Why we're upgrading processors.
The new processors will have the same number of cores and threads as our old processors, however, will be clocked 21% faster at 2.3 GHz in comparison to the 1.8 GHz processors currently in our compute nodes.
Originally when we set up our compute cluster we were being billed on power by our actual metered usage and, as such, we went with low-power-consumption processors to keep our power usage down. We are now being billed by by the circuit meaning that regardless of how much power we use - we pay the same amount so long as we aren't using more than the power circuit can provide. The new processors we will be rolling out are rated at 120 Watts versus the 65 Watts our current processors use - using around 45% more power per processor.
While it's less important for a server than a desktop or laptop - the current processors have a turbo frequency of 2.5 GHz and the new processors turbo at 3.1 GHz. Servers do not get to use Turbo frequencies as often as desktops and laptops due to their fairly constant workload but it does happen occasionally.
When the server hosting *your* site be upgraded.
We will be placing our heaviest servers on the new processors first as they have the most client accounts and we want as many people to benefit from the upgrades as possible. We always watch our resource usage carefully - especially CPU - and will lean towards leaving breathing room for the servers to ensure smooth and stable operation post-upgrade.
As of right now most likely the S1, P1, and R1 servers will be placed on the upgraded processors when the first upgrades are completed. We are going to evaluate the CPU usage once these servers are on the new processors to evaluate whether or not we can move any additional hosting servers to the new processors during the first upgrade. We'd will lean towards not overloading the servers and ensuring stable performance.
We will be upgrading all compute nodes as soon as we're able to do so and, as a result, everybody will be getting upgraded at some point in the near future. We have been planning on upgrading the processors in our compute nodes for some time now. We're a small provider and we do our best to continue investing in our platform to increase performance and reliability. Unfortunately upgrading the processors is not a cheap endeavor and is something that we're going to have to work on over time.
How the maintenance will be performed.
The plan is to perform the upgrades themselves one hardware node at a time. We may need to shut down and boot back up some hosting servers as we move them around during the upgrades and this process takes approximately 30 to 60 seconds per hosting server. While we can live-migrate the hosting servers we have found that due to how busy our hosting servers are the live migration can actually impact performance much longer than the 30 to 60 seconds a shut down and boot-up can take. In short we've found it's better to shut down and boot up than to live migrate from an actual ability-to-use-the-service standpoint.
Due to the extremely short duration of any downtime that will occur with the servers the lead-time on the restarts may be shorter than usual. We will update this thread with details as we perform the upgrades and will also email anybody on a server that is being upgraded prior to performing the work.
If you have any questions about any of this feel free to reply to this thread or to open a support ticket referencing this thread.