Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, following a recommendation from a close friend, I decided to start leasing a server from 10TB.com for Audio Islam.  As the name implies, they are big on bandwidth, which is exactly what Audio Islam needs.  Needless to say, I’m thrilled at having a new beefy server to play with and to meet the current & future needs of this food of the Islamic audio-consuming masses.  And the best part is they installed Fedora for me!  How awesome is that!

Read on for the specs & details on the transition.

The plan I got (accurate to the time of this posting, at least) is really impressive, maa shaaʾ Allaah.  The catch for all of this value is minimal support.  Alhamdulillaah, with more than 5 years of managing GNU/Linux boxen, as long as I have a remote reboot, I think I’ll be fine, in shaaʾ Allaah.  😉

Hardware specifications

The specs for the new server:

  • Single Quad Core Xeon 3220 – 2.40GHz
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 250GB of disk space
  • 1Gbps (!) network connection
  • 10TB monthly bandwidth limit
  • $199/month

The specs for the old server were quite modest in comparison:

  • 2.4GHz Celeron (single CPU, single core 😉 )
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 80GB of disk space
  • 20Mbps network connection
  • No monthly limit
  • $239/month

Bandwidth

It should be quite obvious to see why I had little hesitation in the upgrade.  A 20Mbps connection without a monthly limit can yield a theoretical monthly throughput of 20Mb/s * 3600s/hr * 24hr/day * 30day = 6.48TB.  Interestingly enough, last Ramadhaan, Audio Islam did nearly 6TB – so it was just the right time to move on as well.

Of note is that it may be that the connection on the old server might have been limiting the speed of downloads at the peak times.  Therefore, with a 1Gbps connection (that’s fifty times faster than the old server), we may just see some surprises in the coming months.  I may have to instill some artificial bandwidth throttling if I do not have another solution (say, a second server).  We’ll just have to see…

Fedora

The most exciting part for me is that they were more than happy to install the latest release of Fedora (9) for me, which is the same operating system I have running on my laptop.  Fedora is a great distribution for running a server on, and it makes me want to help out with the proposal for a Server Special Interest Group (SIG) within the Fedora Project, in shaaʾ Allaah.

Some people may hold the opinion that a server distribution should be on a more stable platform than Fedora, because Fedora is a cutting-edge distro, running the latest releases of software generally.  I won’t argue that point, but I will also say that running the latest stable release of software brings advantages that are not available to someone running older releases of software, especially server software.  Being that Fedora has a huge & helpful community around it with many already using Fedora in a server configuration, any problems encountered will also be well supported by others like myself, in shaaʾ Allaah.  So I am not concerned in running bleeding-edge stable software on a server, which is just what Fedora provides, alhamdulillaah.

If all goes well, I may have reason to get a second server from 10TB for some business I am undertaking, in shaaʾ Allaah, and with Fedora 10 scheduled to be released in a few days, in shaaʾ Allaah, I am looking forward to running it as well.  Crazy?  Perhaps.  But I’m loving it!

Cacti

Wait, what?  Yes!  My same friend referenced above also showed me Cacti running on his server.  I immediately feel in love with it and got to work setting things up.  See for yourself.

To put it simply, Cacti is a PHP/MySQL-based tool that, when running, monitors & produces information graphs for servers, mostly communicating through SNMP.  I have it setup for my three current servers (soon to be two, in shaaʾ Allaah).

Server naming scheme for the Hidayah Online Network

Incidentally, with the growing number of servers within the Hidayah Online Network I decided that I needed a naming scheme.  My oft-referenced friend elected to use the names of cities of importance within Islaam – so he named them makkah, madinah, etc.  Another one of my friends has opted for the names of historic battles in Islamic history – so badr, uhud, etc.  After consulting with my wife, I decided on something even better – the names of the chapters (suwaar) of the Qurʾaan – so my first server (formerly just called “The Hidayah Online server”) has now become alfaatihah.hidayahonline.net.  My second server (formerly just called “The Audio Islam server”) is now, for the remainder of it’s life within the Hidayah Online network, albaqarah.hidayahonline.net.  And, the newcomer, if you haven’t guessed, is called aalimraan.hidayahonline.net.

I have a sense of sadness that, within two weeks, the name albaqarah is going to have to be retired.  Therefore, I may rename aalimraan to albaqarah, as the server is really replacing the old one in purpose, and also, I would hate to see the name of one of the greatest suwaar of the Qurʾaan be abandoned, albeit for a very arbitrary purpose.

Also, as should be obvious now, I decided that the formerly unused domain name, hidayahonline.net, will be the administrative name for everything related to the network itself.  hidayahonline.org will remain the Islamic portal.  This leaves hidayahonline.com, which I may retain for commercial services should that opportunity arise (and arise it may yet, in shaaʾ Allaah).

Conclusion

I think that pretty-much wraps-up what I’ve wanted to discuss over the past couple of weeks regarding the Audio Islam migration.  Alhamdulillaah, it went very smoothly, and working with a very powerful server on a super-fast connection has been most enjoyable, even though I’ve been undergoing some bandwidth trials myself (the current connection is 64kb/s symmetric DSL – something I didn’t even know existed before).  We should have a more reasonable connection restored within a few days, in shaaʾ Allaah.

Look, in the future, for some significant updates for Audio Islam, including the years-overdue upgrade to the CMS.  Now that the server is running Fedora, I have even less excuses, as everything I need is conveniently packaged already!