Tuesday, 28 February 2006

photoSoc hosting

Rog, chair of photoSoc, asked me to transfer the photoSoc website from the Union server (waldo) to CompSoc.

No problem -- something I've wanted to do for a while. The Union provide a great service, but I honestly don't think that the server they have is quite up to the CompSoc server. Over the past few months we have had near perfect service -- the uptime is currently about 32 days, the last reboot was a scheduled one to apply a minor security fix released by the FreeBSD team.

I sent out the necessary emails -- one to Rob Clarke at Manchester Computing asking him to switch ns0.compsoc.man.ac.uk to be the primary for the photosoc.man.ac.uk and photosoc.manchester.ac.uk domains, and another to Sam Smith, admin of the union box, explaining what was going on and asking for any info he could give me on mail and this sort of stuff.

I got a reply from Rob Clarke to confirm the changes earlier on today but quickly spotted that while photosoc.man.ac.uk was responding, photosoc.manchester.ac.uk had disappeared. It turns out I had inadvertently removed some whitespace in the zonefile, which was causing the problem. Also, both of the photosoc domains are secondaried by utserv, cuwhich willrlew and gannet, instead of just dir.mcc.ac.uk, as 95% of our other hosted society domains are. I emailed Rob Clarke to query this was correct.

But right now, all DNS changes seem fine. I've got an incorrect cache that will last about 90000s, so I'll not be visiting the photoSoc website for a couple of hours.

Next up is scheduling downtime for the website, doing a re-copy of the data (I already did one to confirm the website will run without modification) and migrating the MySQL database. This is fairly minor and will take no more than a couple of hours. After that a new mailing list will need to be created and the existing members will need to be transferred over.

DNS is a pain in the arse most of the time, but with a short timeout (1800s == 30m) it works very well for us. When I'm ready for CompSoc to host the website, I just change the A line and people will seamlessly visit a different website. Same goes for the mail exchanges. Of course, once the transition is done, I'll change the timeouts to something a little more sane.

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