
Administrator
You guys go through servers and hardware like wildfire through brush. Do yourselves a favor, take that money, save it, and then spend it hiring someone to do professional code for your site. You've been over-taxing your resources for years and you know it. You've known it even since before 'project Ferrox' was first boasted years ago. Throwing hardware at the problem again is just another patch job. You have a developer on your team who once told me he could reprogram the entire site in a week, and here it's been years and one missed expectation of an upgrade after another. Seriously, save your cash and put it into a professional or accredited programmer. If you can't afford that, then at the very least you should be hiring a professional consultant to give real advice. You're way past overdue for a major software upgrade. Both the users of FA and your colo will appreciate this.

Hello Myr, I see you are still bitter over whatever bit your bum back then and still live it up to this day.

Software hasn't been the problem of FA for a very, very long time. The code and part of the the database has been optimized up to the point where there are no optimizations left to throw at it - all done with only one purpose - to make the website work on the hardware that is giving us the performance problems.
The server software has been finetuned to handle lots of connections effortlessly.

However, if you would have done a little bit of research you would have known by now that FA currently faces one hardware problem alone - the nvidia based gigabit network on the motherboard. It has been spoken off many times.
FreeBSD 6.x does not the stable drivers for that chipset( and neither does 7.x), so the network traffic takes a high toll of the total performance of the machine as packet processing is being done on the CPU as it seems. As a rough estimate, the CPU on the server makes ~40 thousand context switches a second, when as a normal working server does around 5-6.
This degrades total server performance significantly, up to the point where there there is simply no horsepower enough to handle the load, no matter how optimized your code is.

These network drivers are also unstable and sometimes cause kernel panics.
Add to that the problems with colocation facilities, and you have an explanation why FA is slow and goes offline at times.

And we are not throwing hardware at the ineffective code to take care of the performance problem.

That's funny, because I remember a lot more than that going wrong, particularly with ram problems and incompatible parts ordered numerous times. You got upset behind the scenes several times about those things, and rightfully so.

It's really amazing what a single pair of servers can do to power a state-wide university and how reliable they can be when they've got well-coded software on them, even when there's millions of daily visitors and hundreds of thousands of users with accounts. You guys really need to stop endlessly neglecting software.

EDIT: It also seems you have a problem of letting go of the past. What happened was years ago. It's time to move on.

I am sorry, but from the looks of things, you are the one who can not let go of the past, as you are the one who is digging in the archives of history.
Nobody stood still during all this time, and we have moved forward a long way. It it unfortunate that you do not see it.


What's the new server likely to be?

Two quad core Xeon L5420 2.5Ghz 50W processors on an Asus Z7S mobo would be the start of a good server.

Yes, something like that if we can afford it.

But as I have said in my previous reply to post on this thread, the final solution really depends on the amount of money we can raise. Given enough, we would probably end up getting two servers, one for www and other software needs, and another for a file server.
The former would boast something like 2xQuad core Xeons with 2GB of RAM, and RAID1 of 80Gig SATA drives, and the latter would probably have a dual core CPU, 16Gig of RAM for filesystem cache, and a RAID5 of 1TB drives for storage. This is the ideal world solution right now, unfortunately, it is too costly for us at the moment.
Time will tell however.
 

Delphinios

New Member
You just missed a great opportunity to pass the hat at Anthrocon.
A whole lot of furs with disposable income concentrated into one place?
You'd have gotten a good amount of donations, I'm willing to bet.
 

yak

Site Developer
Administrator
Poor communication between coding/admin staff, failure to properly research hosting facilities and hardware, poor site coding, lack of ability for admins to devote 100% of their time to FA (Not a fault, merely a byproduct of FA being a volunteer effort), and numerous other issues.

It's frustrating, because there -is- no one to communicate between the admins and the user base; something I would be happy to do, since I speak both tech and non-tech, and have nothing but time to devote. Between the user base not being as informed as they should be, and the apparent lack of communication between the FA staff themselves, it creates a lot more problems than should exist, and tends to stimulate the spreading of rumors. :p

Poor communication between coding/admin staff <-- yes
failure to properly research hosting facilities and hardware <-- overall, yes, but not really like that.
poor site coding <-- not. coding hasn't been the problem of FA for a very long while.
lack of ability for admins to devote 100% of their time to FA <-- yes, especially when their involvement is critical.
and numerous other issues <-- there is really only one issue at the moment really, the hardware.

Also, you can always speak to me if you feel you have to know things. I will not tell you everything of course, some things are not to be spoken of.
 

yak

Site Developer
Administrator
I agree with Verix on this one, there needs to be more investigation into the coding as a possible issue with the site, not the hardware. I mean, if it really isn't coding that's an issue, even beyond the current critical failure, then why don't we have a proper search feature? Why does the site constantly take a e-dump on watches, favorites, and messages that have yet to be looked at? And, more importantly, why do the coders for the site sometimes say that looking at the coding makes them depressed?

Search
* Because the database server will not be able to handle it. It requires more RAM for search indexes, (estimated 1.2GB) and it doesn't have it at the moment.
* Because FA people do not give their submission proper titles and descriptions. I have been working on improving search relevance for a month and a half now, and can not release something that is half working.
* Because, ironically, every time I have spare time to work on FA, it goes down and I am occupied with trying to fix it. I am not joking.
* Because I am not getting proper feedback from the admins.
 

Renian

Member
Hmm... I think I've seen some good ideas (commission profit sharing, paying for extra site services for example) and some bad ones (mandatory fee for example).

