After not getting much sleep last night — and not for any good reason, I just couldn’t sleep for the longest time — I got in to work this morning to find our webserver completely out of space.
Eventually I worked out that the transaction log was, well, gargantuan. Enormous. And even though we have 2TB of storage just sitting around, we can’t use any of that because it’s a perfectly good Debian RAID server that came along after the initial investment in… Windows 2000, MSSQL 2000, a commercial mail server, ISS, Visual Studio and who knows what else.
This is why you don’t let your bosses make technology decisions for you. We’re not doing rocket science here. This isn’t a high-load database context, or some complex thing that needs a heavy-duty solution. What we need is a hang-glider. What we have is the Deathstar.
What really bothers me is we could have, with a tiny bit more investment in personnel, and a lot less invested in buying software, have done this all for, essentially, free. Apache is used around the world, as is Postfix, as is MySql or Postgre, as is PHP (or any of the other up-and-comers). We could have done it for an up-front cost of zero dollars in software and used the money saved to hire a competent person to administer the servers and do some simple web programming.
But no, we went the comfortable, half-assed route, and instead of creating a site that just works, we have a site that half-works, sometimes, and is tied in to proprietary programs that will chain us to an upgrade cycle that we either submit to and pay the price over the long term, or escape and pay the price in the short term.
At least you can say, if you’re chained to Linux or BSD or Solaris, that your upgrade cycle is essentially free, barring hardware costs. You can, at least, say that.
This morning, to get back to the original thing, I had to wade through a tide of screens, logins, and all that sort of thing, and figure out a horrible GUI just to manage a database. And then figure out the command syntax, which makes no sense whatsoever. And then finally, after two hours of research, the entire task took five minutes to execute.
And, to top it off, the beyond-ridiculous antipathy of some of my former compatriots to body modification has reared its head again, if only on my periphery. Still, I won’t say anything about that, lest I say something stupid.