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[aprssig] Re: More on the findU server issue...

Steve Dimse sdimse at gmail.com
Thu Sep 22 23:22:14 UTC 2005

On 9/22/05, Scott Miller <scott at opentrac.org> wrote:
> > debating that!) let me try begging someone at Intel for a favor, like an
> > inside
> > break at net net for one of their servers. It can't hurt to ask, the worst
> What's the data center situation for FindU?  Is leasing a server a
> possibility?  My stuff is all hosted on a dedicated Athlon XP2800 at the
> Savvis data center in Ft. Worth and I've been very happy with the network
> performance.  You can get a dual-processor machine with a 10 meg uplink for
> $200/month or less.  Not sure what FindU's bandwith and storage requirements
> are.  But for $7,000 you can get a decent amount of horsepower in a real
> data center for a couple of years.  And if it's easily scalable, which it
> seems to be, just get two or more servers and load-balance between them.

I have been using a donated co-lo site for the last 18 months which
has been very reliable, and the system is being shipped to another
donated site. Gerry hosts the backup on the TAMU network, also for
free. When you have access to great co-lo sites for free, it makes
more sense to buy your own machine.

You cannot get a machine like findU needs for $200 a month. The
bottleneck is in the disk system, you need large 15k RPM disks and
gobs of memory. ServerBeach for example offers 2.6 GHz dual Athelon
with dual 80GB 7200 RPM disks for $269, and this is woefully
inadequate, it is not that much better a machine than the current
backup machine.

Load balancing works when the problem is the web load, but that is not
the case here. The problem is the database, with a constant (dozern of
packets a second) write pressure on the database means you need a fast
disk array. If you tried to load-balance with findU, you need a server
for every 2 or three simultaneous requests if you use hard at the
level of the current backup server.
> > Now, if there was a way to get this under a 501-c-3 unbrella...I'd give
> > you odds
> > of 90% for getting it. Do we have any way to do that?
> I know this might be opening the door for a flamewar, but if I was going to
> get behind an APRS database system as a non-profit, public service, I'd want
> it to be an open source system like aprsworld.net.  Steve has every right to
> keep his code to himself, but from a purely technical perspective I think
> Jim's system is at least as capable, and he makes his work available for the
> benefit of everyone.  I'll be happy to buy advertising space on FindU and
> support it that way, but as long as it's a closed system and there's an open
> alternative, I don't intend to support it as a charity.

My opinions on open source are described on the findU site, no need to
restart the argument here. For five and a half years I've provided
findU's service for free, and will continue to do so. Since the start
of the year I've added Google Ads with the hope that they will pay for
future hardware, and have accepted donations. If people are interested
in donating so findU has a backup server now, great. If not, then I'll
keep doing the best I can with what I have, when the system goes down
it goes down. At some point the donations and the adsense money will
add up to enough for a new server, and the current primary can become
the backup.

But just as you do not want to support findU as a charity, neither do
I any long. Especially at the average cost of $4,000 a year which is
more than one-sixth my new salary!

Steve K4HG

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