The Cactus and Succulent Plant Mall
Cactus-Mall Blog
Friday, December 28, 2007
  Problems on Navisite Server
The old server seems to be very sick this morning. Very slow reponses, frequenting timing out, if it can be contacted at all. I hope we shall still be able to move the BCSS websites this morning but it may make it difficult to do the final backups.
 
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
  Demon Internet
Today much of Demon Internet seems to have vanished into a black hole. Some of our mail still comes through this route so some communications will be disrupted. Seemed that it started sometime late yesterday. It shouldn't have any directe effects of the Cactus-Mall websites or our other internet services. Any urgent posts can go to suzanne [at] paperweight-mall.com.
 
Monday, December 24, 2007
  BCSS Domain move
The move of the BCSS internet systems has been fixed to start at 10am on
Friday 28th December.

Affected services
-----------------

The BCSS website
The BCSS forum
BCSS Mailing lists including BCSS announce, the fgp list, convention
list
BCSS Mail boxes including future@bcss.org.uk and those of officials
BCSS Subscription form
BCSS Publications sales system
BCSS Sub-domains that are part of the main BCSS site:

exeter.bcss.org.uk
high-wycombe.bcss.org.uk
highlands.bcss.org.uk

BCSS Sub-domains that are independent accounts apart from the domain
name:

anglia.bcss.org.uk
essex.bcss.org.uk
fife.bcss.org.uk
london.bcss.org.uk
macclesfield.bcss.org.uk
oxford.bcss.org.uk
northants.bcss.org.ok
portsmouth.bcss.org.uk
southampton.bcss.org.uk
sussex.bcss.org.uk
teesside.bcss.org.uk
yorkshire.bcss.org.uk

Not affected
------------

The journal system
The finance system
The enquiry system

as these are already migrated

The teeside sub-domain is a special case as they have their own domain
name which has already migrated.

The subscription form I hope to migrate earlier than the other changes
as it is highly critical and there are special considerations attached
to it. I will send my plans directly to David Kirkbright and David
Slade.

Some of the BCSS domain synonyms have already been shifted to the new
server.

Timescales
----------

Most of the files will have been copied prior to the move.

There will be some last minute copying to cope with any late changes. I
would appreciate notification of any changes made to any of the sub-
domain websites on the 26th or 27th.

When I change the nameservers on bcss.org.uk, there will be a fairly
transparent switch between the old and new servers as far as the
websites are concerned. Currently messages on making these switches
suggest a period of 24 hours should be left before the worldwide
nameserver systems are updated to the new location. Experience over the
last month has shown that most accesses switch within an hour.
Attempts to send email within this period are likely to be unreliable.

The Forum will take longer to get back as a very large database has to
be copied. 5-6 hours is likely. Ian will be handling this aspect for
me so that I can concentrate on other systems.

Resources
---------

Most of the aspects of the BCSS accounts will have at least twice the
amount of resources in terms of disk space, transfer etc on the new
server.

I will discuss the resources of the branch and zone sites directly with
those concerned. Basically they will be able to chose between having
substantially more resources at the same price or the same resources at
a reduced price.

Individual mailboxes will be set up as previously.

The operation of the mailing lists will be very much upgraded. We have
a choice of two different systems which are suitable for very different
uses. The pHp mailing list is particularly suitable for those wanting
to send out Newsletters or the like to a considerable number of users.
The other system, Mailman is more suitable for discussion groups where
some or all of the contributors can post. This is particularly suitable
fro BCSS-announce. This currently has around 140 members. I have been
very reluctant in the past to allow this to expand too much as the list
is manually maintained and keeping large lists of email addresses which
are always changing is a major task. The new system however has very
powerful management systems for such a list including bounce tracking,
subscription validation, so I will be opening it up for additional BCSS
members who may find it useful. Ability to post can be controlled at an
individual level, including moderation systems.

Of the new software available on the new server which has not already
been mentioned I think the alternative Image Gallery systems and Blogs
will be of most interest to Branch and Zone sites while the Wiki, Adds
and WebCalendar system are most like to be of interest to the National
Society website. This is apart from the more general website
development tools which will be of interest to both.

More after the migration.
 
Sunday, December 23, 2007
  New server progress
We now have around 70 domains transferred to the new server.
Progress the last couple of days is largely down to my French colleagues as I have been plagued with power cuts (3 in the last 48 hours with a total downtime of around 6 hours and more if you add recovery from broken processes etc. I hope today will be more productive.

The BCSS domains, their websites, forum, sub-domains, sales and subscription systems are likely to be moved either the Thursday or Friday after Christmas.
 
This Blog will note updates to the Cactus-Mall and other related websites like the British Cactus and Succulent Society and the Mesemb Study Group. I will give my thoughts on the current state of the Cactus and Succulent hobby and discuss topical subjects which I think need airing. I hope it can be used by others to give us feedback on the development of the now 10 years old Cactus-Mall and what you think of its usefulness and ways in which we might improve this.

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