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Christer
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Khemri Tomb Kings
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Record
59/24/37
Win Percentage
59%
Shambling Undead
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Shambling Undead
Record
51/5/10
Win Percentage
81%
Overall
[R]
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Overall
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71%
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2019

2019-04-14 23:33:08
rating 6
2019-04-07 16:59:39
rating 6
2019-04-07 00:55:26
rating 6
2019-01-08 15:27:38
rating 5.9
2019-01-05 02:58:18
rating 5.8

2018

2018-08-17 17:28:31
rating 6
2018-08-15 00:05:40
rating 6
2018-07-17 20:17:40
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2018-06-28 14:28:08
rating 5.9
2018-05-23 17:55:10
rating 6
2018-05-10 22:42:46
rating 6
2018-05-09 19:42:28
rating 6
2018-04-30 10:44:23
rating 5.8
2018-04-23 12:33:02
rating 5.8

2017

2017-04-23 18:06:35
rating 6
2017-04-06 23:00:56
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2017-04-03 19:06:00
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2017-03-29 22:35:46
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2017-03-25 16:18:39
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2017-03-11 21:24:26
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2017-02-14 14:23:58
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2017-02-10 14:54:03
rating 6

2016

2016-11-30 00:04:21
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2016-11-27 23:40:04
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2016-11-17 18:18:07
rating 6

2015

2015-09-06 23:59:26
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2015-01-22 13:10:32
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2015-01-19 21:20:53
rating 6
2015-01-10 19:03:45
rating 6

2014

2014-09-09 15:35:53
rating 6

2013

2013-04-26 11:48:40
rating 5.7

2012

2012-12-18 17:37:29
rating 5.9
2012-11-18 18:19:19
rating 6
2012-09-25 13:47:16
rating 5.6
2012-08-15 12:31:53
rating 5.9
2012-08-10 23:12:22
rating 5.9
2012-06-27 22:53:48
rating 5.9
2012-04-10 11:56:38
rating 5.9
2012-03-07 13:52:00
rating 5.9
2012-02-16 16:59:56
rating 5.9
2012-02-04 19:00:41
rating 5.3

2011

2011-07-25 23:32:43
rating 5.6
2011-05-23 13:12:52
rating 5.6
2011-02-04 14:26:18
rating 5.4

2010

2010-03-26 11:38:41
rating 5.1
2010-03-01 12:16:53
rating 5.6

2009

2009-12-08 16:40:30
rating 5.8

2008

2008-09-11 14:47:19
rating 4.1
2008-02-26 21:16:54
rating 5.3
2008-01-21 01:01:58
rating 5.6

2007

2007-11-06 21:23:14
rating 5.1
2007-10-16 00:26:11
rating 5.4
2007-09-30 17:10:03
rating 5.4
2007-09-30 12:01:42
rating 5.3
2007-08-09 12:14:57
rating 4.5
2007-08-06 12:02:52
rating 4.9
2007-08-03 17:56:21
rating 5.4
2017-02-10 14:54:03
33 votes, rating 6
Site hardware upgrade planning
In a forum thread a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was aiming to replace one or two of the servers of the site at some point this year.

None of the servers are currently showing signs of breaking down, nor do they lack performance or features so I'm not in a huge hurry for this. However, the firewall machine is getting to be quite old and it would be great to be able to replace the machine without the stress of having to do it immediately. My expectation for the life of a server is 4-5 years, meaning the firewall machine (deeproot) is far beyond this point; thus this post :)

In addition to deeproot, the web server (fungus) is another machine that's getting a bit on the old side and will be needing a replacement at some point (ideally this year or next).

This means I end up with a few different options for how to proceed with the replacement/upgrade:

1. Upgrade only deeproot, and deal with fungus in a year.
2. Upgrade both deeproot and fungus at the same time.
3. Upgrade both, but with a single (more powerful) machine that runs virtual machines.

There are a couple of factors that come into play in deciding which option I go for:

A. Cost. This is obviously always a concern. FUMBBL runs on hardware hand-picked to give a good mix between cost, reliability and performance. A deeproot replacement would cost roughly $1000 on its own (fairly low-end machine as it doesn't really need super performance on its own). Fungus, on the other hand, will need some more power in terms of CPU cores, memory and storage. I'm estimating roughly $1500 for a replacement. Building a virtual host machine to replace both would likely end up somewhere just north of $2000, depending on configuration. Whichever option I pick here, I'd end up doing a donation drive type thing to cover at least most of the cost.

