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hort.net update

Hi everyone,

   Wow, it's hard to believe that it's been six months since I asked
   everyone for help with the hort.net fund drive.  By now, you're 
   probably wondering how it went!

   Well, the vacation in Tahiti was great, thanks!  :)

   OK, that's probably not funny.  Seriously, we've been working hard to
   make things better, and true to form it's taken longer than I expected.
   There have also been some growing pains along the way, but I appreciate
   your patience as we worked out the bugs. 

   Here's what we've done so far:

      . The main Web server was upgraded to a much faster machine.  
        I replaced the motherboard, processor, memory, and hard drive.
        The end result is that search functions and more complicated
        page displays are significantly faster than before.  

        COST:  $600

      . Using parts from the old Web server, I was able to upgrade the
        email server as well.  I would ultimately like to upgrade the
        mail server to the same type of machine as the Web server, but
        the funds aren't there yet.  Still, email should be faster, and
        now all incoming and outgoing email has the added benefit of
        virus scanning.  The old mail server wasn't fast enough to do that,
        but this upgrade should prevent viruses from going out to any of
        the lists.

        COST:  FREE

      . I purchased a new, large, rackmount case for the main file server.
        Right now we have what's known as a JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks)
        serving the data with a copy of everything made nightly to 
        another large disk.

        We would like to switch to a RAID5 setup -- this writes data in 
        a manner that allows for the loss of a hard drive without any 
        data loss at all.  This new case is large enough and beefy 
        enough to handle up to ten hard drives (most of which we already
        have), so data security will be better with less downtime.

        In essence, if a drive fails now I can fix things manually and
        copy over the data to a new drive.  With the new setup a drive
        failure won't impact the system at all and it can keep running
        without my intervention.

        COST: $250

      . I also purchased a backup power supply for the Web server (the 
        other servers already had one).  Lately the power grid around 
        here has been experiencing ten second blips which would knock
        the machine out of commission.  This fixes the problem, so short
        power outages are now a non-issue.

        COST: $150

      . The biggest change coming up involves our Internet connection. 
        We're changing upstream providers to provide a connection with
        twice the speed with a lower monthly cost.  I can't reveal 
        details as per our contract, but our monthly expenditures will
        be significatly lower.  However, there will be a one month 
        overlap period when we transition from our old provider to the
        new one, so we'll be paying twice for the same month at one 
        point.  There may also be installation fees, although this should
        all be recouped by the end of the year.  The projected monthly 
        savings are what allowed us to purchase new equipment as well.

        COST:  unknown

   What I'd still like to do:
      . Put the mail server into a rackmount enclosure       $250
      . Upgrade the mail server                              $500
      . Upgrade the SQL/file server                          $500
      . Buy rails for three rackmount systems                $170 
      . Buy more disk so that people can upload photos,      $300-$500
        etc. (we currently have about 200GB of data)

   Thanks again for all of your help so far!  We can, of course, always 
   use more funds to do bigger and better things, so the fund drive is 
   still open.

   Also, once all of our hardware upgrades are finished, I'll be asking
   you questions about what features we should work on improving first
   at hort.net.


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