Mon 4 June 2012 @ 00:28
On Friday I seem to have lost my server. One minute it was there and working perfectly, and the next it was just gone. Of all the things that could have happened, it was the damn RAID controller that died. In fairness, it was old. Like, REALLY old. I've had the card for the last seven years, and I bought it second-hand on ebay. I used a mirrored drive to store the websites, data, some documents and all our backups, so there was a significant "Oh shit" moment there. So I took the card out and plugged one of the drives into a PC to see if the data was still in-tact and luckily it was. Phew! While all this was going on the server primary drive died too. I still don't know why, and that caused me no end of hassle because I had in-advertantly stored the SQL database for my blog on that drive. Fuck it, I was going to have to install the whole damn server again. ::sigh::
So instead of re-installing Windows Server 2008 R2, I decided to install the Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012 (or Windows Server 8 if that's what it'll be called). There's a free trial version up on Microsoft.com right now, and I'll be in a position to upgrade that when it gets released (provided I can downgrade the edition from DataCentre to Standard). The installation process was a dream, and very very quick. I installed the full GUI version, though Server Core is available and will be the way to go in the near future. Then I started moving data around the place to make it a little more logical, and that's where I made my first mistake. Microsoft have a new file system with this version which they've called ReFS. It is a far more secure file system than NTFS, but has some limitations which I didn't figure out until after it was installed... mainly that you can't store SQL Server Databases on it. How fucking stupid can you get? The vast majority of servers with SQL Server installed will want to store their data on the new secure file system, and they can't. That's a major fuckup from my perspective. Anyway, I removed ReFS and used a standard NTFS mirrored drive for the data and all seems to be working fine so far. I have moved the IIS root directory to the mirrored drive, as well as the SQL Server Instance. Backups are now going there too, and everything is as usual backed up to Memopal.
The server software itself is nice enough. File access across the network is noticibly faster, particularly to Anna's laptop, which was starting to concern me with Windows Server 2008. Whenever she opened a large file (think 400Mb AVI), there would be a five to ten second pause before the file started working in Windows Media Player. Now that lag is down to about two to five seconds, so I'm pretty happy with that. IIS 8 is excellent, though the .Net framework 4.5 is still in beta and will likely be so until the actual release. I had the usual problems installing blogengine.net... how fucking hard can it be to specify each setting and requirement somewhere on their damn website? In all my years of using blogengine.net I have yet to come across an upgrade to a version which happened without some fucking mal-formed web.config error somewhere. Still, it's running now and running pretty well. I'm not all that happy with SQL Server 2012, but that is likely because I haven't had time to tune it properly and that the IDE RAID array is a little slow.