Monthly Archive for July, 2010

Squidwolf > Blog > 2010 > July

Slot backlog bills refund As a part of undoing the slot rental being cancelled due to billing backlog, it was decided to refund all backlog bills paid yesterday. I just wanted to share the numbers with you as they are quite interesting. Yesterday 409 distinct owners paid backlog bills for $9,819 CAD in 2,454 transactions, that’s quite a sum. We are giving it all back to you.

We have found a solution to the problem, which I think should be agreeable to most. We will effectively double the available slots by utilising unused resources on Polaris-only servers (Alive and Surface). We will work out, from the backup taken before the patch was applied, who lost slots. Those that lost slots, will be given slots from the new pool.
We will also wipe all backlog bills.
This will allow the members that got slots today to keep them and the members that lost slots due to backlog, to only loose access to them for one day.

In version 0.0.2 there was a bug in the billing system. It basically caused it to not send out bills for the premium ALPHA services. This lead to members using resources which they are not paying for.

One of the fixes in 0.0.2:09 was to fix up the billing system; a part of that fix was to work on the backlog of unpaid bills. The backlog of bills is being sent out a 60 min interval. How many bills each member gets is varied according to how much free stuff he/she has used. Not paying a backlog bill has the unfortunate side effect of cancelling your membership.

There are basically two issues that stem from these bug fixes

1. Members that had kept a lot of server slots for later use and have not gotten bills for them are getting a huge backlog. The amounts can be quite high. There is little unfairness going on here, the price was known and you should have expected to get billed eventually.

2. Members that were honestly using their slots but didn’t have the chance to pay the bills at the right time (as they weren’t sent out) and were not logged in when the backlog was worked down and therefore didn’t have a chance to pay the bills, have gotten their slots cancelled. I agree that this is unfair but this is a case that is difficult to fix as new people have taken the opportunity to rent the slots.

Celina Gilbert, the creator of Limitless Strings used Project: Hazel to illustrate her technology at WalesHack 2010.

We are working on another service for the next expansion scheduled to bring us into Private BETA this December called Squidwolf Time Machine.

Basically we are taking Apple’s cool feature in OS X called Time Machine and expanding it beyond the current walled garden to allow for huge backups over the Internet.

Watch this space!

We had to schedule an extended downtime today to do some over due database maintenance.

Over the 2 months that we have been live, vast amounts of logs have been produced; this has been slowly degrading SQL server performance. It first became and issue last Sunday. Database load coupled with node deaths as a result of that, was the biggest reason for the network not setting a new simultaneous users record last Sunday (we have set a new record each Sunday since release) and signup/churn last week was more than enough for a new one.

We decided do the monthly DB shrink that is planned as part of the maintenance schedule today, instead of doing it at the same time as the patch, which will be Thursday and will unfortunately mean another extended downtime (should be shorter, given smaller DB).

During the operation today we saw opportunities for improvements, so future monthly database log cleanup session should be much shorter.

We have also escalated the acquisitions of additional database cluster resources, the database cluster was built with it in mind to grow with the network so we have quite a lot of headroom there.

With the database cleanup we are good for some weeks more, based on current subscription increase. By that time we will have acquired the DB resources required, so we still have quite a bit to grow before we have to start a new cluster (shard the world).