Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

26 Apr 2014


Today I completed the last migration of a Debian GNU/Linux system from version 6.x (aka Squeeze) to version 7.x (aka Wheezy). One system was this server, which I migrated to a new hosting platform, today's migration was an Viglen MPC box that someone was using when the upgrade was initially due.

The upgrade was painless (as usual) and everything on the new box is working perfectly as expected.

25 Apr 2014


My hosting provider Bytemark started to develop a new virtual server technology some time ago. It's marginally cheaper and marginally more powerful than my current solution. It has many scalability advantages as well but they are not as important to me as the fact I was due to upgrade my existing server and migrating to a new box has many advantages over an in situ upgrade.

I signed up to their free trial and was instantly impressed by both the technology and their customer support. I know there are other good companies so in no way do I want to criticise them, but Bytemark are very good people to work with.

I built my new Debian box, installed the packages I wanted and ported the bits over from the old server over a few evenings. It took only a few hours, and in the process I was able to improve some of the layout and such of the new box and try out newer packages.

This week I updated the DNS records updating the box names and other than forgetting to switch my email server from listening local to listening to the network everything went very well. All that happened was email was backed-up for a few hours before it all arrived.

I've now stripped the old box down to it's minimal running configuration, deleted all my files, and I'm now filling the filesystem up with random junk before deleting the junk and switching the box off so that it can be returned to Bytemark.

22 Apr 2014

Hardware Score Card

Over the years I've had quite a few computers, starting with a Commodore 64 which was an "out of box failure" and had to be replaced straight away.

The next computer I bought was a Dell that had zero defects on delivery, zero defects within it's 3 year warranty and zero defects after that - to the best of my knowledge it's still working if I were to take it out of storage and boot it up!

Next came a Dell laptop (re-manufactured) that had zero faults on delivery, zero faults within it's warranty period but since then the bezel has cracked and there are three dead pixels on the screen. Again like the desktop it's still working today many years after it finished active service.

Then we have a pair of Digital Networks UK desktops (one that I'm using today). Zero faults on delivery, both Iiyama displays failed with the three year warranty and the DVD-ROM on one died and its power-supply has been swapped long after the warranty expired.

Next I have another Digital Networks UK desktop (used as a server), it's had a power-supply fail under warranty, and after the warranty period: one hard disk; the power-supply and the case fan have had to be replaced. It's also been somewhat prone to overheating under full load most of it's life.

Finally I have a Novatech laptop, which had a dead batter shortly after the end of the it's one year warranty period. Which I should have realised by law that it should have been a two year warranty and as such should still have been a warranty swap... Otherwise the laptop has and is still fine.

17 Apr 2014

New Boxes

At long last I've decided. I've ordered a shiny new DNUK Deskstar, desktop PC to replace my current DNUK Workstar system which has reached the end of it's useful life as a front line system. The new box is at least four times better in every respect: it has four cores compared with one; 8 GiB of RAM instead of 2 GiB; ten times the hard-disk capacity (which is also faster) and a solid state drive; hardware virtualisation and a drastically superior graphics card. It's also a Intel based system, all my previous DNUK boxes have had AMD processors. It will cost more money than the system it replaces, but a system of similar price (accepting inflation) would not have been sufficiently faster or balanced to make it worth buying.

I've also started the process of migrating this server off the current Bytemark virtual server onto their new BigV platform. The new system is faster, more scalable and slightly cheaper. It also allows me a pain-free upgrade to the latest version of Debian.