Earlier this week, Jeremy Wright asked about the backend infrastructure of the various blog networks. This was in response to a fascinating survey published over at Pingdom showing the OS, infrastructure, and other information about 7 large sites, including TechCrunch and others.
While I don’t pretend to speak for the hosting industry – or any blog network anymore – I did want to outline what our infrastructure has been at Problogging, Inc..
At our peak, we were operating our network using two leased servers from Layered Technologies. The servers set behind a private switch – allowing them to share data without it being counted as bandwidth.
We’ve been using Layered Technologies for over three years now – ever since we moved away from colocating our own equipment in a datacenter. They’ve been very good to us.
Server & Web Software
One server handled the database, email, administrative scripts, and some of the smaller sites. The other server handled The Blog Herald, along with some other sites.
For webstats, we use Webalizer. I’ve used it for over a decade and it generally meets our needs once you have the configuration files tuned up correctly.
We, for awhile, had an internal blog, but this fell into misuse and mostly faded away.
I believe that if you’re going to be serious about what you’re doing on the web, then you have to have a solid backup regime. Our key information (sites, databases, home directory files, email, and other important files on the servers) are backed up daily to an internal shared drive between the two servers. In addition, a nightly script in my home office would run on the Mac desktop and backup that information over to a 1TB NAS device (see below) – providing additional backup security.
And then regularly, we would burn DVD copies of that information and store at an offsite location.
You can never have too many backups.
Backend / Office
My partners and I all work from home offices. I have a 7 mb/s cable connection feeding into a firewall. Behind the firewall is a Gigabit ethernet network connecting my MacBook Pro, a Toshiba Tablet, a Motion UMPC, a Dell XPS Desktop, and a Mac G4 Desktop.
The centerpiece of the home office, though, is the NAS we use for backup – which is an Infrant X6 1TB Storage Array. This is a RAID5 storage array with its own operating system. Not only does it hold backups of the servers and their key information, but it also backs up all of the machines in the house nightly while I’m snoring away upstairs.
I think it’s important to have a workspace that fits your needs. Mine overlooks the backyard, has lots of sunlight, and has a large U-shaped desk from Ikea. A glass whiteboard sits above my workarea – and some shelves hold various books and momentoes that make me happy.
We use alot of backend software, some of those include:
- Adium – Hands down the best IM client for Mac OS X. Supports every imaginable IM service you would need.
- Firefox – Is there any other?
- NetNewsWire – The slick feedreader from the folks at Newsgator. This is how I read my feeds and keep up on the world.
- Skype – our office line is a SkypeIn number w/ voicemail. We use skype for podcasts and other communication. When I need to call someone, we either SkypeOut or use a cell phone.
- BBEdit – One of the best editors for Mac OS X for programming.
- Parallels – Want to run a Windows application alongside a Mac OS X application? No problem, Parallels makes it work seamlessly.
- Photoshop & Photoshop Elements – ’nuff said.
- Quickbooks Pro – How we keep our books straight..
- Super Duper! – the best Mac OS X backup software money can buy.
This is just a brief overview of how we’re setup and some of the tools that we use. We’ve built far more complex infrastructures for clients previously but this has worked well for us.
I’m interested in how you’re setup – drop a link in the comments!