B. Flexibility. A virtualized system adds flexibility which can be nice. For example, it would allow me to clone a system to do tests without risking breaking things on the live system (one example is upgrading the OS of the web server).

C. Simplicity. Having a bare-metal installation is very simple. Less components mean less things can go wrong.

It's unlikely that I will go with the option to upgrade two servers at the same time (option 2 above), so the choice comes down to a single server upgrade now, or build a VM host (and likely start with migrating deeproot this this new platform, with fungus being done once things have settled down and confirmed to work properly). Virtualization is something that has come up in the past (many years ago), and I still have some reservations about it. In theory, it's a complete no-brainer to virtualize due to the added benefits (backups, ability to move machines to new hardware without trouble, snapshots, etc) but in practice it does add a bit of complexity and there's a loss of performance due to the virtualization (maybe 10-15% or so these days; significantly better than in the past).

There's also the complexity of picking what parts to go with for a virtualization host. Scaling up to a reasonable system that has the capacity to run multiple machines (more CPU cores, more memory, more disk) is also more complex than hand-picking parts for a specific purpose.

Roughly speaking, this is what I'd be looking for in terms of the different machines:

1. Firewall: Cheap CPU (perhaps the i3-7300 at 2 cores/4 threads), 8GB RAM, 2 small SSDs (raid mirror; I like Samsung Pro drives), and some random extra stuff (motherboard, network cards, PSU, cooling). This is likely somewhat overkill and could be reduced in specs
2. Web server: Higher end CPU, 4-8 cores/threads, 16G RAM, larger SSDs (maybe 256GB for FUMBBL) and the extra random assortment of components.
3. Virtualization host: 8-16 threads/cores, 32-64GB RAM, even more storage (2x512GB minimum, perhaps more), extra components (slightly higher end even here; higher capacity PSU, perhaps a different chipset to allow more/faster memory, etc).

If you guys have suggestions or ideas or just simply comments about all this stuff, feel free to post them below :)

PS. I know some of you will suggest cloud hosting but that isn't an option for FUMBBL. It's simply not cost effective. I've looked at this option many many times and nothing will match the cost (both actual cost and cost structure) of self-hosting.
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Comments
Posted by Alzhaid on 2017-02-10 15:08:19
This may be stupid but... I think another factor to weight in could be "Fun". Since you do this for free, maybe you'll find more interesting to deal with virtualization challenges since I understand it will be something new for you, at least at FUMBBL-scale. In any case I'll be in for the donation drive ;-) Many thanks as always for the technical update.
Posted by Throweck on 2017-02-10 15:23:01
I always enjoy the commentary on your thinking Christer. I myself cannot suggest anything remotely helpful technically! However, I am happy to support whichever drive comes! $3000 is 120 coaches @ $25 each. Go math!

I will ask the question that will be on most of our minds....

Will we get an icon like Borak? :)
Posted by hissa-lives on 2017-02-10 15:59:13
I can honestly say I really like the virtual option, with the amount of replication and backup you can do live it really is worth considering
Posted by bigf on 2017-02-10 16:20:03
Count me in on any drive.

We are all grateful for you in doing what you do to keep this place going, so my 2cents is what ever you feel makes your life easier in the long run is a good place to start. If we need to two drives for two servers the community will do it!
Posted by PainState on 2017-02-10 16:30:02
I will defer my opinion on this subject to you Christer and in return you will defer talking about cost, just tell us how much and I will open up my wallet with others and worry about that issue. This is just how FUMBBL works.

:}
Posted by Loew on 2017-02-10 17:12:55
I would go with virtualization these days and I would add a HDD raid for backups, snapshots and maybe as image store.

