Specs for Haacked.com

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Once in a while folks ask me for details about the hardware and software that hosts my blog. Rather than write about it, a photo can provide all the details that you need.

There you have it.

trs-80

Well actually^TM^, my blog runs on a bit more hardware than that these days. Especially after the Great Hard-Drive Failure of 2009. As longtime readers of my blog might remember, nearly two years ago, this blog went down in flames due to a faulty hard-drive on the hosting server.

My hosting provider, CrystalTech (now rebranded to be the Web Services home of The Small Business Authority), took regular backups of the server, but I hosted my blog in a virtual machine. As it turns out, the backups did not include the VM because it was always “in use”. In order to backup a virtual machine, the backup needs to take special action to ensure that works.

Today, I still host with CrystalTech in a large part due to their response to the great hard-drive meltdown. First and foremost, they didn’t jump to blame me. They focused on fixing the problem at hand. In the past, I’ve hosted with other providers who excelled at making you feel that anything wrong was your fault. Ever been in a relationships like that?

Once things were settled, they worked with me to figure out what systematic changes they should make to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. Hard drives will fail. You can’t prevent that. But you can ensure that the data customers care about are backed up and verified.

Not only that, they hooked me up with a pretty nice new dedicated server. Smile

Even though they now are prepared to ensure VMs are backed up, I now host on bare metal, in part because my other tenant moved off of the server so I don’t really need to share it anymore. All miiiiiine!

Hardware

  • Case:2U server dedicated server
  • Processors: 2x Intex Xeon CPU 3.20 GHZ (1 core, 2 logical processors) x64
  • Memory: 4.00 GB RAM
  • OS Hard Drive: C: 233 GB RAID 1 (2 physical drives)
  • Data Hard Drive: D: 467 GB RAID 5 (3 physical drives)

Software

  • OS: Windows Server 2008 Datacenter SP2
  • Database: SQL Server 2008
  • Web Server: IIS 7 running ASP.NET 4
  • Blog:Subtext
  • Backup: In addition to the machine backus, I have a scheduled task that 7z archives my web directories and also takes a SQL backup into a backups folder. Windows Live Mesh syncs those backup files to my home machine.

This server hosts the following sites:

For some of these sites, I plan to migrate them to other cloud based solutions. For example, rather than have my own NuGet feed, I’ll just use a http://myget.org/ feed.

Even so, I plan to keep https://haacked.com/ on this hardware for as long as The Small Business Authority lets me. It’s a great way for me to keep my system administration skills from completely atrophying and I like having a server at my disposal.

So thanks again to The Small Business Authority (though I admit, I liked CrystalTech as a name betterSmile with tongue
out) for hosting this blog! And thank you for reading!

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Comments

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5 responses

  1. Avatar for Stacy
    Stacy November 18th, 2011
    I’ve hosted with other providers who excelled at making you feel that anything wrong was your fault. Ever been in a relationships like that?


    Yeah, I was married for 17 years. :)

  2. Avatar for Jeff Putz
    Jeff Putz November 19th, 2011

    What's your traffic like? That tends to give context about how hard the hardware is getting worked over. :) I liked Crystaltech. I had a box with them back in the day (2001?) and had the distinction of the most expensive dedicated server.
    Me, I run my stuff on a Gameboy. Not really. I actually got lucky when I ordered a "new" box from The Planet, which is now SoftLayer. They didn't have what I ordered available for provision, so they bumped me up to some insane quad-core Xeon thing with 4 gigs of RAM. Drives are just cheap IDE, C: with the site files and OS, SQL on D:. Real-time data backup isn't that important, so I push a backup nightly to S3. For the half-million page views a month, the whole thing is total overkill.

  3. Avatar for Jass
    Jass November 23rd, 2011

    While in the starting of my blogging I never cared about the hosting companies but later I discovered that if one day I got minor problem no body will trace out it easily. So i moved to Hostgator now I daily take backup to my blog to remain safe. Mine blog is hosted on Linux servers and giving me good return.

  4. Avatar for Mohamed Meligy
    Mohamed Meligy November 25th, 2011

    Interesting the timing of your post since I have been doing intensive research around hosting companies in last couple of months.
    Generally speaking, most of your specs are traditional ones for dedicated server, some of disk configuration might be a bit special / high end though.
    A question I can't avoid though is why you didn't consider a VPS server considered by the company itself?
    Not sure about your specific one, but many companies can give you a decent VPS with nice backup options for good amount of money. Windows guys are more lucky than Linux because we have a standard virtualization platform, Hyper-V, which makes it very hard to oversell virtual machines and hence to guarantee you get what you pay for. Some companies provide RAID 10 servers, and if things happen somewhere, they can very quickly move you to another physical server, etc..
    Would be nice to know why you didn't go down this route though?

  5. Avatar for haacked
    haacked November 26th, 2011

    @Mohammed I went with a physical server because when I first started hosting with them, Jeff Atwood and I were both hosting on the same box in separate VMs under our control. We had control of the physical machine and our individual VMs.
    In exchange for blogging about them once a year (with no editorial control by them, they said I can bash them if that's how I feel), we got a good deal. :)
    Jeff has since left to host on TypePad, but I've stuck around because having a server with these specs at my disposal is quite useful.