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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Offers of help to get TMN a server

Thank you to everyone who has offered or forwarded offers of help for getting TMN a new server.

Please contact directors@themommiesnetwork.org if you would like to let us know about any contacts or help you can offer in this area.

I would also like to explain further what type of computer hardware TMN needs for those of you with IT knowledge or family/friends with IT knowledge since many people do not understand the type of equipment we can use.

Most people think of computers as tower-shaped PCs that you can buy at Best Buy or build from parts at Fry's or some other retail components store. This is not the type of computers TMN, or other medium to large commerical web sites, use to run their sites. The type of server TMN needs is shaped like a heavy, rectangular pizza box and is designed to be rack mounted at a co-location facility. We can use 1U and 2U sized servers. Our current server is a dual-processor x86-based server running Linux. It probably cost between $3000 and $4000 when it was new. TMN does not own this server. The donated server I got for TMN to replace our leased server in the short term is a slight upgrade from that server that will allow us to sustain our current size. It was about a $4000 server when it was new. Neither of these servers can keep up with our current growth. We have approx. 30,000 users and grow by around 100 members a day. We have anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 page views every day. If more than 3% of our membership nationwide log on at the same time, our server slows down to almost a standstill. It is really amazing that we've gone this long with the hardware we have.

We cannot build a server from PC-quality components to meet the demands of our usage level. We need industry-grade servers with fault tolerance, expandability, service contracts, etc.. The our technical team spent a long time researching servers and pricing. Entry-level servers of this quality start around $5000. When you add in the amount of memory and disk space TMN needs, plus things like a backup systems, load balancers, etc., you are easily into the 10s of thousands of dollars. These are the types of servers medium & large businesses and universities use to run their primary web sites.

If you can help with getting TMN this type of hardware, we would love to hear from you. If you can donate this type of equipment, or know someone who can, that would be even better. All donations are tax deductible too!

Thanks and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to talk with anyone about our technical needs.

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