One question would be if modern hardware produces enough heat to warm up your appartment ;)
Posted by pythrr on 2017-02-10 17:22:55
REPLACE ALL! we gives monies!
Posted by mrt1212 on 2017-02-10 17:43:11
So we're getting a potion, right?
Posted by fidius on 2017-02-10 18:20:40
Do a donation drive, and when we blow that $2k out of the water you go buy the biggest, baddest, future-proofiest VM you can find, which hopefully will make up for the 15% performance hit and then some.
Posted by Desultory on 2017-02-10 18:24:27
- Start a charity drive for all of the above.
- See how much is raised.
- Determine best course of action.
- ;) Make a user interface such that custom icons/sprites function: https://fumbbl.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=26429&highlight=icon
https://fumbbl.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=24409&highlight=icon
Posted by Badpublicity on 2017-02-10 19:47:04
Ill gladly pay! But can we plz get some sponges or Healing potions in the prosess? ;)
Posted by thoralf on 2017-02-10 19:53:05
I never regretted buying the fountain pen I really really want. I have regretted many bought pens I did not.

Do what thrills you most.
Posted by pythrr on 2017-02-10 20:04:53
donation made! build it and they will come!
Posted by JackassRampant on 2017-02-10 20:48:06
Deeproot, huh? I can play the Amateurs against Halfling teams, spot them enough inducement cash to take Deeproot. Do a donation based on Deeproot's performance, on whether the Halflings win any games, and on how many games get played. The Amateurs only have 2 games against Halflings: I'll need a lot more if I'm to fill the grid 10 times over.
Posted by Burnalot on 2017-02-10 21:06:45
I would gladly donate. I think the donation drives with a bar on the overviews are pretty nice and effective.
Posted by mister__joshua on 2017-02-10 23:01:01
I'd go for the virtualisation option myself. I've used virtual environments for the last few years ( vSphere and HyperV) and wouldn't go back to regular servers. I find t best (if cost isn't extraordinate) to build it bigger than you need so you can run things like clone servers for a bit without noticing much performance hit. I'd certainly get bigger drives than you suggested.
Posted by Amon242 on 2017-02-11 05:33:46
I agree with above - do a donation drive, give us some pixels at tiered levels and see how much gold you rolled in the post match sequence
Posted by Rbthma on 2017-02-11 09:13:32
In for the donation drive, really appreciate all your effort put into the site Christer. As far as options go, I'll defer to those with more knowledge on such matters
Posted by Beanchilla on 2017-02-11 10:49:22
Would love a donation drive. I already drop a bit every month or so but that'll get me and at least one person I know on board :)
Posted by bghandras on 2017-02-11 11:24:22
I plan to donate within 2 weeks anyway.
Posted by Mr_Foulscumm on 2017-02-11 11:40:07
I'll make a donation for sure.
Posted by keggiemckill on 2017-02-11 19:36:36
Can we have a nice Deeproot thingy showing our support? I like those kind of things.
Posted by keggiemckill on 2017-02-11 21:38:39
Posted by JackassRampant on 2017-02-10 20:48:06
Deeproot, huh? I can play the Amateurs against Halfling teams, spot them enough inducement cash to take Deeproot. Do a donation based on Deeproot's performance, on whether the Halflings win any games, and on how many games get played. The Amateurs only have 2 games against Halflings: I'll need a lot more if I'm to fill the grid 10 times over.


Why don't you play some WE's with you amateurs? They also can take Deeproot.
Posted by JellyBelly on 2017-02-12 14:29:59
Hi Christer - it's quite eye-opening to see how much some of this hardware costs. Thanks so much for everything you do for the site and all the time you put in. I will certainly take part in whatever donation drives are necessary to help with the costs :)
Posted by JellyBelly on 2017-02-12 14:37:47
Btw, how did the painting go? :)
Posted by ignatzami on 2017-02-13 18:53:27
I'd also say go the virtualization route. Either Docker on Windows, or Hyper-V.

I'd also say you should look into disaster recovery, and possibly setting up a read-replica of the FUMBBL DB in the cloud. That way should anything happen the site could be rebuilt off the replica.
Posted by Christer on 2017-02-14 11:55:27
I wouldn't use Docker for this and would rather go for a full hypervisor. I'd be running a Linux based virtualization host (eg. KVM) or Hyper-V Server (Equivalent to running Windows Server Core with the Hyper-V role installed).

As for disaster recovery, I do have a setup for backups (Web content synced offsite daily, the DB is backed up daily with the backup pushed off-site weekly (the DB backup is a touch over 8GB compressed at the moment, which is why I hesitate to push it offsite on a daily basis).