The severe thunderstorm last night knocked out power, and the UPS did not hold long enough before the power was restored. So early this morning, when the power did come back I had to power on my web server.
From the server log, I could tell that last time I had to reboot the server was 115 days ago. Last time I had to reboot the server because I had to move the UPS to another location. In fact, ever since I switched my server from running Windows 2003 to Linux (Ubuntu 7.04) last year, I haven’t really had the need to reboot the server at all (other than prolonged power outage, etc.).

It just works. While I was running Windows 2003, 9 out of 10 times when an update came I had to reboot. Which means I had to reboot at least once per month if I kept my update schedule with Microsoft’s patch dates. It is almost unfathomable for a Windows Server to run for hundreds of days without the need to reboot. Even though desktop oriented Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu) do require reboot sometimes after an important update, it is a relatively rare occasion. I only had to reboot my Linux desktop (Ubuntu 8.04) a few times since April even though the updates come almost daily.

Besides the need to periodically reboot the server due to updates, I had to reset the IIS quite a bit to just keep my website running. While this might not be the fault of Microsoft, its server software certainly did not provide enough information for me to diagnose the root cause. In fact I remembered that I routinely checked my website the first thing in the morning because I couldn’t be sure of whether the site was up or not. And whenever the site was down, I had to run through a bunch of tests to figure out whether it was IIS or my DynDNS client.

The Linux server footprint is incredibly small (around a few hundred megs), making the whole system backup a feasible and enjoyable task. The backup process is surprisingly simple as well. Unlike on Windows systems, where a dedicated backup application is needed for a full system backup, simply command like “tar” will to the job just fine. And even a full disk clone could be done without any special software other than “dd”.

Anyway, I guess I don’t have to worry about my server for now as I know it will be running flawlessly until another power outage or DSL outage strikes…

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