Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

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Dal
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Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Dal » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:08 am

Welcome back to Atari-Forum and huge apologies for the sudden disappearance and the three weeks downtime.

For those who didn't follow the threads at Atari Age or the mini-blog I posted up in the absence of the Forum, here's a run down of what happened:

27th December: Atari-Forum goes offline. I wasn't able to get to the back-end admin at the host (250host), then I discovered that I couldn't actually get to the main 250host website at all. Sent a message to Silver Surfer asking him if he can look into it.

28th December: Got a message back from Silver Surfer, he didn't sound too optimistic but gave me the name of the owner of 250host. I tracked him down via Facebook and sent a message asking for a prognosis.

29th-31st December: Still trying to establish contact with 250host, no joy - noticed some 'bad press' hitting some web host review sites. Silver Surfer's last backup was from 4th December. My first backup was scripted and cunningly (or so I though) scheduled to run on NYE.

1st January: Whatever happens, we need a new host as there have been other issues with access to the site from some people on certain ISP's. New host space purchased from Hostpapa (great reviews, well praised and really cost effective for unlimited space + unlimited bandwidth). I set up a small blog so that any visitor will at least get some information on what's happening. However we needed to wait for Brumme to repoint the domain name to the new host's nameservers.

....At this point we are still hoping 250host just reappears and we can get the data back.

4th January: DNS updated, the temporary blog page now sits in place of the Forum.

6th January: I set up a poll on Atari Age to determine whether users were happy to wait a bit longer for 250host to sort themselves out or look at restoring the backup (losing anything that occurred in December).

News started to filter through that 250host had an account issue with their host provider and the owner, Brian had posted on Web Hosting Talk asking for someone to buy the business and take over the account. We don't know for sure how he managed to get himself in arrears.

It became apparent that this wasn't going to be resolved soon so I then looked at restoring the backup...


January 9th: The 4th December backup was uploaded to the new host and I submitted a support request asking the host to migrate the backup in.

January 11th: I receive an email from the host to say the backup provided could not be restored. After running it past Silver Surfer it is because the backends are different (250host used DirectAdmin while HostPapa use cPanel). I was then left with no alternative other that manually restore the backup by hand.

January 14th: The backup archive was not complete :( - Using gzip, I got a 'premature EOF' error. Fortunately I got what looked like most of the data (at least the databases were there and around 7500 attachments). However no sign of the Wiki's files (although DB is there).

January 17th: After deciding we really had no other option, I spent the evening with a bottle of red wine and manually put the site back together by hand. The databases were too large to upload in one chunk so had to form separate SQL files to roll the data back in place.

There are still a few items on the 'snag' list, but for the most part, we have a functioning forum again.

My thanks to Silver Surfer, Brumme, Simbo, Ijor, everyone who went out on their own reconnaissance missions to find out what was going on with 250host and also to those who contributed to the threads on AtariAge - it's impossible to make the right decision unless you know what everyone wants.

I've posted the 'snags' list as a separate thread.
Mega"SST" 12, MegaSTE, STE: Desktopper case, IDE interface, UltraSatan (8GB + 512Mb) + HXC floppy emulator. Plus some STE's/STFM's

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby TTowner » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:37 am

Shame about the hasstles you have had & the hard work you all put into giving us all back the forum is not un noticed and is certinally appreciated..

Thank you
Hades060 & 2 TT030 machines.Nova & Spektrum Graphics cards,1 Reibel network cards,1 Netusb,Slm Lazer printer, Epson GT600 flatbed, 2 SCSi to IDE interface + UltraSatan.Nakamachi 7 & 5 CD disk changers.Mega STE .[url]http://www.llill.co/5j
[/url]

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby f4brice » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:32 am

I'm happy you're back.
I registered after the 04-Dec-2010, so I had to register again. Not a big issue.

Thanks for your hard work !

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby snoopy » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:11 pm

Congrats and thank you for your hard work! It's very appreciated. Kudos!!!
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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby MiggyMog » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Thanks to you and all the team for your hard work, it wouldn't be the same without AF!
('< o o o o |''| STM,2xSTFM,2xSTE+HD,C-Lab Falcon MK2+HD,Satandisk,Ultrasatandisk,Ethernat.

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby majere » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:45 pm

Thanks a lot Dal! :D

And thanks to the team too!

Your hard work, and your constant information about the progress is priceless! :thumbs:
ATARI 520ST FM - ATARI MEGA4 - ATARI MEGASTE 4 - 2Xatari TT 30 & Crazy Dots + magnum TT +Netusbee // Falcon + 14mb + SCSI Plextor//Falcon+14mb+CT60+CTPCI+Ethernat

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby waltermixxx » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:12 am

Wow, definately a labour of love...
great work and thank you very very much,
this site appears to be the definitive atari site,
and I for one missed it for the duration :)

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Zorro 2 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:55 pm

Dal wrote:I spent the evening with a bottle of red wine and manually put the site back together by hand. The databases were too large to upload in one chunk so had to form separate SQL files to roll the data back in place.

