Server Problem : A Resolution?


AWSIt’s been a pretty annoying couple of days on the website server front.

The server locking up intermittently is one thing, and for all I know, maybe my fault? The incompetence of the hosting company is quite something else.

Just so you are aware why I was doing my nut yesterday, the hosting company had disabled my ability to force a power cycle of my dedicated server while they did a hardware test. They forgot to re-enable it when they finished. I rang to ask them to re-enable it and also power cycle to server. It took them over 70 minutes to achieve the power cycle and it was the following day before the interface to allow me to force a power cycle was enabled again. Amateurs!

They offered to give me a free month of hosting, but I refused. Last night I moved the whole thing to Amazon Web Services so that’s the new home for the website. I finished the build and testing, then flipped the DNS and went to bed, figuring the DNS propagation can take up to 24 hours, so why hang around. 🙂

Regarding AWS:

  • I’ve gone for a pretty small instance type at the moment. I’ll see how that goes and expand if needed. It seems OK to me at the moment.
  • It’s just a single VM for now. If that proves problematic I’ll consider adding another and shoving a load balancer in front of it all. I’ve had plenty of practice with load balancers recently. 🙂
  • It’s just in a single European data centre. I’ve gone for the cheap and cheerful approach of not paying for the Multi Availability Zone option. So when the data centre in Ireland goes down and I start complaining, remind me I’m a cheapskate. 🙂
  • My email is still being handled by the old clowns. I’ve got to find a new home for that.
  • I’m not sure how much this is going to cost at this point. I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days/weeks and decide if this is the right move. Once I’ve made a decision, I’ll buy a reserved instance of the appropriate size, which will reduce the costs a bit. Either that, or look for an alternative option that’s cheaper. 🙂

Fingers crossed.



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

2 thoughts on “Server Problem : A Resolution?”

  1. I’ve been using Amazon AWS for a long time now, have only had a few issues and annoyances. Not an expert on AWS by any means, I just like it to keep running with me having to get involved too often.

    I model the RI pricing in a very simple spreadsheet, which tells me whether to get a 100% up front, a partial up front, or a 0% up front RI (which still saves some money over the long term). I choose based on how confident I am that I’ll actually need the instance for the full 12 months or not.

    One thing to watch out for is that there is no validation of which Reserved Instance type you purchase – if you buy the wrong type, or select the wrong availability zone, they’ll happily take your money but you won’t get any warning that it’s not actually saving any money – if the RI doesn’t match a running instance, your instance will be charged at the On Demand rates.

    There is a report you can configure that will monitor your RI usage and tell you if you’re not taking full advantage, but it’s in retrospect and you don’t get immediate feedback.

    I experienced this problem once, bought an RI instance 100% up front for 12 months; 6 months in they changed something which for reasons I forget now required me to change the type of instance I was running. This meant my RI was no longer valid or useful and my instance was being charged with On Demand rates. An email convo with AWS Support resolved the issue and they refunded me in full plus some extra amount for the inconvenience, so there’s that.

    I’ve tried the Red Hat, SUSE Linux and Amazon Linux VMs. The Amazon Linux VMs are the cheapest and I’m starting to run more and more of them using their new Nano-size (AU$7 per month) instances as web servers.

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