The Big Move
I’m writing these words during my morning commute, after a busy night and a just completed transfer of iModeler to its new hosting center. After weeks of planning, rehearsal, long evenings at the computer, checking an rechecking – we have finally pressed the green button.
Important: moving a website to a new server location involves a change of IP address for the domain name imodeler.com. This change, once initiated, may take up to 48 hours to reach every corner of the globe. You may experience some interim effects before the change takes place in your part of the web – such as getting a “We’re moving” page, or trouble logging in on your first attempt. No worries – by Saturday morning everything should be back to normal again.
Without a doubt, this has been the largest technical operation around iModeler to date. It also made us realize just how much this service has grown in its four years of operation.
A complexity by itself is the sheer volume of our data. The iModeler database is now 600 MB in size, holding all your articles, comments, group posts, profiles, logs. A database of this size calls for special care to ensure the continued integrity of all our posts, old as well as new.
That’s sizable by any margin, but is still dwarfed by the size of our image repository. 420 000 individual image files had to be backed up, verified, restored, and made available again in the new environment. We have prepared for this setp thoroughly through consecutive rehearsals, ironing out ay individual problems to ensure that every file would be taken care of and no image would be broken after the move.
Just to give further idea about what iModeler is today. In 2012, our first full year of operation, the enthusiastic users uploaded a sum total of about 2 Gigabytes of images. This year, to date, our uploads have already passed the 4-Gigabyte mark. Not only has our user base grown considerably, but the users are also uploading more and better-quality images. Imodeler is now a massive service calling for industrial-standard solutions to operate, and understanding it has been the key to our decision to move.
Another reason was the performance. Our most loyal users may remember our continued work to improve response times at the site and indeed, this work continued relentlessly during our four years at the previous location. And frankly, we were never sufficiently pleased with the results. Our service is so interactive that some of its parts just require processor power, and with the functionality that we we are planning for the future this will become even more crucial. A high-capacity server means higher cost, but eventually you just need to make up your mind and take the leap. And, I’m pleased to say, the synthetic performance tests performed prior to the move indicate that the response times should be shortened dramatically – translating to a markedly snappier user experience and plenty of room to grow.
Last but not least is security. The new environment gives us better control to perform the all-important security work to the high standards that we’ve set for ourselves. For the most part, this work is something that you’re not supposed to notice, but it is vital to secure that this site is free from spam, bogus user accounts and hacking. You need a lot of thorough security work to operate a service like iModeler these days.
And now that the move is completed, let’s do some modeling – I can’t wait to see your new postings. Keep ’em coming!