Setting Up MemCache on three servers

At work we are upgrading our server infrastructure and moving to a load-balanced solution. As part of the move I needed to install MemcacheD.

I downloaded an MSI from here http://allegiance.chi-town.com/MemCacheDManager.aspx, which I must admit doesn’t look promising. EDIT: the chi-town link appears dead but the MSI is also available from here: http://memcached-manager.software.informer.com/ However, for ourselves it’s the tool we’ve been using for a while, and the author is linked to http://memcached.org/. Memcache is now on Github.

Once I downloaded the MSI it was a case of going to the three servers and installing it, which for me was simply a case of clicking buttons and following the instructions.

Then came the tricky part, well for me anyway. I opened up the MemCacheD Manager tool and added a server, webserver1. I then added an instance. The first instance being webserver1. The mistake I made was thinking that I would need to add the other two servers: webserver2 and webserver3 as instances. When you use the panel for adding an instance there is an option for using a specific IP Address and TCP port.

What I needed to was add the three servers and their instances. Now, that I’ve made all mistakes and after reaching the stage where I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall what I first did doesn’t make sense.

With MemCache you can multiple instances on multiple servers. I think I’ll be doing a lot more work with MemCache in the next few months so I’ll post more updates and let you know how I’m using it.

Dan.

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The Flat Earth series by Tanith Lee

For many years I did not read much fantasy. I had read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and didn’t think that it could be bettered. Part of the reason for this was having encountered books that were pale imitations of Tolkien and also having read the book so many times I’d had my fill of fantasy. So, I read history books and discovered Thomas Hardy, who I like immensely although I would love to write a happy ending for ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’.

The thing is with fantasy and by that I really mean good fantasy is that it should challenge our thinking. It should ask ‘what if’, it should make us think and look at our own world differently. Fantasy, which by its very name suggests it can be anything it wants to be, all too often it ends up being exactly what you imagined it would be. Sometimes popular works of fantasy get over-looked. Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock was pretty ground-breaking for its time having as it’s main character an anti-hero and being first and foremost great fun. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ also broke new ground, there wasn’t any fantasy before that it could be compared too, although some tried  with ‘The Worm Ouroboros’ by E.R Edison.

The Flat Earth series by Tanith Lee is pretty unique. It asks questions about religion. Did the Gods exist before religion, or does religion make Gods? It asks questions about humanity. How would being immortal affect humanity? Is being in love a form of madness? Is there life after death, and if so how does that affect Death himself?

There are currently five books in the series with rumours/hopes that there might be two others sometime in the near future. I’ve just paused during typing to search for Tanith Lee’s website but it no longer seems up. This website http://www.norilana.com/norilana-taleka.htm seems to be relatively up to date. Anyway back to The Flat Earth series.

There are many things I like about this series. Firstly, the language. It is rich, descriptive but not overblown or long-winded. There’s plenty of humour. Tanith Lee enjoys language but she doesn’t lose sight of telling a good tale. Secondly, there are stories within stories and tales within tales. I know there are some reviewers who found this a bit much. It was complicating things too much but for me I liked the fact that it breaks the books into distinct sections. Thirdly, and this follows on from the second point, these books remind me of ‘The Arabian Nights’ perhaps that is why we have stories within stories.

In many of the books I’ve read by Tanith Lee (and I must confess I’ve not read a lot) she seems to have a fascination with the desert. Perhaps it’s the contrasts. Extreme heat in the day-time, freezing at night. Perhaps it’s the fact that the stars shine very brightly at night in the desert so heaven is closer. It is worth mentioning that these books are fantasy for adults. There is sex in these books but it isn’t gratuitous.

There is so much I’d like to say about these books but to do so would involve me divulging many of the plots and wonderful characters. I might do that in other posts but for tonight I shall simply finish by saying if you want to read books of wonder that make you think then give The Flat Earth series a try.

Moving Repositories from one SVN server to another

I recently set up a new SVN server at work and today we moved one of our projects from the old SVN server to this new one. We use VisualSVN on both.

To do this you need to first create a dump file on the old server then copy the dump file to the new server and load that up. This is done via the svnadmin executable.

These are the steps I followed.

  1. Log on to the old server and open up a command prompt.
  2. In the command prompt navigate to the bin folder where the svnadmin exe is found.
  3. Run this command svnadmin dump path/to/repository > repositoryname.dmp. For example: svnadmin dump C:/Repositories/TestProject > C:/TestProject.dmp
  4. Make sure that you are pointing to where the repositories actually are. I initially tried using the URLs and that doesn’t work.
  5. Log on to the new server and copy the DMP file across
  6. Open a command prompt and navigate to the bin folder where the svnadmin exe is found
  7. Run this command svnadmin load path/to/repository < repositoryname.dmp. For example: svadmin load E:/Repositories/NewProject < C:/TestProject.dmp
  8. I had some problems trying to get this to write into a new empty repository. The problem was I’d created a new repository that contained the default structure: branches, tags and trunk. When I created a new repository without this default structure then it worked OK.

I’m writing this up and hoping that if I ever have to do it again then these notes might help. If they help someone else as well that would be great too.