Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

MediaTemple Grid Server (GS) Reliability & Uptime

Posted in Hosting,Uptime by Elliott Back on August 7th, 2009.

Recently I switched to the MediaTemple Grid Server, which at $20 a month, is much cheaper than a dedicated host. Although with ~15,000 hits a day I’m running close to the GPU limit, moving to a dedicated-virtual server is also just $50 a month. So–how well does Media Temple stay online? Do they suck like Dreamhost and 1and1?

The answer is no: Media Temple (MT) is pretty reliable. When I say pretty, here are some numbers from Pingdom, via their new free service:

Checks with downtime
Check name Uptime Downtime Outages Response time
Wordpress 99.55% 3h 14m 52s 10 672 ms

This meant approximately 200 visitors would have missed out on my website–not a bad amount of downtime at all. However, this is just one month, and we’ll have to see if anything particularly disastrous shall happen in the future. I’ll keep you all posted!

Update: here are stats for August:

Check name Uptime Downtime Outages Response time
Wordpress 99.92% 0h 34m 57s 6 905 ms

Update: here are stats for September:

Check name Uptime Downtime Outages Response time
Wordpress 99.77% 1h 34m 36s 14 981 ms

Update: here are stats for October:

Check name Uptime Downtime Outages Response time
Wordpress 99.50% 3h 39m 28s 15 582 ms

So far YTD my uptime is 99.69%, according to Pingdom.

MySQL on the Media Temple GRID

Posted in Blogging,Computers & Technology,Performance,Scalability by Elliott Back on January 21st, 2007.

Media Temple has an excellent article on their blog about the abuse of their poor MySQL servers on the “grid”. Their problems stemmed from a new user-base who had poorly performant web-applications:

Having an 8-year history of catering to high-demand websites we thought we had seen it all but this new level of load “requirement” was blindsiding. Our new offering quickly became a refuge for sites that were kicked off their old hosting company; a common industry practice. Because of their high database load “requirements” and need of resources, these site owners were shut down immediately and told to leave other hosts. Many of these “orphaned” users had applications, code, and query instructions that were grossly inefficient for even a massive dedicated server.

This is something sites like WordPress.com don’t have to worry about, because they’re running their own code. They know they’ll scale by adding more hardware. That’s something harder to say when an idiot who’s hacked their blog software to do 1000s of cartesian joins suddenly connected to a mysql cluster node and takes it down. And if he fails over to another one…

Apple’s iPad Tablet Sucks

Posted in Apple,iPad by Elliott Back on January 28th, 2010.

The big buzz of the day is Apple’s new iPad tablet PC. For $499 you get a 10″ version of the iPod touch, with apps that have been redesigned for the new screen real estate. “With a screen this large, you can just see, more, of the web as you’re surfing.” All the existing iPhone applications are promised to work out of the box. The more expensive versions come with support for 3G (data only) and come unlocked (yay). There’s one new built-in application, called iBook which let you purchase books from the libraries of 5 major american publishers (Penguin, Harper-Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group), in open ePub format. As the kindle DX sells for $489, if the screen brightness doesn’t hurt too much, it could be a potential competitor. The 10-hour battery life is certainly enough to read a book in.

Now, a list of things I don’t like (here is Gizmodo’s):

  • 1024×768 screen doesn’t do 1080p, wide-screen video
  • No Camera built-in (no video chat!)
  • No multitasking
  • No 3G voice service (or even T-Mobile 3G)
  • No Mac OS apps (you get the iPhone/iTouch OS)
  • Wasted space in the bezel
  • No Random House books
  • iWorks costs $30
  • Twice as expensive as an iTouch
  • No chat built-in
  • No SD card or USB ports
  • No GPS
  • No Adobe Flash

When you can go buy a svelte 13″ Macbook Pro for just $1200, or 33% more than the top-of-the line iPad, why would buy an iPad? If you already have an iPhone you won’t buy it, because in terms of strict functionality, the iPhone is a superset. If you have an iTouch you may agonize about getting that extra screen real-estate. A commenter on Slashdot summed it up best:

It’s more than just an iPod touch that won’t fit in your pocket…it’s also an underpowered netbook with no keyboard. It’s the worst of both worlds!

Oh wait, someone on Reddit too:

Just yesterday I was looking at my iPhone thinking “Hmmm, I wish this thing didn’t fit in my pocket and couldn’t make phone calls.” Then I looked over to my netbook and couldn’t help but feel it would benefit from losing the keyboard and being made of 50% glass.

Wait for version two. The price will drop. Then maybe it can be a sort of “upgrade my kindle” purchase.

Update: Check out Charlie Brooker’s iPad therefore iWant?.

Update 2: Just tried the iPad, not impressed. UI is sluggish, wifi at the Apple store cutting in and out, and the display is terrible! For reading, text is just too fuzzy, whereas the kindle is crystal clear. See What the iPad is Missing (No, it’s not a Camera) and Font Rendering: Respecting The Pixel Grid for some thoughts on why reading on the iPad isn’t the experience you hoped it would be.

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