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Maintenance: 4 October 2016

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TaitWatson's Avatar


TaitWatson
09.30.2016 , 12:42 PM | #1 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Hey everyone!

We will be taking the servers offline on October 4th in order to apply Game Update 4.7.2. The website will also be unavailable during this time.

Details:
DATE: October 4, 2016
TIME: 7:00 AM CDT - 11:00 AM CDT (13:00 BST - 17:00 BST)
VERSION: 4.7.2

Patch Notes will be available on Monday, October 3rd.

Thank you for your patience as we maintain Star Wars™: The Old Republic™!
Tait "pariahloki" Watson
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Nebdar's Avatar


Nebdar
09.30.2016 , 10:39 PM | #2
I wonder what bugs have been blasted..... and chopped
Chancellor Keith has ordered construction of New Mega Servers. 5 servers to Rule them ALL. Rebels Beware!
We had our New Hope chapter in SWTOR development it seems now is the time for E(A)mpire Strikes Back or will there will be Return of The Jedi?

RiVaN_'s Avatar


RiVaN_
10.01.2016 , 11:09 AM | #3
So I have a question that has been bothering me for some time, but I have to preface it a little.

Since you have to take your site down every time you do server maintenance, yet there don't seem to be significant changes or updates to your site I think it can be safe to assume that your site is hosted on one of your physical servers also hosting the game.

Why have you not moved your website to a cloud hosting service, or at the very least moved it to a different Virtual Machine or physical server? The current best practices for Internet communications is near 100% uptime, keep the lines of communication and the digital face of the company available to all customers all the time. Depending on which cloud host you go with what I spend in cartel coins and sub fees in a year could pay for your site to be available all the time.

Honestly, it is more than just a little behind the times that you have to take your website down every time you have to do game server maintenance.
Nikolete, Scoundrel - Republic Flashfire
Drivan, Sentinel - Souls of Fate

Jedi Covenant

dr_mike's Avatar


dr_mike
10.01.2016 , 12:23 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by RiVaN_ View Post
*snip*
They separated the forum and website from the game when they did that "forum software upgrade" a month or so ago. During the last couple of patches, the website and the forums have stayed up during the game patching.

And as someone who has worked in the webhosting community since 1995, 100% is just a line you feed folks who think unlimited storage and bandwidth is also true.
Who knows what lurks in the minds of those crazy Sith....
1% gets donated to unemployed Jawas living on Hoth

Andryah's Avatar


Andryah
10.01.2016 , 04:55 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by RiVaN_ View Post
So I have a question that has been bothering me for some time, but I have to preface it a little.

Since you have to take your site down every time you do server maintenance, yet there don't seem to be significant changes or updates to your site I think it can be safe to assume that your site is hosted on one of your physical servers also hosting the game.

Why have you not moved your website to a cloud hosting service, or at the very least moved it to a different Virtual Machine or physical server? The current best practices for Internet communications is near 100% uptime, keep the lines of communication and the digital face of the company available to all customers all the time. Depending on which cloud host you go with what I spend in cartel coins and sub fees in a year could pay for your site to be available all the time.

Honestly, it is more than just a little behind the times that you have to take your website down every time you have to do game server maintenance.
Sometimes the forums come down while patching, sometimes not. Heck sometimes they do maintenance to the servers even though there is no patch to the client side part of the game.

And there is a practical reason for them to reset and perform routine maintenance on the website and forum on regular intervals. 1) restarts tend to clear up caches and other misc collections of information, memory leaks, etc. 2) a restart of the website purges subs that are no longer active, so they can no longer post (something that does not happen until they do a restart). And frankly, it makes sense to do all maintenance at once from an efficiency perspective.

And... it should be noted.. all their server assets reside in hosted facilities (at least in the US, where the webservers also reside). The west coast farm is in southern California and the east coast farm is in Virginia I believe. It very much looks like they lease these from one of the very large server farms that host a wide range of web services.
When you find yourself surrounded by hostile Clowns... always go for the "Juggler" first.

RiVaN_'s Avatar


RiVaN_
10.01.2016 , 11:05 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by dr_mike View Post
They separated the forum and website from the game when they did that "forum software upgrade" a month or so ago. During the last couple of patches, the website and the forums have stayed up during the game patching.

And as someone who has worked in the webhosting community since 1995, 100% is just a line you feed folks who think unlimited storage and bandwidth is also true.

Web hosting since 1995?
I remember 1995, websites were hosted on internal servers at each individual company. There weren't many websites those days compared to now, I remember Yahoo even published a book of common webaddresses that was about 1200 pages and read like a telephone book in 1998) and no one even knew what web hosting or cloud services were, they just didn't exist. There we literally a dozen web hosts and they weren't really even calling themselves that. I believe that GeoCities was one of the largest and they barely gave you enough space to create a rudimentary website.

I did say near 100% uptime, not an expectation that the site would be available always no matter what.
As someone that has also been in the technology field for over 20 years and as the Senior Leader of my organization's IT and Communications Department I also know when you are working with fellow leaders who understand tech and communications ensuring that the website only has brief outages is extremely important. We moved our web server to a VM on a failover cluster years ago and stood up a second VM for all site testing and development. Our site is literally only ever "down" for brief moments while we change a style sheet and reload databases.