"Ah la tienne Dareen !" Hips !

Many thanks guys !
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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Steven Seagal » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:00 pm

Zorro 2 wrote:
Dal wrote:I spent the evening with a bottle of red wine and manually put the site back together by hand. The databases were too large to upload in one chunk so had to form separate SQL files to roll the data back in place.

"Ah la tienne Dareen !" Hips !

Many thanks guys !


I'm spending the evening with a bottle of French red wine and cheer the reappearance of this forum.
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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Avanze » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:57 pm

Just glad the site is back online again.

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby aacheron » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:11 am

good job! i've missed atari-forum.
I promise to be more active!

thanks to all atari-forum team. my best whishes.
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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Grunaki » Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:12 am

Steven Seagal wrote:
Zorro 2 wrote:
Dal wrote:I spent the evening with a bottle of red wine and manually put the site back together by hand. The databases were too large to upload in one chunk so had to form separate SQL files to roll the data back in place.

"Ah la tienne Dareen !" Hips !

Many thanks guys !


I'm spending the evening with a bottle of French red wine and cheer the reappearance of this forum.


That'd be better if we had running conversations...

(Just saying - most places you can post something and have a response in seconds/minutes..)

Not dissing Atari-Forum as I think it's great.. Would be wonderful if it were ALIVE though.. :angel:
Thermopylae is now an Enemy Island!

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby rocket-dog » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:16 pm

Thanks again!!!

Next time just ban me; you don't have to run and hide the forum from me. :D

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby PaulB » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:14 am

I read the downtime blog. Thanks for all your hard work Dal. I know what a tedious experience stuff like this can be. Asking questions, getting no answers. Definitely not a good thing when it comes about. Good work getting the forum back online, albeit a slightly earlier version on the DB.

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby flammableBen » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:00 am

Not much of a poster, but I enjoy my lurker browsing. Thanks for keeping it alive.

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Omikronman » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:53 am

Why not using a second server that jumps in quickly if the main server gets offline unexpected?

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Dal » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:13 am

Because this is a free community site and not a business critical corporate entity.
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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby wongck » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:25 am

I think it can be available if you pay enough for that service.
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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Dal » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:06 pm

Of course everything is possible - however is it necessary? Not really. This incident was compounded by two main factors:

1. The host simply disappeared without warning - there was time spent trying to work out whether this was a technical fault or something more serious. This is an exceptional occurrence and there is little point paying for two hosting providers on the off-chance that one goes bust (you could be paying money for years before it's needed)

2. The backup wasn't of great quality (required a lot of work to extract as much as possible then manually apply to the new host account). Moving forward, the site now pushes a full backup every day to two locations (my NAS drive and my online storage account). There will be 7 days of backups at any one time.

With this in place, I see no reason to talk about potentially complex and expensive site mirroring solutions.
Mega"SST" 12, MegaSTE, STE: Desktopper case, IDE interface, UltraSatan (8GB + 512Mb) + HXC floppy emulator. Plus some STE's/STFM's

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby wongck » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:52 pm

Not worth for mirroring actually, we Atarian ought to be able to tolerate long time between releases ...
of new hardware, new software and even forums :mrgreen:

WOW 8O you are doing FULL daily backup?
Daily incremental backups should be sufficient with Full backup on a lowly weekday.
I guess weekends should be rather busy at the Forums?

Recovery would be a tad longer but so long as it is able to come back online, it is fine.
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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Dal » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:30 pm

Yes full at the moment. You are right that incremental backups do put less strain on the server and it is my fallback option.
I would prefer to have 7 full days to fall back on just in case of restore issues. If it has a real detremental effect on the forum, then I will need to rethink my strategy and look at how best to implement an incremental backup. My preferred method would be rsync, however it looks not to be supported with our host...

Just to clarify further that currently both backups are set to run 12 hours apart so it gives me far greater control on restoration should I need it.

I have sufficient space on my online storage account and my NAS to support this so if it's not causing performance issues, then I'm happy to run this way.

It may be that I drop the number of backups I keep, but this all depends on how testing goes.
Mega"SST" 12, MegaSTE, STE: Desktopper case, IDE interface, UltraSatan (8GB + 512Mb) + HXC floppy emulator. Plus some STE's/STFM's

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby Grunaki » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:38 am

It used to chug a fair bit for me on 250host, (long refresh times and the like) so I'm quite liking this..
Thermopylae is now an Enemy Island!

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Re: Recent Disappearance of Atari-Forum...

Postby wongck » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:40 am

Grunaki wrote:It used to chug a fair bit for me on 250host, (long refresh times and the like) so I'm quite liking this..


yeah on me too.
but this host is still not as fast as AtariAge :(
My Stuff: FB/Falcon CT63 CTPCI ATI RTL8139 USB 512MB 30GB HDD CF HxC_SD/ TT030 68882 4+32MB 520MB Nova/ 520STFM 4MB Tos206 SCSI
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