October Membership Drive: Hardware and Hosting Costs

As yesterday’s post discussed, the OTW has many ongoing costs that allow us to do the variety of work needed to keep our projects running. One of our largest expenses is for hardware and hosting.

Our most costly project, the Archive of Our Own, accounts for many of our hardware and hosting expenses, although these expenses affect other OTW areas as well since our projects overlap in terms of what they use. The following information, which our Systems Committee provided to the OTW Board earlier this year, gives an overview of some recent and upcoming expenses.

Project Growth

The Archive is growing at around 100,000 page views per day per week, and the number of pages served is roughly doubling every 10 months. With our previous equipment, we lacked the redundancy to take significant machines out of service for routine maintenance. Additionally, we needed servers for infrastructure such as backups and email, and for rendering works as pdf, epub and so forth, so we have been undertaking new expenses to correct this.

The following purchases have been made in the past few months.

Phase 1: A new server for test and infrastructure at a capital cost of $13,882; also a temporary new virtual server at an estimated expense of $20 a month to build and test the configuration for the new incoming email server we’ll bring up after Phase 2. We are also doubling our bandwidth at a cost of $3,000 a year; due to our rapid growth we cannot predict when upgrades are needed, but the need could arise suddenly as it did in 2012.

Upcoming Costs

Just over a month ago, the Archive passed its 200,000th registered user. Since then we have added over 13,000 account holders with many more times that number accessing the Archive daily. These are additional expenses we will be undertaking in the following months.

Phase 2: We need a new machine to run virtual machines (including Fanlore and our incoming email server) and to replace our NAS (network attached storage server), enabling us to move the previous NAS to a third datacenter. This will provide us with limited geographic redundancy and decrease our risk of losing access in the event of natural disasters or network interruptions. This will be a capital expense of $11,568 with an additional $1,200 per year.

Phase 3: A separate rack in our datacenter is needed. We plan to buy a second system which would be capable of holding the Archive database and running it as the production system -— a capability we currently lack. We will additionally buy two new servers that generate pages for the Archive. This is a capital expense of $39,915 and an additional $10,920 ongoing per year.

Phase 4: We need a new dev system to allow developers who do not have home systems capable of developing for the OTW to do so on our own systems. This would be a capital expense of $13,882.

In total, to buy all the equipment listed in Phases 1-4 we would need to spend about $73,948 and an additional $18,384 a year with around $500 in shipping costs. These prices are based on current quotations and are therefore subject to change.

Support the OTW!

As you can see from the above, there are significant costs in providing our services. But along with our growing costs we have been getting increasing contributions from fans. This is where you come in!

All our projects are entirely funded by donations to the Organization for Transformative Works: we don’t run ads on any of our sites or charge people to use them. If the OTW’s projects make your fandom experience a little better and you have some money to spare, please donate to the OTW to help keep us thriving! A donation of US$10 confers membership in the OTW and the right to vote in organizational elections. At higher donation levels there are some awesome thank-you gifts to choose from.

Thank you to all our donors, past, present and future! We appreciate your support!