server check.in

Server Check.in turns 4 years old

I started Server Check.in, a simple website and server uptime monitoring service, almost four years ago. I built it when I was in the hospital and recovering from mono (symptoms were worse because of one of the Crohn's-related drugs I was taking), and it's been a very slowly-but-steadily growing service since.

Server Check.in logo

I wrote a four-year retrospective post on the service, and published it on the Server Check.in blog: Four years running Server Check.in.

Drupal and Node.js at STLJS Meetup - Thursday, May 15!

STL.JS Meetup LogoI'll be presenting Node.js and Drupal — Working Together at the STL.JS meetup this Thursday, May 15, at The Able Few in St. Louis.

In the presentation, I'll basically be covering how Server Check.in uses Drupal and Node.js to deliver a simple, fast, and stable server monitoring service. During the course of the presentation, I'll touch on why and how Server Check.in was built, how Ansible is used to maintain the infrastructure, and the effectiveness of lightweight marketing, blogging, and 'low end box' servers.

Join me and many JS developers in St. Louis on May 15, and after the presentation, we'll hack on some of the things mentioned in the presentation!

From the Server Check.in Blog: Keeping a Lid on Technical Debt

I recently wrote a post on the Server Check.in blog titled Improving architecture and adding features by containing technical debt. The post shows how the server checking architecture on Server Check.in was improved so it will expand horizontally and scale with new clients over time, and the main theme of that post was how managing technical debt (keeping it low for a small development team) has helped make sure new features and architecture improvements work reliably and simply.

The two main takeaways in the article are:

  • Simplicity and stability trumps features.
  • Get the architecture right, or die slowly.

I hope you can take the time to read the whole post, and also this excellent explanation of technical debt by Martin Fowler.

Moving Server Check.in functionality to Node.js increased per-server capacity by 100x

Just posted a new blog post to the Server Check.in blog: Moving functionality to Node.js increased per-server capacity by 100x. Here's a snippet from the post:

One feature that we just finished deploying is a small Node.js application that runs in tandem with Drupal to allow for an incredibly large number of servers and websites to be checked in a fraction of the time that we were checking them using only PHP, cron, and Drupal's Queue API.

If you need to do some potentially slow tasks very often, and they're either network or IO-bound, consider moving those tasks away from Drupal/PHP to a Node.js app. Your server and your overloaded queue will thank you!

Read more.

tl;dr Node.js is awesome for running through a large number of network or IO-bound tasks that would otherwise become burdensome at scale using Drupal's Queue API.

Drupal News from the Midwest!

Some random bits of news from Midwestern Mac, LLC:

St. Louis-area Drupal Group

After taking a hiatus for the month of December, the St. Louis area Drupal Group will be meeting up (hopefully) on the third Thursday of the month as normal. We're hoping to have more structure to our meetups, and there are already some great ideas for meeting topics in 2013.

If you live in or around St. Louis and use or contribute to Drupal, please make an effort to join us and build up the Drupal community here in St. Louis!

As an aside, we still have a separate website for the St. Louis Drupal group—if anyone has ideas for how we can use that to spread the Drupal love in the center of the U.S., please let us know!

Server Check.in Launched

A couple weeks ago, we (Midwestern Mac, LLC) announced our newest service, Server Check.in, a website and server monitoring service that checks on your sites and servers every 10 minutes, notifying you of any problems. The service runs on Drupal, and integrates with services like Twilio and Stripe to handle SMS messaging and payments, respectively.

I (geerlingguy) wrote up a case study for Server Check.in and posted it to the Community showcase on drupal.org. This is the first application-type service built on by Midwestern Mac on Drupal, and we've already been hard at work improving the service.

If you have any questions about Server Check.in, or how it was built, please ask away; I had a great discussion with some other developers in this thread on Hacker News.

Hosted Apache Solr Search updated to 3.6.x

At the request of many people who wanted to do some neat new things with Solr on their Drupal sites, we've finally followed Acquia's lead and updated some of our Solr search servers to 3.6.x, meaning things like Location-based searching are now possible. And our servers are happier :)

Announcing Server Check.in - A simple, inexpensive website monitoring service

Server Check.in Logo

Midwestern Mac is proud to announce Server Check.in—a website and server monitoring service that is inexpensive and easy to use.

Server Check.in was built because, while there are some really powerful and flexible monitoring solutions out there, like Pingdom (we love Pingdom!), there aren't any really simple and inexpensive services that are better for individuals and small businesses who don't have a budget for more expensive and involved solutions, but still need to know when their servers or sites go down.

Server Check.in offers many features like free, unlimited SMS messages for outage notices, email notifications, and server latency monitoring. It will check on up to five servers or websites every fifteen minutes, and notify you when the servers and sites go down.

Sign up here for only $15/year—that's just $1.25 per month!

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