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#1 Ken White

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 07:06 PM

Okay, at this point I'm just waiting on the final quote.

Talked to my buddy Ivan, who runs Subhosting, the folks who host our servers (and more importantly, do tech support and give me guidance when needed...). Gave him a list of what we needed, including specs for the movie script, the cloud storage specs, the new forum software specs, etc. etc.

He's got his tech guys going over it to make sure that everything will run TOGETHER on the server (everything runs fine, of course, by its lonesome, but ports, php settings, etc. etc. may conflict.) As he said, selling me a server is easy, but he wants to make sure that it does everything we need it to do, and will need it to do in the future.

So I should hear from him within the next few days or so. If there are conflicts, I imagine he'll recommend a pair of servers, with the conflicting applications on different boxes. Doesn't make any difference from the frontend, since I can configure two servers to belong to a virtual host (tmunderground.com), to keep everything under the TMU umbrella (except maybe for TMUniversity - that's one aspect of the new TMU that we might want to be standalone with its own URL (with plenty of linkage to the main TMU site)).

Best guess at this point? Next week for the move, or just possibly the following week, depending on how the movement of data goes. It will probably mean some limited downtime (couple of hours or so, both forums and movie site in maintenance mode to keep new data from being added during the move), but when that's done, we'll clean up any loose ends, make sure that everything is working, then wait for July for stage two, with the new forum software and beginning work on the new movie site software.

Till then, I'll keep watching the skies....


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#2 Ken White

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 02:48 PM

Alrighty then....

I'm currently playing chicken with Ivan and subhosting, since I don't have a quote/configuration I'm happy with. I've let him/them know that if I can't get to a happy place with subhosting, I have no problem packing up my stuff and moving on to another host. Which is true. It's not gamesmanship. As much as I would like to stay with subhosting, we need to move forward, and the server move is the foundation of all that's to come. So if I don't get it from subhosting, I'll get it from somebody else.

I've already started the research on going with someone else, and I don't believe I'll have any problem getting what we need.

So here's the updated timeline:

I'm giving subhosting until Monday, 15 June to come to a meeting of the minds. IF that happens, we stay with subhosting, and the server move will happen very soon. This is my preferred outcome, since other than Ivan's occasional flakiness, they've been solid as a host, and they have people on staff who can do development on our movie site development/integration.

If that DOESN'T HAPPEN, the server move will have to wait till the end of the month. I've already, obviously, paid subhosting for this month's services, and my thought was that when we made the move, current + difference = new server. That was what I budgeted for in this last pre-Social Security month, about $300, of which I've already paid half for current hosting.

A new host will, of course, require the full amount (let's say $300), which I won't have again till the the 30th. Annoying, but I'm not going to let the delay slow down our move schedule. Instead of a month/six weeks of shakedown with everything on the new server BEFORE we go to the new forum software, and the new movie site software (which probably won't deploy till August anyway), we'll have roughly 15 days - first Social Security payment will come 15 July, and that's when I go on a buying spree.

In simple terms, we will make the server move in the next three weeks, either staying with subhosting or moving on. Stage two will begin mid-July on schedule.

So we'll see how things play out between now and Monday.

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#3 thebiz

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 05:50 PM

Thanks for keeping us in the loop Ken!

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#4 Ken White

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 04:48 PM

Update:

Ivan was apparently on the road for the past two weeks, in Munich and Dallas, setting up new datacenters, so that's where our wires crossed. Finally got back to me today, and here's what he's offering:

Server 1

DELL SERVER
2 x 6 CORES (12 cores total + HT)
48 GB MEMORY
4 x 480 GB SAS 15.000 RPM - RAID 10 (hardware raid)
20 TB traffic
1 Gbit network to internet

Server 2

DELL SERVER
2 x 6 CORES (12 cores total + HT)
48 GB MEMORY
8 x 480 GB SAS 15.000 RPM - RAID 10 (hardware raid)
20 TB traffic
1 Gbit network to internet

In service it's also included next

2 TB of data backup (offsite)
Full support
Migration included (all curent setups etc)

Price for all above $379 per month


Obviously it's about $80 higher than I was thinking, which is a downside. Frankly, I think the second server doesn't have to be quite as hefty in cpu and memory (though the almost-4 terabytes of storage is pretty tasty - along with almost 2 terabytes of storage on the first server). The script I'm looking at (Viewshark) has a multi-server component, so we can encode on server one, and store the encoded movies on server 2. I'm also figuring that the OwnCloud stuff will be on server 2 as well, and the space will allow me to give everybody a good amount of cloud storage for their files.