We completely overhauled our site 2 years ago and because of our system it was only "down" for less than 2 min.

You are correct 18mbps of bandwidth typically means that you get a threshold of between 14mbps and 19mbps, and with web hosting customers will have outages while you upgrade your data center or make changes to the end user UI, but even Amazon (who is relatively new to web hosting and cloud services gives a near 100% uptime guarantee. My contract with our current web host and ISP guarantees 100% uptime on critical services or we get bill credit. People are hosting DC's DNS, DHCP and AD services with web host's these days because their level of redundancy is built to guarantees you no down time and if you have downtime you are financially compensated.

Quote: Originally Posted by Andryah View Post
Sometimes the forums come down while patching, sometimes not. Heck sometimes they do maintenance to the servers even though there is no patch to the client side part of the game.

And there is a practical reason for them to reset and perform routine maintenance on the website and forum on regular intervals. 1) restarts tend to clear up caches and other misc collections of information, memory leaks, etc. 2) a restart of the website purges subs that are no longer active, so they can no longer post (something that does not happen until they do a restart). And frankly, it makes sense to do all maintenance at once from an efficiency perspective.

And... it should be noted.. all their server assets reside in hosted facilities (at least in the US, where the webservers also reside). The west coast farm is in southern California and the east coast farm is in Virginia I believe. It very much looks like they lease these from one of the very large server farms that host a wide range of web services.
It should also be noted that, in the past, server restarts were required on Windows based web servers to finalize the tasks that you are speaking of. Windows Web Server 2008R2 and many other programs such as SQL, the first version of Dreamweaver, Flash, Java, all teh way through to HTML5, made this no longer necessary. A VM running with in Hyper V can restart a High traffic web server in less that 3 min. Windows servers housed on a VMWare VM can be rebooted in less than a min and a half. Linux based web servers do not require a restart, unless it is a major OS upgrade or a significant change in the Kernel. A website such as SWTOR.com could very easily be housed on it's own seperate VM and can be coded to not require down time for maintenance. The data for subscriber accounts should be housed in a database (Oracle, SQL Etc) and not require a reboot of the server to purge users, even if that purge is automated. As part of my job I must maintain user subscriptions across a dozen different systems and not one of those databases, User forums, PoS or accounting, systems require a server reboot to complete these tasks. A momentary resync of the database, yes, a reboot, never.

A website is really a collection of databases, spreadsheets pictures and some pretty code to make it all look and feel easy to use, interesting and appealing. Typically anything other than serious issues require just a momentary reload of a sheet, database, page etc. The days of a web server requiring a complete reboot ended with a long time ago and the do it yourself website era that companies like Google Sites, WIX and Weebly have brought is going to keep it that way.





Unless SWTOR.com is sitting on on an old, physical, Windows NT server running an odd combo of Visual Basic, MS Access 95, orrigonal HTML and Novel Enterprise Security there really should not be a reason to bring the website offline unless it is housed on the same, physical, servers as the game servers and has to come offline when they take all the other servers down as well. If the servers must be taken offline to conduct updates this suggest a Windows environment. This also explains issues with server mergers, cross server queues, etc. A Windows setup would be based in Hyper V and Hyper V VM's are not capable of as many connections as a VMWare VM, nor is live migration of data between like VM's easily achieved in a windows environment. In a Linux environment data can reside in two locations simultaneously without issue, Microsoft is still trying to work out a completely seamless live migration that allows a user to continue to use/manipulate data while it is being transferred.



Good of you to jump to the defence of BW-A in this thread, but the logistics of it all just doesn't add up. In this day and age a company uses a multitude of communications sources and often times intentionally delivers different info on different sources on purpose so as to diversify their content and audiences. It is still the best practice or industry standard to ensure that the digital face of your company, the company website is constantly available. Allowing an line of communication to be down for any amount of time is looked at as being bad for business. I can count on 1 hand the number of times the AT&T, Verizon, McDonald's, Best Buy, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot, Reddit, Disqus, Blizzard, Ubisoft and Parent company EA's websites have been offline this year. It's about making sure you can always reach your customers, or more accurately, making sure your customers can always reach you.
Nikolete, Scoundrel - Republic Flashfire
Drivan, Sentinel - Souls of Fate

Jedi Covenant

revkashepard's Avatar


revkashepard
10.02.2016 , 01:46 AM | #7
Will this fix terrible server connections and lag spikes and huge lag latency which I've been having for weeks? If you want to make this game competitive with other MMOs, at least make it playable for international players.

Icestar's Avatar


Icestar
10.03.2016 , 04:22 AM | #8
Good to know when the server is down.

I wonder if they have any news regarding courting gifts. I think they should let us trade them in for something else if they are hard to fix.

I do not know what will happen in the upcomming expansion but if there is a romance it would be great to be able to use them,

TheRandomno's Avatar


TheRandomno
10.03.2016 , 07:48 AM | #9
Need those patch notes
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psandak's Avatar


psandak
10.03.2016 , 08:01 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by RiVaN_ View Post
...snip
how about a more practical reason: for as long as I have been playing MMOs, whenever there is maintenance and the forums are available, umpteen threads are created:

"when are the servers coming back up"
"OMG the servers are still down; they said they would be up at X and they are not W T F"
"why does maintenance have to happen at this time"

To alleviate those inevitable threads they take down the website...
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