(Hopefully) more stable server configuration implemented

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(Hopefully) more stable server configuration implemented

Post by rhester »

Tonight, I moved from VMware Workstation to VMware Server for my Debian server hosting (where HandBrake happens to reside). This was done for several reasons:

Cost. I can't afford the further upgrade churn for VMware Workstation. Rumor has it that Workstation 6 is just around the corner, and it's just become too much for me.

Performance. Under the old system, the virtual machine was run as a low-priority background task, which means when you guys were hitting the server pretty hard, people at the console didn't see the effect. Conversely, when someone at the console was keeping the real box busy, the virtual machine suffered. The VM now runs as a full-priority Windows service process and should no longer unnecessarily suffer ill effect from someone hammering the PC at home. ;)

Reliability. The way I got VMware Workstation to work as a "server" was an incredibly hacked-together package of scripts, tools to force things to run as daemons (services) that aren't, tools to hide the VMware console user interface, tools to change its priority behind its back, custom-written scripts to actually allow a graceful shutdown when I have to restart Windows...essentially three years of cobbling together half-assed solutions across two major releases of VMware. That's not to say that they didn't work - they did, and quite frankly our uptime was miraculous given the bubblegum-and-toothpicks approach - but it was time for something more reasonable and maintainable. VMware Server is an enterprise-class solution that works very much like professional VMs/LPARs/other means of slicing up hardware - right down to the ability for me to open up a remote console from halfway around the world to troubleshoot a networking issue when I can't ssh in. It's good stuff. It's solid. And now it's ours.

So, I hope I didn't upset anyone too badly with the not-very-well-planned upgrade, but I'm happy to report that it went reasonably smoothly and that the site is a lot better off for it. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we continue to experience growing pains here and there - but I'd prefer that to no growth at all! =)

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