On the upside, Ivan indicated that his guys can configure the two powerful servers to work together on high-resource tasks like encoding, thus sharing the load and making it all fast and smooth. Another upside is that we're getting this for almost $200 less than what it would normally go for (and having been researching a lot over the past few days, I know how much servers cost) for the price of a "Hosting by subhosting.net" backlink on the various parts of TMU.

So I don't know. I can probably swing an extra $80, moreso after the first couple of months when my buying spree of new movie script and new forum software is done. I told him I'd have an answer for him (either go with this or go back to negotiation) by Monday the 15th. And because of the extra expense, if we go this way we'll need to wait till the end of the month to make the move, since I was budgeting for around $300 this month, with half already gone to this month's hosting, and I would like to eat for the rest of the month.

I realize this is all kind of technical and of little actual interest to most of you who just want a solid and shiny new TMU at the end of the process, but I'm interested if anyone has any thoughts, for or against, before I make my final decision on whether to go with this or not.

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#5 Zeke365

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:38 PM

(On the upside, Ivan indicated that his guys can configure the two powerful servers to work together on high-resource tasks like encoding, thus sharing the load and making it all fast and smooth. Another upside is that we're getting this for almost $200 less than what it would normally go for (and having been researching a lot over the past few days, I know how much servers cost) for the price of a "Hosting by subhosting.net" backlink on the various parts of TMU.)




I know it tech stuff which a little confusing but is configuring a third option to the two or does the price end being the same either way, kind of like the two severs working together would that lower the cost or not?

#6 thebiz

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:25 PM

80$ a month is nothing to sneeze at on top of the expected outlay.

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#7 Ken White

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:38 PM

No, that's part of the whole deal - with two servers, working together, data can be passed back and forth easily through batch files, so the resources of both physical machines are in use when needed.

At the end of the day, it's just another roll of the dice for me. I'm betting that with a new movie script, new forum, and lots of new features, from cloud storage to members to live movie nights and film festivals, that TMUnderground will thrive. Not immediately, obviously. But let's say by the 10th anniversary of TMOA next February, the true anniversary of this community.

Now this may be an easy roll, or it may be a hard eight. I don't know. But I've been rolling the dice for 9+ years, and have had pretty good luck...

In January 2006, I rolled the dice when I came up with the idea of TMOA Radio, and took it live in February. Was it going to work? Were people going to listen? Or was I going to be out $500 for the streaming software and a mixing board I ended up not needing after all?

In July 2008, I rolled the dice when I decided to start up TMUnderground.com when the Lionhead servers were down. Were people going to want to use something other than TMO? When the TMO servers came back up, would anyone stick around? Or was I going to be out a couple of hundred bucks and many hours for the script and hosting?

In August 2008, I rolled the dice when I added these forums to the mix. Were people going to use them? Or were they going to continue to congregate on the TMO forums, leaving me out the couple of hundred bucks for the vBulletin license.

In January 2010, I rolled the dice that the community would continue to grow, so I moved from my hosting that was costing about 75 bucks a month to the current hosting that costs double that. Was the extra money going to be well spent, especially since I had just retired and was (unbeknownst to me) on the fast track to financial collapse?

In every case, I rolled what I needed and we got where we needed to go. So I look at this as just more of the same. If I have to spend $80 more bucks than I planned, I'll suck it up and we'll see how the dice fall.

Edited by kuroken, 11 June 2015 - 08:01 PM.

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#8 thebiz

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:51 PM

Snake Eyes!


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#9 Ken White

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 07:59 PM

Snake Eyes!


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Let's hope not....

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#10 Johnny Ex

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 09:22 PM

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#11 macwemyss

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 09:24 PM

What would the possibility be of organising some sort of TMU revival fundraiser/kickstarter? Maybe base it around a one-off TMOA show or something? I know I would like to donate towards this and I'm sure plenty of others would too. Or failing that maybe a subscription service? Not something that would limit anybody's enjoyment of the site, just an option to donate if people wanted to.. I know I already have a paypal thing set up with you but I think it's only something like $10 a year so I'd like to be able to do more to help. Appreciate all the work you're putting into finding the best solution Ken :)
"Mac is a super-talented frickin genius" - Chris62

#12 Ken White

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 10:01 PM

As I've mentioned here and on the shows in the past, I have a certain queasiness about the whole idea of donations in the first place. There's a donate button (or at least there used to be - it seems to have disappeared....I wonder why....it's still there in the settings.....WTF!) which I put there specifically because people showed an interest. And I can't lie - the donations over the past few years have been helpful and taken a bit of the load off of me (even the 85 cents you donate each month, Mac....it's okay, you're a Scotsman and we all know how tight the Scots are....$10 bucks a year probably seemed perfectly reasonable....:batman:...LOL)

But like I've said before, this is my hobby, as well as my way of paying forward to a group of folks who've made my golden years far more enjoyable than they have any right to be....except for that whole prostate cancer thing.... I prefer to carry the financial burden, since that and the backend technical work pretty much sums up what I bring to the community table (Monk brings the disgusting green bean casserole...) So the thought of a fundraiser kind of thing gives me hives, and borders on emasculating Daddy.

