Archive of Our Own: We can has servers!

We’re super-excited to announce that we’ve just taken delivery of the brand-new servers for the Archive of Our Own! \0/ Our new, vastly expanded server setup gives us more power, more memory, and more room for expansion, and we are THRILLED to be able to have them. They have been purchased with the generous support of fandom – thanks to all our awesome members and donors!

What we’re buying

Check out Meet the Machines! for full details on our server family. Our original server setup had just two servers: a main database server and a backup. We’re adding three more servers to this, plus a storage server and a switch, so our new setup will look like this:

Diagram showing server setup, with two database servers, two Rails servers, a static server, and a NAS server for backups, file hosting, etc. The servers communicate via a switch.

Money matters

We bought our servers from an awesome company iXSystems, who specialise in open source applications and were really responsive to our needs. They gave us a great deal: our DB server was US$5,554, and the Rails twins were US$4,193 each. The storage server was US$3,014, and the switch that lets them all talk to each other was US$280. In total we spent US$17,234 on new hardware, which is a great price for the kind of machines we’ve invested in.

Buying new servers also means paying more hosting costs – we own the machines, but we hire space for them with a colocation company who hook them up to the internet. When we had just two servers, we were paying US$228 per month for our 2U of rack space and bandwidth. With the new servers, we’ll be paying US$800 per month for 8U of rack space plus extra bandwidth. Because our new servers are such powerful beasts, the company are running a brand new power cable just for us.

All of this investment was paid for by donations from fans! The AO3 is funded by donations to our parent org, the Organization for Transformative Works; the success of our last membership drive, which raised US$18,308.46, gave us the financial confidence to make this investment. Thank you to all our supporters!

If you’d like to support the ongoing development of the AO3 and the OTW, you can donate at any time. A donation of just US$10 makes you a member of the OTW (if you so desire) and confers voting rights in Board elections. Donations over US$50 also qualify for a variety of nommy premiums.

What this means for Archive users

More speed! More features! More fanworks! Once we’re up and running with this setup, we’ll be much better able to handle high loads, so you’ll be seeing much less of our sad 502 page! We’ll also be able to start thinking seriously about hosting multimedia fanworks – we still have work to do before we can start hosting fanart, but it’s definitely in sight now! We’ll also be able to start moving towards implementing Subscriptions on the Archive – one of our most-requested features.

Server installation: Archive downtime

In order to install our new servers and move to the new setup, we will have extended Archive downtime. We’re still coordinating with our colocation company, but we’re expecting to have two periods of downtime in the week beginning 30th January. All Archive user accounts will be emailed as soon as we know the exact timing (now is a good time to check that your registered email is still correct) and we’ll be posting on our news blogs and to our Twitter accounts @ao3_status and @ao3org as more news arrives.

Server naming festival

These servers belong to fandom, so it’s only right that fandom should get to name them! During our downtime, we’ll be running a server naming festival and soliciting suggestions for names for our servers (and their trusty switch). Meet the Machines to find out what they are like and start thinking about what they should be called! More information on the competition coming soon!


We are EXCITED! Thank you, fandom!

Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own.

Announcement, Archive of Our Own

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