Technology & costs of the OMSI WebDisk

Server OMSI-WebDisk

Foreword

Until early May 2020 we had a relatively small dedicated server via Hetzner Online. When a MOD was released and the 1 Gbit connection (popularly known as the "1,000 line") was fully loaded, there were occasionally longer page load times up to a smaller, but only temporary failure (to Sobol squint lol).


However, the duration and frequency of the downtime remained within acceptable limits, so switching to a larger server to minimise costs was out of the question. "Minor inconveniences" were just now and then.

Partial closure of the MOF

We were not at all prepared for the partial closure of Marcel Kuhnt's OMSI Forum announced on 26.04.2020 from 01 May 2020 and the subsequent rush to ourThis resulted in considerable stability problems and performance slumps, which we initially bridged with technical limitations, see article Future changes and adjustments of the WebDisk.


The publisher of the omnibus simulator and OMSI 2, Aerosoft GmbH, did not leave us out in the rain and they gave their word to support to support us financially more strongly, so that we could guarantee our platform financially secured in a stable environment.

A more powerful server with greater connectivity was now being sought. Our previous 1 Gbit line had often proved to be inadequate in the past during peak loads. However, the most important factor was the financial aspect.


A look into the vastness of the World-Wide-Web gave no good hope. Often servers with a 10 Gbit uplink are only offered from around 300 EUR upwards, probably noticed per month(!). These are astronomical and by no means sustainable prices. Alternatively, there are also possible intransparent constructs, where a 10 Gbit network card can be bought as an additional option and the costs for the data traffic are added, which, however, as a total combination is also much too high in price

Partnership with Tube Hosting

Wörki finally came across the partnership page of Tube-Hosting and established a non-binding e-mail contact. We were then presented with an offer for a completely autonomous rack server (i.e. all technical resources are our own, no virtualisation, nothing is "ripped off" by third parties).


From 07. to 08. May we moved to the server of Tube-Hosting, see Completed relocation & innovations as of 8 May 2020.

Server location

We are now located in the SkyLink Data Center in Eygelshoven (NL). The data centre is directly connected to the two largest Internet nodes in the world, namely Amsterdam (AMS-IX, SPEED-IX, Cogent) and Frankfurt-on-Main (DE-CIX, Core-Backbone, Cogent). This allows us to benefit from maximum performance, best accessibility and extremely low latency.

Specifications of our server

Built-in hardware

Rack-Server OMSI-WebDisk

In terms of hardware, our rack server includes the following components:


HPE ProLiant DL360p Gen8 (rack server, also mainboard)

  • 2× Intel Xeon E5-2630L v2 (2× 6 cores or 2× 12 threads)
  • 32 GB RAM (8× 4GB DDR3 2Rx4 ECC @ 1333 MHz)
  • 2× SAMSUNG™ 860 EVO SSD @ 1 TB (hardware RAID-01)
  • 2× 4 TB HDD (hardware RAID-01)
  • 1 IP address on 10 Gbit SFI/SFP+ uplink


Consequently, 8 of 24 RAM slots are occupied in the rack server. In total, we have RAM capacities of up to max. 384 GB at 1333 MHz, and even up to 768 GB when reduced to 1066 MHz (hardware-related). So if we get bottlenecks at some point, we simply increase the technical resources; there is no need to move the server at all.


We are sufficiently protected by the RAID network, precisely because the hard disks "mirror" each other. In addition, they are both used equally actively in a 50:50 ratio to increase the data throughput rate at the same time. If one hard drive breaks down, everything is still on the other hard drive.

Cost factors

Server-Rack @ Tube-Hosting Our server is the
third from below.
We pay a flat rate of 85,- EUR per month for the server, a traffic flat rate for both ports is included.
Beside it we need the licence for the WoltLab Suite (forum 54,99 EUR and download database [Filebase] 32,49 EUR, both per year) and our domain via netcup® for 5,- EUR per year.


Installed Software

Like the majority of all servers in the World-Wide-Web, our server also runs with a Linux operating system, more precisely Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. We deliberately choose a Long Term Support version, precisely because this distribution - as the suffix LTS suggests - is designed for longer-term support (60 months) in the form of updates and error corrections.


For the WebServer we rely on nginx (latest stable version). Some prefer to use Apache, which is supplied as standard on Linux distributions. However, despite the many performance optimisations, even Apache 2.4 with its MPM module cannot match the performance of nginx. The higher the load, the more Apache goes down; nginx is 4x to 90x faster, depending on the load.


Besides that "the usual suspects" like MySQL, PHP, Python & Co. are installed. For website caching we rely on Redis, see in the ChangeLog Server: Redis caching method*.


With Let's Encrypt we create and/or renew our SSL or TLS certificates. This is done entirely locally on the server. All current updates are written in our Changelog, section Server*.

Other WebSites

The OMSI WebDisk is not located alone on the server. Like all the years before it is also located on the server:

Both run over the 100 Mbit port. They neither generate traffic costs nor consume significant resources. The CDN service Cloudflare accelerates both websites, so there is no significant difference in speed compared to the WebDisk.


Beside the websites there are everyday applications installed like phpMyAdmin, Postfix Admin and RainLoop Webmail.


* ChangeLogs are only visible for registered members.

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