My solution for a balance between emasculation and repeatedly stomping on my own scrotum through financial mismanagement after I retired was the now-missing donate button. (and I think it's time to move on from the emasculation analogy, don't you?). The donate button was there for those who wanted to use it. For a short period around four years ago, when my finances were at their lowest ebb, I actually mentioned it on shows, and encouraged people to put some coin in my cup. But as I've recovered and gotten a handle on the whole "spending when you're making half what you were" thing, it has been less important. It's nice when I get an email from PayPal telling me somebody has sent me money, and it does get used. But it's no longer essential, or the thing keeping us from going under.

The donate button will return (if I can figure out how to get it back - or I can use a different donate system that I got that seemed too complicated, so I never messed with it.) And when we move to IPBoards in late July, maybe they have a spiffy donate button or system or whatever that I'll deploy. NOT because I absolutely need it these days, but because people do like to donate. I do it on other sites if I've got an extra 10-20 bucks.

But a fundraiser DEVOTED to bringing in donations is just not something that I'd feel comfortable with. I'm really not psychologically suited to begging.

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#13 thebiz

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 12:59 AM

What if you auctioned off spare parts that fell off during cancer....

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#14 Ken White

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 02:51 AM

Lot #23. A cancerous prostate. One owner. Includes one inch of urethra. Can I get twenty for it. Twenty, twenty, twenty....

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#15 rgr

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 03:29 AM

FWIW, it sounds like a pretty good deal, but I get the budget issues. It seems like charging something somewhere along the line is reasonable. If you charged a dollar a month for some premium feature and got 100 people to pay, that would make it better than a wash. You could offer live over the web cooking lessons from Monk once a month as a premium benefit. ;)

#16 Ken White

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 04:30 PM

FWIW, it sounds like a pretty good deal, but I get the budget issues. It seems like charging something somewhere along the line is reasonable. If you charged a dollar a month for some premium feature and got 100 people to pay, that would make it better than a wash. You could offer live over the web cooking lessons from Monk once a month as a premium benefit. ;)

I'll mention that to Monk...

One of my thoughts about lowering the costs a bit is seeing what effect lowering the bandwidth on both machines would have. I'd love to have 20 terabytes going out a month on the machines, but we won't be anywhere near that for quite a while, if ever. Right now, the movie site is moving only 13-14 GIGs a month (though obviously we've got the fact that a lot of people embed due to issues with uploading, etc. AND we're in the calm before the hopeful storm of what's to come with the changes). The other sites (forums, OwnCloud, my personal stuff) run about 4 gigs a month.

Like I said, should my "roll of the dice" pay off, we'll be using considerably more bandwidth, especially on the movie site. (As a point of reference, during the 2008-2011 period, we were using 150-300 gigs a month, still well below 20 TB). The reason I believe we'll need more than that is the new script - it will allow full 720 uploads and displays, and there's also the ability to make films downloadable (which is something we'll need to discuss - I have no problems personally letting people download anything I've put here for offline viewing, but others might have issues with it....). Both of which will dramatically increase the amount of bandwidth used.

Could we hit 20 TBs? No clue. But I think we can certainly cut the amount of bandwidth in half for both machines in the beginning - bandwidth is easy to reallocate should we find ourselves reaching the 10 TB mark, and if it will make a measurable difference, I see no reason to pay for what we're not using.

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#17 Ken White

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 01:52 PM

Okay, so cutting bandwidth wouldn't have done squat - 20 TB/server is their standard and it's baked into the price. So be it.

Ivan did say he could drop the price $10, so we're down to $370 a month. Not optimal, but it should be doable for me. Current cost + no car payment + pension cost of living increase in July = the servers. So come what may, it won't get me down to seeds and stems, so to speak.

Two weeks from today the process will begin. Two weeks after that, the first social security payment arrives. Assuming all is good with that and the government hasn't thrown me any surprises, I buy the movie script:

ViewShark Multimedia Bundle 2 - $350 $250

Our Multimedia Bundle 2 package will help you save more money and get your multi media website up and running quickly, without you having to worry about installing the application or configuring the server.
Save $50 on video grabber + $100 on package bundle.