I have a feeling that so far the best one is paying for extra site services for two reasons. One, it means regular income for the site from people who want extra nifty little things like better load times, customization options, etc. Two, I wouldn't have to take it and pay for it because believe me, when you've had dial-up for over 3 years (I just switched to broadband last winter), you learn a lot of patience with general computer use.

As for the server issue stuff, take a lesson and learn some patience with it. Sometimes you just have to wait for the problem to be taken care of without causing more problems later.
 

yak

Site Developer
Administrator
Good! I'm very glad that you are thinking about that. Allowing FA members to pay for extra services could benefit both them and FA. For example, I'd pay for a higher data transmission speed. I'd pay for some relief relief from your ill conceived photomorph rules - for example, being able to use properly licensed commercial animal head and tail photos in my photomorphs. I'm sure that some members would pay to be able to post a hundred pictures of their fursuit - which should not cause any problems so long as they pay their own way and then some and so long as 97 of them are posted to their Scraps so that they don't spam the Browse pages. Please don't put off thinking about this!

As unbelievable as it may sound, some of these featured are already being worked on. However, some are impossible right now due to hardware limitations, for example
100 pictures of photomoprhs are definitely possible, especially if FA will sport custom gallery folders and such - but we need additional hard drive space for that. I wouldn't want us to advertise a feature we would very soon find hard to support.

Hardware and bandwith are the most limiting factors that are deciding the probability of many of possible features on FA.

No kidding! One feature I would definitely be willing to pay for would be the ability to create different categories in my gallery. That's something I've been wanting for a while now.

This is something that is halfway done already.
 

Manacat

Member
I'm sorry, but with the recent outages, I've been less and less inclined to actually donate. Why donate to a site that's down more than it's up just for a "we might".

On what planet is FA down more than it is up?

As far as the features go they are coming eventually. If the popularity of the site continues to expand that means more bandwidth costs as well as less money for new equipment. The new features require both new hardware and software, and the software has been worked on for many months.

As far as the code goes:
http://forums.furaffinity.net/showthread.php?t=16307&highlight=ferrox+status

Granted you can't check the progress journals etcetera with FA down, but it's not like they are twiddling their thumbs doing nothing. This is not their job and I'm sure they put an enormous amount of time into FA. If you don't want to donate or can't donate then don't, but if you're going to be upset about something at least it should be grounded in reality. While there are outages they are nowhere near close to overtaking the up time.
 
pepole!
show some respect!
its an blessing that fa has bin going on for 3 years!
and i dont think u know how hard it is acctualy to keep fa up!
neither do i but please.
stop making threaths about oo the site is offline again....
show some respect
 

yak

Site Developer
Administrator
Unfortunately this would cost money to start but what if you offered prints for the FA artists to sell and take a profit off of each print?

I believe Dragoneer is working on that already.

Seconded.
Other things I would pay for:
Working search
Browse filters that would disallow art with certain tags
Randomized or customizable favorites
Multiple avatars
A "view all" option in galleries and favorites
More custom commission slots
A "list" option for submissions so I could select all and hit "open in new tabs"
Different color schemes (actually I like dark, but other people would probably pay for this)
A discount for FAU attendance
A daily randomized "featured subscriber" on the front page

There's probably more that I'm not thinking of. But really, if it were a low amount on a yearly basis (like livejournal for example) I'd be happy to be a subscriber for only a few extra perks. I think a lot of other people would be as well.


Here's a thought: Two, three times a year, why not send a bulk note to all users asking for donations? That would probably bring in more donations than the button on the front page.

Working search, Randomized or customizable favorites, Multiple avatars, A "view all" option in galleries and favorites, More custom commission slots, A "list" option for submissions so I could select all and hit "open in new tabs" and Different color schemes .....

... are all possible and relatively easy to implement.

Some of them like multiple avatars, view all option and others means increased resource utilization on FA, and without better site funding are not possible right now. However, if they became a payed for "perks" there will be funding to support them.

We have considered the path of subscription accounts before, but the progress never really gotten anywhere. Given the recent happenings, when this is all over, we will return to that.
 

yak

Site Developer
Administrator
Beyond the potential of corruption within the kernel and device drivers on the data server, I don't see where software could be an issue given the current evidence (especially since, being the data server, how the main server's backend code operates doesn't really reflect on its own kernel-level functionality).

And even then, a corruption is not something that happens completely at random. Something could potentially be seriously wrong even then.

The problem with the hardware right now is in incompatible network card and drivers for it.
Software packet processing kills the CPU, and kernel panics at random. The server does not have an expansion slot for a standalone 2 port NIC, as the space is occupied by the RIAD card.
 

yak

Site Developer
Administrator
Okay, I don't really follow.

Why is FA down so often?

I don't understand tech speak, and I don't mean any disrespect, it's just... I have absolutely no idea why FA is down all the time. Other websites get millions more pageviews per day than FurAffinity, and they're all doing fine... What exactly is the problem? Not enough money? Insufficient hardware? Bad coding? Poor choice in server hosts? Hackers?
I've read this whole thread and all I've gotten from it is technical mumbo-jumbo that makes no sense to me whatsoever and the same old conversations that happen EVERY time there is an outage.

I just want to know... WHAT'S GOIN' ON guys? Can somebody please answer in plain text what it is about FurAffinity that makes it so prone to outages? :/

In plain and simple terms, FA is running on shitty hardware.

FA can not afford non-shitty hardware because it costs too much. And FA does not have time to save up for better hardware because the shitty hardware craps out and a fast solution has to be found to bring the website back online.

This time I am trying to break the trend, but my possibilities and their extent greatly depend on user support in this donation drive.
 
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