Geograph Blog ::

Jam lives again

By Barry Hunter

(Jam is the name of one of our servers. Which following a forum contest have been named along a Tea set theme. So it helps power the site along with Toast, Scone, Milk and Cream)

Jam has been in operation 24 hours a day, since mid 2006. For the first 5 years, it faithfully held the primary copy of the photographs. It had 1.5TB of disk space in a Raid 5 SATA array.

By the beginning of last year, it was getting noticeably slow, and also the available disk space was beginning to fill (the slowness was contributed to by the fullness of the disk). So a long term plan was hatched to get faster disks and more space.

The first part of the plan, was to move images to a new server - cream. This has faster SAS disks, as well as better hardware controller. Unfortunately at our price point we couldn't give it much more disk space - so Cream didn't relieve the disk space issue. So cream is/was just a temporally stopgap solution.

Now we had cream, jam, could be rebuilt. Its the same physical server but has more memory, bigger disks, and a new faster SATA controller. Its still not quite as fast as Cream, but by splitting files between servers - thumbnails and main images remain on cream, with the high resolution uploads being stored on Jam - we get best of both worlds (lots of space, and fast disks where required).

(at this point should take a moment out to mention World of Computers in Cambridge, they supply all our servers, and did the upgrade work on jam - which was far from straightforward - in part now due to its age. If looking for hardworking servers, do have a look at LinkExternal link )

So, for the first year of the project, we got by on 80GB of disks. The next 5 on 1.5TB. And now moving forward we have 6TB of primary storage. At current submission rates, thats enought for 6 years, but who can tell what submission rates will be even a week from now!

Tue, 5 Jun 2012 at 19:01

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