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Element Town • The Recent Downtimes and the Future of Element Town
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The Recent Downtimes and the Future of Element Town

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:54 am
by moltendorf
Hey everyone, this is a little bit of a personal post on what's been going on behind the scenes at the operations desk here at Element Town.

Some of you may have known me for over half a decade now, and some of you may have just met me. But oddly enough, no matter how long you may have known me, you probably don't know me well as I usually don't share too much about my personal life unless you listen to me ramble long beyond the technology stuff. Things haven't been all too well for me over the last few years; I lost my career back in early 2013, and due to health reasons decided to focus on feeling better instead of jumping straight into a new one. Thankfully due to things being relatively stable with our hosting, Element Town hasn't had many hiccups until recently though.

Back when we started Element Town, I wasn't very invested in the community and we had a small website: that was it. But then I fell in love, and joined in as much as any other community member did. Even put my money where my mouth was. But with my love of computers, I couldn't just stop at renting some online services for this... I had to have it all. The dedicated Linux server running every video game under the sun. So I found out about this little thing called "colocation" which allows me to rent space in a real datacenter for a server I actually purchased, assembled, and installed the operating system on my own. We started out running things like Minecraft, Legions, Tribes, Garry's Mod, but have since dwindled to mostly just running Minecraft (lots of Minecraft) because unfortunately most games do not have dedicated server binaries anymore and when they do let the community host servers, they don't actually let us host them, they just let us pay for them (*cough* Battlefield *cough* Call of Duty *cough*). So at first this server was a fun thing for us, but now it just seems to be our TeamSpeak server. Although without this server, I probably wouldn't have had nearly as much fun building and maintaining Element Town as I do and still do. But things loom on the horizon...

Bad things to come, both personally and for Element Town:
  • My health insurance will expire on October 27th, 2015; I need a job before then and hopefully my health issues will be resolved enough for me to not be disabled 6/7 days a week like I was back in 2012.
  • IPv4 addresses have fees tied to them, and this will increase our server bill by $11/mo; not too big of a deal. There's no ETA on when this will take effect.
  • Our hosting wants to move in a different direction and doesn't seem interested in providing small time colocation anymore and wants to move us to a VPS package. This nullifies our investment in our dedicated server and would cost us a fortune in hosting to get something equivalent or force us to downgrade dramatically. There's no ETA on when they want to force us into a VPS package, but it was suggested to us; hopefully not for another year for me to find us either another colocation provider or plan something new out.
Here's some other points about Element Town:
  • We're experiencing our highest activity ever, and we've been this way for over a year now.
  • We pretty much only use TeamSpeak 3.
  • We could probably switch to just a TeamSpeak 3 server rental (and maybe website).
We have a very powerful server. We run TeamSpeak off of it, but we could easily move that to a rental service for $30/mo. We run websites off of it, but we could easily move that to a rental service for $10/mo. But, we use pretty much all of its resources when people play on the Minecraft server (someone uses WorldEdit, and runs a command, bye bye RAM temporarily; someone wants to look at the map, well that uses 1.5 TB of storage, and the Minecraft world folder uses 50 GB of SSD space + 100 GB of SSD for the recent backups). We can't move the Minecraft server to any game host for a reasonable cost; any game host would easily cost us $800/mo+ for said specs.

So we're at a pivot point I guess...

We could either be comfortable where we're at and just stagnate. I could rent a TS3 server and thus guarantee uptime. I could rent a website to put our forums/whatnot (if anyone still uses them) up. I could even rent maybe a small Minecraft server. But with this setup I'd rather shoot for $40/mo or less.

Or... We could keep going this route we've been going, and I hope you are all okay with it. But I want to know if it's worth it and that we'll continue to grow because we've been experiencing a lot of problems lately (with the server; not caused by the server or by you guys, just bad luck I suppose), and we'll have some more rockyness in the near future due to these upcoming events. However, If you don't vote for this option, I won't have anything to play with here at Element Town anymore, and thus I won't be your IT anymore... Just your Administrator. I may become absent and lazy without the giant black hole of a moon of maintenance and love known only as neso.node.mdx.co.

Re: The Recent Downtimes and the Future of Element Town

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:42 pm
by Jack
Moltennnn! We love you and we'll always be here with you! As for everything else, I cannot speak for everyone, but I'm sure we all agree that you are the heart of this community and you will continue to be in our prayers! We love you! :D :D :D