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My very bad month

My very bad month

21:49 02 October in General, Hosting, Life

Oh, the trial and tribulations I have faced in the past 6 week. The course of the last month alone has been fraught with technical issues, but hark! I think they are finally over.

It all started with our last host, a company in Ohio, that turned out to be not so good. I need a LAMP server you see, and my company’s site requires one that is rather powerful due to the things that we do. It was good… Until it wasn’t. I could fix some things, but if I needed their help, I just couldn’t get it. Because I was left on my own, waiting for them to answer the phone, return a message, or address a helpdesk ticket, I was forced to learn about UNIX system administration, and everything that goes with running that kind of server on the web. Including dealing with a sustained but unsuccessful brute force attack from mainland China… Around the same time Chinese hackers obtained access to U.S. Defense information… (See my post about blocking all access from China to your web server, if your interested)

But eventually, even though I was becoming very good at the command line interface, I decided to move us to a new host. This one was based on another recommendation, but I’d heard of them before. However, this host was even worse. While they did pick up the phone when I called, they often did the wrong thing in response. To make matters worse, their systems just couldn’t keep up with our site.

I had a really bad month. I could barely do anything productive because I kept having to try and get the website running, and deal with this new host’s inadequacies. I asked for all kinds of help, but none of it worked. I can say I tried, but last week i reached the conclusion that it just couldn’t work. Our site is critical to our company’s operations, and we had to do something.

In comes Rackspace. And before I continue, I really have to point out that Rackspace isn’t paying me a dime. Rackspace’s cloud solution was the perfect fit. Their technical support on the managed service allowed me to move the website in short order, configure it easily, and get it running and stable in a matter of a few days. A month of failure forgotten, and now I have this shiny new server to call home. 🙂

The stress of this job is more than some can handle, and it gets to me. It’s difficult having your day determined by the state of a machine that is 1000 miles away, that you have never seen, and have no real power over. But when you have such problems, it’s really important that you learn from them.

In the last month I’ve become very comfortable with many aspects of UNIX systems, and that makes me radically more powerful than I was before. I write my own Shell Scripts, and even wrote a simple Windows program for the first time. I’m really hoping to make the launch into desktop computing now, with integrated web technologies to augment out company’s capabilities.

I’m back to feeling excited again, looking to build instead of repair.

Here is to tomorrow. Goodnight!

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