The Cactus and Succulent Plant Mall
Cactus-Mall Blog
Saturday, November 10, 2007
  Cactus-Mall Server
I have just sent this email to all our customers. I am aware that the list of email addresses I am using may have some obsolete addresses so if you do not get this sometime this morning please let me know at what address you would like to receive such messages:

I would like to thank all our customers for extreme patience over the last very difficult week as well as those of you who have sent messages of support. Suzanne and I have had a particularly difficult four weeks - some of you know some of the details and more will come out over the next few.

The server seems a little more stable although I have no particular confidence in there not being more breaks of service. You can contact me on cacti@mace.demon.co.uk if necessary during an outage.

As you probably know I have been looking urgently for a new server to move all our domains to. I had been told over the last year that our Alabanza server was looking increasingly expensive. Having now got a feel for costs from other providers I can agree that the cost was above average although not hugely so - perhaps 15-20% - and in former circumstances that would not have made me move because of the good support I got from Alabanza staff and the amount of work involved in a move. A lot of the cost related to the large amount of data moved in and out of our sites (I was purchasing 700 Gb per month, although not all of it was used - peak month earlier this year was around 400 Gb)

One thing has emerged and that is I shall be able to get a lot more disk space for the same price. I will be allocating you all at least double for the same price as some compensation for the problems. Some sites will not perhaps need this but they can in that case allocate it to one of the Society sites who I am sure can find uses for it. I would hope that once past this initial financial and technical crisis (and more of that elsewhere) I will be able to double this allocation again by next August.

For some of the higher cost sites I also hope to be able to offer some reduction in price assuming there is not an exodus of customers.

One thing I will be strict about is the some half dozen hosting customers who are excessively behind with their bills (in some cases more the a year) I can no longer afford to carry these sites.

I have a number of technical issues still to resolve about certain specialised facilities and I will be contacting the small number of customers involved to discuss the best solutions. This only involves domain hosting customers. Advertisers and those with pages on cactus-mall.com will not be affected in any way.

I have had a number of comments on slowness of the server since the move. I have found it somewhat erratic - occasionally very slow but mostly unchanged from before the move. Some of it was undoubtedly routing tables and the like settling down, some due to catching up with backlog of mail but I think also there may be a large effect from customers from all the moved servers copying all their data from the systems to move to other suppliers. Which brings me to another point. Those of you responsible for your own domain should make sure you have
an up-to-date copy of your website on your local system. When we move you will need to reload your files. Those of you with Forums etc may need to copy MySQL databases as well. If you don't have your own expert in doing this probably one of our more experienced user can help.
 
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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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