Guru3D behind the scenes - the servers
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 02/07/2007 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Guru3D behind the scenes
The server farm
Much like many of the endless amount of websites that started out small; Guru3D.com or back then called "The Voodoo Guru" started out in 1997 on a homepage as hosted by an ISP. See back in 1997 there was this company called 3dfx who introduced the first real 3D graphics accelerator add-on card and the support for it was lacking. This quite honestly how yours truly started with the website.
I remember it very well... as the first week we had 50 visitors, after two weeks daily 500 pageviews and after three weeks my ISP kindly advised me to get an actual hosting plan as we sucked up too much bandwidth. Yeah, they booted me. In 1999 Voodoo Guru (Voodoo was the graphics chipset of the 3dfx product) changed it's name into The Guru of 3D as the 3D market was changing rapidly and I felt that the website needed to expand to that market dynamic. I wanted diversity; it was a very good move because merely half a year later NVIDIA bought 3dfx.
So moving forward to the year 2000 we where pushing roughly half a million page views per month which ran on a rented hosting solution. We constantly had to move to other hosting partners due to our constant expanding needs. I'll cut this story short as over the past four years things have changed significantly. We had a massive interest from our readers and that little website that is called guru3d.com nowadays pushes 10 to 15 million pageviews each and every month. Sure, we are not Tom's hardware but to be able to deal with such an amount of traffic... you really can't rely on hosting plans any longer.
To be able to cope with that intense demand we started purchasing our own servers, and get the several segments of the website dedicated. Today we'll have a peek at the datacenter where our servers are located, a small introduction behind the technology and thus a small insight on the stuff that is feeding your hunger for information !
Let's move into the article. Okay gents and ladies, here we go.
Guru3D.com's servers are stationed in the Easynet datacenter, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We are "co-located" by Mediaserve. To cut costs we used to have our servers located in the USA and Australia. Yet recently after an incident in Australia I decided to have them located close-by and have the servers managed by internal staff members.
Basically to manage our content we have three web servers and one database server. In addition to that at different geographical locations in the world we also have file-mirrors. Sweden has a guru3d.com file-server, Greece has a file-server, the USA has a file-server and in Australia we outsourced our file-hosting.
So for content: four servers, and for our file-distribution again four servers. The file-servers are located globally to assure that you guys can pick a spot which is close by to you and thus hopefully for you files will download faster for you.
Anyway, today it's all about the four content servers, as these are the ones located in the Amsterdam Datacenter. The Easynet datacenter has over 5000 m2 of total space. It comes with hefty security measures and has redundant backup power generators, airconditioners, well it was built ground up to be a professional data-center, and it shows.
Easynet is divided into several segments and rooms, and within these rooms we can find data suites (the cages you can see in the upper photo). These data suites are kept at a steady 21 degrees C temperature and a 50% humidity level to ensure the servers are not overheating due to ambient air temperature.
I already mentioned that this is a very secure location not only to keep people out, yet also in terms of protection of the equipment. You'll notice that it's protected with
- Video security camera's in and outside the building
- Aspiration Smoke Detection Apparatus
- Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus
- MIST fire suppression system
- Proximity Access Cards
- 24/7 security staff
Furthermore also very simple yet effective stuff .. for example the racks are equipped with locks, so that very few people can actually access the servers.
When we pass the strict security and enter the data-suite we can locate racks. Each rack holds a multitude of servers, these servers are connected to switches and routers, which,is in turn connected directly to the internet backbone.
To be a tad more specific, we are located into a network with 10,3 Gbps capacity build based on foundry equipment. The network has been build with uptime in mind as it's a ringbus architecture which basically boils down to this: if a datacenter cable, port, switch or server fails the connectivity it will automatically be forwarded over the next best available connection.
- Easynet Datacenter (Routing & Housing POP)
- TelecityRedbus III NL (Routing POP)
- TelecityRedbus III UK (Switching POP)
- SARA Reken en Netwerkdiensten (Routing POP)
- InterXion Belgium (Routing POP)
- LCL Telehousing Belgium (Switching & Housing POP)
This ring consists out of the datacenter's mentioned above. For the freaks we make use of the following uplinks (internet backbones) to get the data served to you:
- AMS-IX (Amsterdam - 2000baseSX)
- LINX (Londen - 100baseTX)
- BNIX (Brussel - 1000baseSX)
- NL-IX & OpenPeering (Amsterdam - 1000baseSX)
- FreeBIX (Brussel - 100baseTX)
- TeliaSonera (2000baseSX)
- Interoute (1000baseSX)
- Cogent Communications (1000baseSX)
- JointTransit (1000baseSX)
- KPN-IS (1000baseSX)
Right we have landed in the data-suite, that's me (Hilbert) working in the background, today we are installing a new forum server. Let's have a look at the racks.
Earlier this week we again drove to the datacenter to install our newest server "Corleone", a new front-end server that is soon going to be used for our rapidly growing forums. We'll show you the specs and some insider info on that server later on. but first let's have a look at where we are hosted, the racks, the gear and the network we are broadcasting over.
Guru3D behind the scenes - the servers
A small behind the secenes view of Guru3D.com's servers, the datacenter. A fun read to understand what is needed to power the Guru3D.com website.