Topics on Pennine Software's own server:

Mostly this server has been set up to serve large files which are infrequently downloaded. The rationale is that we only have 20 Mb of webspace on the www.pennine.demon.co.uk hosted web pages, which means we can't put up big photos. But that server has a fat pipe to the internet, so you can see pages quickly if we put the html and small graphics there. It typically serves 8-30 Mb of content per day.

The server at pennine.demon.co.uk has for many years been an old HP Netserver which was saved from a skip, gradually upgraded to 1 Gb memory, dual-pentium 500, and a terabyte of SCSI drives (mostly in an external Sun 711 box). By the standards of 2009 it's not very powerful, except as a room heater. This is in the process of being replaced by a Eee Box, a ridiculously tiny thing that has a single laptop drive. Although a 7200 rpm drive is not as fast as the mix of mostly 10,000 rpm SCSI, other parts are faster and the big plus is that the whole of the new server will use less power than the cooling fans of the old one ! By our reckoning we will save enough on power in the first 8 months to pay for the new machine. Our firewall (a Sun Ultra 60 which is a hefty dual-450 MHz Sparc machine with no less than thirteen ethernet interfaces) is next for this treatment, and will shortly be replaced with an industrial firewall/router which looks quite expensive, but will again be paid for by the saving in electricity in well under a year. This will reduce our entire 24 hour, 365 days/year hardware power budget to under 50W. Now all we have to do is persuade everyone to religiously turn off workstations when not in use ...

We have a thin pipe (upstream ADSL, which makes 448 kbit/s on a good day, often less), so downloads will be slower than from an ISP's server farm. But that's still a lot faster than a phone line, and usually more than half the downstream speed of our ADSL. If you get good ADSL speeds, it will seem a bit slow, but if you are somewhere as far from the exchange as us and used to less than a megabit/s from your broadband, it should provide acceptable bandwidth for one or two users at a time. It will tend to clobber our own internet connectivity if heavily used, but given the known bandwidth usage of our hosted web pages at www.pennine.demon.co.uk, that doesn't look likely.

Unlike www.pennine.demon.co.uk, we have loads of disc space. The terabyte of SCSI drives (a lot of which was used for local fileserving) will be replaced by a mere 500Gb laptop drive in the new box, but removal of local files to a different machine means that 90% of that space will be available to the webserver, which is more than has been the case with the old box.

It is the intention that stuff on this server will be linked from the fast server, but will not be searchable through search engines. To that end, I will monitor the logs and put firewall rules in place to stop web spiders from reaching the server. I hope that will keep traffic sufficiently low that the link will cope with legitimate users. Please don't link to this site without asking me - unlike some sites, I really don't want to maximise my traffic by generating visits from casual surfers - I want the information to be as readily accessible as possible to those with a genuine need without the bandwidth being used up by those "just passing". To this end, I will package up related groups of pages into .zip or .tgz archives, and users will be encouraged to download these to browse offline.

This document dated 2009-10-07 16:47

The site starts off with a mirror of www.pennine.demon.co.uk, already out of date compared to the hosted server and mainly for my own reference whilst building content.

Content not reproduced from the hosted server: