The Perfect Server

The Perfect Server

Searching for the perfect server

As you probably already know we joined the network a few days ago. Playnet provided us with brand new servers and an all-so-awesome 10Mbit pipe. Before we joined Playnet, though, we had our own servers. You may have seen Anandtech's "Search For The Perfect Servers", which basically gave a summary of all their past servers. We decided to redo this - Apu Style. Welcome to Apu's Search For The Perfect Server.

Last summer I decided I wanted to make a computer hardware site. I have been around computers all my life and, in fact, computers have almost become my life. What better way to compliment my passion then create a computer related website to share my knowledge with all you readers out there =D.

After a few months of developing the web site with the help of Ptheborg, we were ready to go live. I've known a guy named "lpn" for quite some time. lpn is the owner of Lamp-Post Networks. I've had websites hosted on his servers in the past with no problems. So I decided I would hire him to host my site.

The first server was actually a virtual host on his machine. This only lasted for a week. Within the first four days we went live bandwidth usage went up 500% on their machines. We were transferring 7 gigabytes a day! Something had to be done.

Celcho has some relations with Florida's News Channel here in Tallahassee, Florida. He worked there over the summer, and had gotten to know the administrator there very well. FNC had a 3Mbit voice-over-ip internet connection through their fiber optic OC-3 connection. FNC uses their OC-3 connection to transfer the video all over the state of Florida. It's the only all-digital news channel in the world. We decided we would "drop off" a computer in their server room to become our webserver - all for free.

We started raising parts for the server from everyone we knew. We got a motherboard and processor from our good buddy Brett Thompson, and Celcho bought the case and CD-ROM drive. I provided the RAM and hard drives.

After the first computer was assembled it ended up being a 333MHz AMD K6-2 with 128MB of RAM and a 6.4GB 5400RPM hard drive. It wasn't anything super-powerful, but as it stood, we didn't need anything super-powerful. We set up the machine and transferred the DNS records to the new host. We were fully set up at Florida's News Channel with our own Co-Located server. Unfortunately as hits rose, so did the CPU and disk drive usage. The server couldn't handle all the traffic, and it was time to upgrade. My home computer at the time was an Athlon 700MHz overclocked to 850MHz with an Abit KA7-100. I decided to bring this motherboard and processor to FNC and we replaced the old K6-2. To take the place of my home computer I bought an Athlon Thunderbird 800MHz with an Abit KT7.

Now we had a pretty decent server - an 850MHz Athlon with 128MB of RAM on an OC-3.

The Athlon was capable of dishing up all the hits with clock cycles to spare. We used this server with Redhat Linux installed for over a month and a half. Luckily I was able to find a few really cool guys in IRC on EFnet. Big shouts to RaverGeek, Grnd-Wire, and SphereII for all their help in security and administration on the box.

Then, two weeks ago Playnet contacted me with an offer to become an Affiliate. Playnet is a new network which was looking for a few good sites to sign up for their launch. I don't think I'm allowed to say exactly what their servers are (because I'm under NDA), but they are really cool. Apu's will be up for a long time now on a fast server and a huge internet connection.

After all is said and done, though, it was a team effort. Without the help of Celcho for use of his connections at FNC, Ptheborg for designing most of the website, Grnd-Wire, SphereII, and RaverGeek for all their help in keeping the Apu's server up and running, we wouldn't be around. There's the story of our servers, no Sun Systems or Alpha's, just plain old regular computers doing extraordinary things.
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