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OrchidTalk Community Gets New High Speed Server

This is a discussion on OrchidTalk Community Gets New High Speed Server within the Using the Boards forums, part of the Managing the OrchidTalk Experience category; Today, January 5, 2010, we finally finished our move from the server we have been ...

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  1. #1
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Cool OrchidTalk Community Gets New High Speed Server

    Today, January 5, 2010, we finally finished our move from the server we have been using for over two years to a new datacenter and a new dedicated server.

    Recently, because of the popularity of our community, we began having server lag issues. Currently, we have anywhere from 100 - 400+ guests, members, and search engines online at any given time. This requires lots of processing resources and bandwidth. Because of the high demands for resources, we decided to upgrade to a new dedicated server to host our web presence.

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    The new server is an Intel Xeon machine with dual quad-core processors rated at 2.66GHz per core, and 8GB of RAM. Our port speed has been increased from 10Mbits to 100Mbits per second and we will now be writing to two 500GB hard disks for continued, backup redundancy. To put this into perspective, our setup for the last two years was one-fourth as powerful and contained only 2GB of RAM with a single 80 GB hard drive. This is a huge leap!

    People on broadband, cable modem, T-1, or DSL (who comprise 80+ % of our members, according to Google analytics,) should see a marked increase all across the forum, especially during times when the forum is busy. This is also due to the increase in server memory from 2GB to 8GB. Photos and pages will load almost as fast as if they were located on your home computer!

    Also, over the last few days, we have been optimizing the new server with enhanced security features to keep our community safe. Our new server has a firewall that has already blocked several Denial of Service attacks within its first few days! And, the new mail system sends notifications on new posts every few minutes if you subscribe to instant e-mail notifications!

    In addition to the new server, mail system & firewall, within a month or two, we will be upgrading our community forum software to the most current release available. We purchased it a few weeks ago and have already begun work porting all of the features we love from this community into the new software on our test site. We will even be introducing a new 'look' to our forum. While keeping the same colors and theme, we will be using lots more CSS to replace buttons and other images that your browser currently has to download. With the new software, after a first download of site style, further accesses will simply be rendered - no repeated downloads necessary, so increased speed!

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    Our page layout will be softened to reflect the more laid-back and friendly attitude of our members as well. It is a long and tedious job because our forum software has been completely rewritten and we are having to learn how to program using the new coding.

    One of the coolest things about the new software is that it uses many of the new web 2.0 features we all love on sites like Google, Facebook, CNN, etc... We are learning so much while programing and converting! The new forum software investment was high ($250.00), but we will have access to any security updates for the next year without additional renewal costs.

    If you notice a marked improvement and would like to help us reduce our out-of-pocket costs to lease the server, please, please consider becoming an OrchidTalk Subscriber or making a donation to help us keep our community up to date and online.

    To become a Friend of RVO subscription holder, the OrchidTalk Pals Subscription is only $5.00 per month. If enough members subscribe, it will make a huge difference in our ability to stay with this high-speed server, and your contribution would be hugely appreciated--not only by us, but by everyone in our OrchidTalk neighborhood.

    So, thank you all again for being here, and very special thanks to those members who are already Friends of RVO subscribers--those members with colored usernames throughout the forum. Enjoy our new speedy community and be sure to PM me if you have any questions or experience any problems with the forum!

    Cheers,
    BD

  2. #2
    the dragonn's Avatar
    the dragonn is offline Senior Member
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    WOW!!!! That is some upgrade Bruce. You really do look after us all. Can't wait to see the new layout.

  3. #3
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    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    As usual, thanks for the hardwork! I can already tell the site is working much faster.

  4. #4
    Lizgeo is offline Senior Member
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    BD,
    Thank you for the hardwork, and for providing a place for us to enjoy orchids and learn from each other.

  5. #5
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the support and encouraging words.

    Cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
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    walingwaling is offline Senior Member
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    wow, i didnt even attempt reading the whole post, dont understand all that technical stuff...
    but it shows how much effort you put in bruce and many thanks for that!!!

  7. #7
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walingwaling View Post
    wow, i didnt even attempt reading the whole post, dont understand all that technical stuff...
    but it shows how much effort you put in bruce and many thanks for that!!!
    Thanks, Ron. I guess I was excited to tell everyone the good news.

    Cheers,
    BD

  8. #8
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    Default just an update...

    I wanted to update you one the progress we are making on the total redesign of this website as mentioned in post one of this thread. Over the last 6 months many improvements have been made to the software we use to host this community. We have been working behind the scenes on our test site to learn the new coding and have been updating and reprograming many of the features here for our community as well as adding others. We are very close to the launch of the redesign. I plan to share a few photos of the coming site when time allows.

    At this time though, I want to ask that all members and guests who access this site using Internet Explorer 6 (which is end of life in terms of software) to please update their browser to at least IE 7. Internet Explorer 8 is the most current Internet Explorer browser and the new design which is css (Cascading Style Sheets) based will display the best in that version of IE. Our new site will not support Internet Explorer 6. Less than 10% of our visitors, according to Google, use IE6, so this message is for a small portion of the members and visitors. That said, for those of you who use Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome - you are really in for a treat. Our new site layout has been optimized for those browsers- especially Firefox. I recommend using Firefox above all other browsers for not only security but because it will display and function the best in our new design. I will be testing Safari soon also as we have several mac users that access the site using the Safari browser. Firefox works on both Mac and PC.

    When we do upgrade, it will take 4 - 6 hours to complete the process and the site will be closed during that time. (I will probably be holding my breath all that time too.. lol!) Closing the site is necessary because as I previously mentioned, almost every bit of code has been completely re-written and re-formatted. Our site will be XHTML compliant and will open it up to a wider possible support for other user agents (web browsers, hand-held devices, gadgets, etc..), such as screen readers for the blind, faster - more code friendly mobile access, and more. This is important since OrchidTalk is really a world community. We have members and guest that access this site from all over the planet and from all walks of life.

    Anyway, I don't want to bore you with technical details, but did want to let you know that work has been progressing and we are very close to the upgrade.

    One thing that will have to happen is that we will have to learn how to use the new features and the updated regular features. Posting photos will be easier - but very different. The buttons we are used to seeing as images, will be replaced with css rendered buttons. I guess I am saying that it will take a little getting used to the new format, but it should be fun and I hope to develop some simple tutorials to share before or just after the upgrade.

    Okay, if you are still reading this, I thank you. I can't wait to share all the months of work with you all.

    Cheers,
    BD

  9. #9
    delphiguy's Avatar
    delphiguy is offline Senior Member
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    Thats good news BD.... cant wait for the new version to roll out.

  10. #10
    ouydown is offline Junior Member
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    As usual, thanks for the hardwork! I can already tell the site is working much faster.

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