Planned outage this Sunday

Hello all, your friendly Ozblogistan tyrant here.

To perform some important maintenance on the site, it will be necessary to deactivate all Ozblogistan blogs temporarily on Sunday afternoon. I am expecting to take the site down around 2pm, central standard time, for up to two hours.

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This morning’s outage. WordPress is innocent.

This time a device called a PHP Opcode Cache was at fault. The particular piece of software in question is APC.

Some explanation is in order. WordPress is written in a language called PHP. Each time a page is loaded, the PHP program reads the programming language file off the disk and transforms it into a series of intermediate formats. The last of these is the opcode, which is then executed by PHP.

An opcode cache keeps this final product in memory, so that PHP needn’t reload everything from scratch for every request. It improves performance by speeding up PHP and also reducing the amount of disk traffic.

Apparently, some time this morning, APC decided to chuck a wobbly and stop working. I’ve uninstalled it and replaced with a different opcode cache.

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Tonight’s Outage, or, Dear WordPress 3.1, I hate you

As happens every 3 or 4 times I upgrade, the new WordPress managed to break something completely.

I don’t particularly know why it broke. I do know that the nightly backups I keep for just such occasions did their work within about 30 minutes.

I believe I will wait a little longer before updating again.

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Ozblogistan will grow larger

For some time now I, your friendly Ozblogistan Tyrant, have been considering expanding the Ozblogistan family. For my thesis research I require a larger pool of blogs under management.

To that end, I have opened up a second server for Ozblogistan. Shortly, one server will handle the database while the original server handles the web side of things.

This will (theoretically) speed up performance and make it easier for me to grow Ozblogistan.

This decision is unrelated to the recent stoushing (though the stoushing may lead to other changes in future).

What this means:

  1. All Ozblogistan sites will be offline tonight while I make the transfer. I will begin at 5pm Central Standard Time. The upgrade is complete.
  2. I am looking for more tenants. I wish to continue hosting high-quality Australian blogs. While I don’t mind more blogs like the wonkish ones I have, I would also like to diversify as well. If you have a good blog you want to live alongside Club Troppo, Larvatus Prodeo, Catallaxy Files, Andrew Norton and Skepticlawyer, send me an email. If you have a favourite blog who you think should join the network, tell me (and them). The more the merrier, I’m building a big bus.

To keep discussion of this matter centralised, I have disabled comments everywhere except on the main Ozblogistan entry.

Thank you for your attention.

Updates

Taking the plunge:

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Larvatus Prodeo is down temporarily

Hello all, your friendly Ozblogistan tyrant here.

LP’s domain name has expired. Consequently it is no longer possible to navigate directly to larvatusprodeo.net.

I have reactivated larvatusprodeo.ozblogistan.com.au in the meantime while the domain issues are sorted out.

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Ozblogistan News, Part Deux

Hello all, your friendly Ozblogistan Overlord here.

Last week I wrote briefly about slowness being caused by attempts to debug a comments plugin used by several Ozblogistan blogs — Brian’s Latest Comments — in the context of Larvatus Prodeo. It transpires that LP’s database of comments was too large to process without causing errors and slowdowns. During the week I worked on various modifications; these ‘work’ in that they have the correct behaviour and don’t crash, but in actual use they have proved to be unacceptably slow.

Consequently I have asked our blogs to deactivate the offending plugin for a few weeks. Our busiest, Catallaxy Files and Larvatus Prodeo, have done so, which should for now improve performance for everyone.

Why have I asked them to deactivate it for a few weeks? Because yours truly is moving to Darwin to take up a new job. I won’t have my usual computer for 3 weeks, according to the removalists. Once I am settled in I have another plan of attack to try, but until then I will not be in a position to easily fix things. Until then, enjoy the blogging.

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Sorry, folks.

You’ve probably noticed some slowness in the past 2 hours. That’s me, your loving Ozblogistan admin / tyrant, trying to debug a plugin. Apparently asking for debugging information is too much for PHP and MySQL to bear, so they threw an unedifying tantrum which choked the site.

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