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I host a few low-traffic websites out of my house. One of them is actually a paying customer! The last few days, I’ve been working on migrating all my web apps/sites to a new server (still at my house). This time, though, I spent some time on the infrastructure to make things more reliable. I set up RAID 1 mirroring on my hard drives. I also utilized VMWare Server (free) and built a virtual server image. I can’t feel a speed hit by doing this, and the benefits are definitely worth the extra layer of complexity:

  • I now back up a 1.6GB 2.3GB image and know that I have the whole server backed up. No more hoping that I have all the files backed up I will need in the case of a disaster.
  • Snapshots let me roll the server back in case I install something that screws it up.
  • I can create new servers willy-nilly on the same hardware if I want to do other stuff (run XLink Kai for instance).
  • If my hardware dies, I can fire up my laptop with VMWare Player and run the server while I get stuff back online.
  • Next time I move to other hardware, I need only install VMWare Server and copy over my image. Sweet!

My Rails apps are still offline at the moment. I’m having a bit of trouble getting FastCGI to work again. Maybe it’s time to look into Mongrel

Update: I installed Mongrel and cooked up a startup script. Works great! Good-bye FastCGI!


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