  • One Domain License
  • Template Extensions
  • Multimedia Module
  • Multi Server Streaming Module for Multimedia
  • Video Grabber Module (Embed Plugin + Download Plugin)
  • Server Configuration
  • Lighttpd Setup
  • Application Setup
  • Custom Branding

and the IP Boards forum software ($275 for forum/blog app/download app - might add their Content Management System app, Pages, for another $50 if it look like something we want to use - maybe as a sort of TMU central, the landing page when you go to TMUnderground.com, with RSS links to new movies, new posts, new events, and so on - something that will bring all the aspects of TMU together in one place and give a community member or prospective community member a quick overview of everything that's going on in the TMUniverse.)

The new movie site software will go to one of the IPs on the server for development. I need to get hold of Nick (Tarison) and see if he's still up for doing the database conversion from Sharemixer to Viewshark. That gets all the users, comments, channels, etc. into the new script. After that, I need to get the file system right for Viewshark (all movies in user directories as opposed to all movies in one gigantic directory) Not something I want to do manually, so I'll either get the subhosting guys to do it or I'll hire a php guy to build the file system based on the database user information. It may even be possible to automagically move the movies from the one Sharemixer directory to the multiple Viewshark directories by reading the database and moving files based on the information therein. If not, I do it manually, which is going to SUCK, but is little more than grind work for a couple of days.

When the movie site is up and running in the development space (and all members will have the opportunity to watch while it takes shape), we move it to a live space (I'd say TMUnderground.com, but everything will be TMUnderground.com, so the movies will just be a part of it) and shake it down.

On or before August 19th, when my next social security check arrives, we'll work in the new everywhere chat (which is there wherever you are in the TMUniverse) and the live component (which is little more than a static page with the embedded live player and embedded live chat - as well as whatever the hell else we might want there...suggestions welcome).

And along the way, we shake it all down, fix things that don't work, etc. Things like the radio streaming page and the rebranded Owncloud (TMUCloud) will be there pretty much from the gitgo. TMUniversity will follow just a little bit later, since that's going to take some setup work, and then recruiting and training instructors.

And there you have it. In two and a half months, this place will be totally transformed in all ways but the people. And hopefully that transformation will bring in more people. If we build it, they will come, and if they don't...well, I have the grape Flavoraid...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRfDE9bndfg


Questions, comments, thoughts, catcalls, whatever are, as always, appreciated. Otherwise, just buckle your seatbelts and don't try to exit the car while it's still in motion.

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#18 Zeke365

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 10:02 PM

one question how about TMOA radio or indy radio could that be implemented into the site to be able to have radio shows again something I rather miss?

#19 Ken White

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 08:16 PM

Yeah, the radio stuff will be fully integrated - then all we need are people to do shows!

I'm interested in doing a show again, from a "doing it" perspective, though I have no thoughts at the moment as to what kind of show it would be. Eight years of the Sunday Show got that particular format out of my system, and I don't have any thoughts right now as to what I would like to do. Something different, something fun. That's about as far as I've thought it out. Alone, with Monk, with somebody else....no idea. And in any case, right now I'm focused on the timeline of the next few months of TMU. After that, I can think about what I'd like to do personally.

Here's a question for anyone who cares to chirp in - all of our stuff will be under the TMUnderground.com umbrella. I'm wondering if subdomains are the way to go, so you'd have movies.tmunderground.com and forums.tmunderground.com and radio.tmunderground.com as the specific "module" locations.

On one level, to most people it's not going to matter, because they will go to a landing page at tmunderground.com, for example, then click whatever they want - movie site, forums, radio, live stuff, cloud storage, whatever. So it's not really a big deal for the end using community members.

The reason it's in my head is because tomorrow I need to put together the game plan for the tech guys at subhosting.com, the people doing the actual hosting and server management. They'll be moving all of our domains over to the new servers at the end of the month, and I need to let them know what I want where, and how I want it. I know how virtual hosts work (one domain spread over two+ servers), but have never messed with actually configuring them, especially in CentOS linux - my shop at work was Windows only.

So I'll probably leave it in their hands how to best configure it with everything under tmunderground.com, but may suggest subdomains as a solution. Hence this RFC (contract-speak for "Request For Comments").

I think we all have the same goal (unified site, single site login), at least those who have expressed an opinion. But how we do it is, I guess, still open to discussion if anyone has anything to say about it. If not, I'll act unilaterally as "The Ken" of this kingdom...

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#20 rileyman

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 03:26 AM

It's probably been close to a decade since I've had to configure a web server with sub-domain support. But I'd confirm with both the software devs and the hosters that everything will work smoothly with single sign-on. When I had to do it, the sub-domains were each assigned their own context, and each context was sort of its own site.

Sub-domains do look nifty from a user browsing perspective. Just depending on how things have progressed since I did it in the dark ages, it might wind up being easier to just have "http://www.tmunderground.com/movies/", ".../radio", etc.

Now... if the devs are using say, a node.js front-end with REST services for the back-end, you'd be golden either way. :)

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