Thursday, 1 July 2010

Summer Migration

Moving a big website to new servers has to be up there with moving house, changing school, or buying pricey new binoculars, on the scale of high-stress, high-adrenaline, never-to-be-forgotten life events. While all you wonderful birdguides.com fans were enjoying the tennis or watching the World Cup with a cold beer and a vuvuzela, there was I busily carting all your precious photos and sightings by the barrow-load from our creaky old servers to the shiny new ones.


Just gorgeous!


Yes, they're bigger, they're faster, they've got multiple cores, they're 64-bit and they come with enough technical specs to warm the heart of the geekiest geek. But any affection that I might have had for these technological marvels at the start of the week has long since worn off and I really don't care if I never see their pretty desktops or sweet little system consoles ever again.

Most of us only have one birthday a year: well, on Tuesday mine was spent in a marathon operation, all scrubbed up, with the old and new servers suitably anaesthetised and laid out side-by-side, chests clamped open. Rooting around on my tray of instruments, I came across the SQL Server Database Migration Wizard. It sounded like it might do just what it said on the tin, so I set it to work and left it churning happily while I went off to watch Spain v. Portugal. But by half-time it had choked on all those dubious rarities in the Sightings table and fallen over, with the helpful message: 'Execution Failed'. It was back to the tedious, but effective, Detach and Attach technique beloved of surgeons the world over, complete with that eventual overwhelming feeling of relief as the patient's vitals kick in again following the Attach phase. Around 4am, with application pools all set up, blood vessels tied off and virtual directories configured, I closed up and stepped out of theatre to bring the good news to the BirdGuides next of kin, waiting anxiously outside.

By late Wednesday the servers were starting to come around, enjoying a light meal and sipping green tea. The drips were removed and the DNS records were switched bringing the new servers live to all you patient birdguides.com devotees. The tough decision was made to withdraw life support from the old servers: after one final gasp they breathed out their last HTML. May they Rest in Pieces.

Complications are inevitable, and so it was to be. Some of you were deeply offended that we had suddenly, and without notice, imposed a meagre 200k limit on your photo uploads. The Internet Information Services Manager is a thing of wonder, within whose impenetrable screens I have squandered many hours of my life. It was in here that I set out on a quest for the setting that must control the maximum upload size. An hour and much frantic googling later, I found it: Maximum Requesting Entity Body Limit - how could I have missed it?



In case you ever need to know...




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Jet said...
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