Tomorrow (dec 24th), I will be installing the new server. The real transition from the old to the new server will happen somewhere between Christmas and New Year. I first want to do a few tests before I actually start redirecting the traffic to the new server.
What you will notice
Not all that much really. Except maybe for the fact the forum will be "closed" (not down) for a little while. To make the transition as smooth as possible, this is what I have planned:
Close the forum
You will still be able to reach fiero.nl, but if you try to access the forum, you will get a message saying it's closed.
Create forum snapshot
The reason I close the forum is because at that point I will make a snapshot of the forum to send to the new server. This way, no messages will be lost. Since I make weekly backups (and this weeks backup is already on the new server), I don't have to backup the full 5Gigs or so. So creating a snapshot and putting that on the new server shouldn't take more than two hours or so (this isn't a simple copy from one harddisk to another, I actually have to send the snapshot over the internet to the new server).
The new server will have a new ip-address. As soon as the new server has received the old server's snapshot, I will change the ip-address of fiero.nl. This change takes a few hours (or if your ISP's DNS is really, really bad, it might take a few days) before it has populated all Name Servers. As soon as your ISP's DNS has the change, you will be automatically redirected to the new server. So if after the change you are able to reach the forum again, you are on the new server.
Retire the old server
As soon as all traffic has died on the old server, but no later than 2 days after the change, the old server will be unplugged. After a brief moment of silence, I will disassemble it and use it for parts.
The new server has much better specs than the old server, but I can't really say if it will run smoothly and without errors until after the transition. I've stress-tested it here and didn't encounter a single problem, but I really don't know how it will behave once hundreds of people are hitting the server at once. So there might be a few hiccups in the beginning, but nothing that can't be solved - hopefully.
Since I'm also changing (colocation-) providers, I really can't say much about the quality of the new connection. My old provider was always b----ing about my server's bandwidth requirements (which is the reason I've changed providers), but their connection was pretty reliable. Uptime has been near 100%, and the connection was almost always pretty fast - even for people from across the Atlantic (which is 99% of the forum's members).
I really have no clue how reliable/fast the new connection will be. On paper the new connection should be much faster (double 100Mbit line), but again I can't really tell until after the transition.
So in short...
Somewhere between Christmas and New Year you will get the "Forum Closed" message. Just try again in a few hours and hopefully your DNS has updated its database and all will be well again.
PS: for those of you who have hardcoded fiero.nl's ip-address in the host file, this is the time to delete that entry.
[This message has been edited by Cliff Pennock (edited 12-23-2003).]