That's it.. at least that was my part of it, this machine is up and running and the first website has been online for a couple of hours... Everybody seems surprised how well the launch went. But somehow, it doesn't really surprise me, because most of those people have shown a pretty good amount of cluelessness, topped by the head of development on this project who was responsible for planning, implementing this system. What did he do? Well... Plan and implement something that didn't exist. But maybe it was just his very own cache that refused to flush an old page and replace it with a newer one
And caching was a BIG part of the game... After having to admit that his selfwritten piece of software couldn't handle the PLANNED traffic on this site, he insisted on taking stress from the application by caching large parts of its output. Ok, too bad for him, that he had his people writing crappy software, but trying to push the problem over to the administration side of this, that's one bad thing to do. :) He even said that.. "Hey, my application can't handle the load, I need to do something about it and time is running out. Listen, if you make any mistakes or build systems that are not easily administrated, no one will blame you for it, but I'm managing this project AND I wrote parts of the software myself, so if there's anything going wrong with this projects, they'll out for my head.":.. Ah, ok.. And MY job is to protect him from the consequences of his own mistakes? Definately not :> Ok, he couldn't get me on this attempt, so he tried to make it look more professional. You see, HE basically is a developer. A person able to write code and... as a part of that: able to read other people's code. He told me, he read the Apache source code and found out, that it's proxy module would be fine for the purpose of caching application output, thus reducing the load. If only he'd seen the log message saying
proxy_cache.c(1011): No CacheRoot, so no caching. Declining., but even that didn't stop him from his caching mania. Ok, at last, I was able to convince him that Apache was not caching at that time. After that, I set a CacheRoot to actually try making Apache buffer a thing or two. But the the result was: right, nothing was cached at all, the CacheRoot directory was as empty as it was upon creation. And yet again, Mr Super Project Manager called and wanted me to make Apache cache. ":No way", I said and there is no way to make Apache cache just by using mod_proxy.
Well, that issue was solved on a higher level, boss said that there's no way to make Apache cache. But I'm not as mean as one may think, not wanting to help my coworkers. I made something different. Instead of preventing traffic, I made the surrounding parts of the system faster. Maybe there was a bottleneck at some part of the system but it had better shown or remained silent forever ;) I don't see the point in slowing a system down artificially in order to protect some crappy piece of code which CAN be improved. And well... The amount of actual throughput didn't really increase, but the whole application is a lot "snappier" now. Most of this was done by reducing the amount of RewriteRules in the Apache configuration and using a custom Apache module for backend communication instead of http and the standard mod_proxy. But it broke the application in some special way: A referrer ID(put into the URL by partner sites) was not visible to some pages on this site. In other words: I broke the rewriting ruleset and made everything worse and I had to rebuild the original way of fetching backend data: mod_proxy and HTTP. Great effect, everything worked and was n times slower than my version :) So I got my time to try to build my set of rules again, without that referrer-bug. And it worked, because there was no need to carry that referrer ID around all the time. What do those developers think, session ids are for?
But that's just SOME episodes of how working on this project was: a major pain in the rear! (Mostly) due to one clueless person not taking any helping hand that was offered to him. Anyways.. I also had quite some fun as long as I had the machine for myself(the idea of making this page sprang into my mind in such a moment :)) and I had the opportunity to fool around with some big iron without a deadline in sight :) And of course there are other things which keep you trying and trying until you succeed. Things and people which distract you from the menial and sometimes even nauseous parts of your work. Things that keep your mind in check when there's everday's work to do like installing a webserver for the 2598249562946th time in your life.
This might sound like some fortune cookie, but let me tell you: If your work does take control over your private life, it's time to reset some priorities. Work is not your whole life and the other way 'round. And this site is NOT educational. I even doubt its entertaining values, but try to do everything in moderation, spread your interests and deepen your knowledge on these things as time passes by. Learn to see opportunities or in general: learn! Face every bad thing, see everything you don't like as a challenge.. to change it. There is only motion. Move things, if they won't move by reason, move them by force. If you're not determined to do something, don't do it, choose another way. Otherwise, be loyal to yourself, don't betray yourself and do, whatever it takes to succeed in what you're trying to do, doing it YOUR way. I had a dream of how this machine should be built and it was built like that :)
Ok, I'm almost finished. Just some greetings to end this boring text nobody will ever read :))
People who made this possible(in no apparent order):
Of course, my employers, paying my bills and keeping people getting on my nerves away from me as good as they can, providing me with the possibility to work and learn and increase my value on the job market :)
The folks on #the-dude, current and former coworkers, most of them friends or whatever you call people you can spend 8h in a row and more with without shouting too much at one another. Thanks for your support, help and understanding, when I spent hours in front of the monitor, headphones on my head and deafening music on them. Cheers windwalk, ThinkNeXT, honx and the rest of you :)
Another IRC channel to greet: #schwarzes-hamburg, those poor people usually have to suffer from my worst moods :) Big thanks to all those people who have tried to pull me out of my daily routine for whatever reasons and gave up for similar unintelligible reasons ('lo Ini, 'lo Atti, 'lo Sousie) and those people who still do('lo Pendragon, Mentallo, Fussel, Entrox and folks :)).
Now, that's it.. thanks for reading and keep visiting the main site, so I can still make my living from it ;)) well, at least part of it :)
Greetings from your ever so ill-tempered Systems Administrator :)
now playing: Nine Inch Nails - And all that could have been