HVCN Scheduled Upgrade

Notice of Scheduled software upgrade for HVCN - Finally rescheduled after a long delay for Thursday morning, Feb 2.

STATUS

The migration is complete and HVCN services have been restored. We are now running on the upgraded software described below. Maintainers of web sites on HVCN may resume normal activity. Remember that sftp, ssh and scp users will now see a new host key on the upgraded machine, and will have to accept it before connection can be established.

Thank you for your patience.

Background

HVCN's server has not had a system upgrade since July 2002. It was therefore way overdue for one. Performing a system software upgrade is a complex and challenging process, not without some risks, so we usually don't do this every year, but there are some compelling reasons to do it now. We have already spent a considerable amount of time configuring HVCN's second server with mostly new replacement software.

Delay

The upgrade was originally scheduled for Jan 3-5, but there was some software that could not be properly configured to support the needs of several HVCN users, and so the upgrade process was delayed until we could fix it or determine an acceptable workaround. We could not fix it, but we now have a workaround in place, and it should work just fine. Therefore, we had to delay the upgrade until Feb 2.

If all went well, all current services on HVCN are now functionng exactly as they did before. That was our goal, anyway, but there are some things that could be affected.

We have been experiencing some reliability problems with the kernel this year. This has resulted in kernel panics every two or three months It is our sincere hope that this upgrade to the operating system will result in the elimination of this problem, but there are no guarantees of this, nor are there guarantees that new bugs have not been introduced in any of the new versions of software that we will be running.

Certainly, if you notice any unusual behavior following the upgrade, bring it to the attention of webmaster@hvcn.org.

Software Upgraded

Although it has been extensively tested, this upgrade is a complex one, and problems may appear unexpectedly. Further testing continues. If you encounter a problem, please send all of the details to webmaster@hvcn.org.

New (planned) Features

We have already mentioned our hope that this upgrade will address the minor reliability problems we have experienced this past year. We also know that the PHP upgrade solves a number of security problems associated with PHP uploads. The new software supports SSL (secure web transfer) and we plan to make that service generally available later in January, although we will not be able to make it available on virtual host systems, due to limitations of the https protocol and the fact that we do not have access to multiple IP addresses at our current hosting site. SSL will allow for secure transfer between a browser and an hvcn.org URL. This and the PHP upgrade will in turn enable other capabilities: we also hope to install a web-based database administrator interface, a "wiki" style of editable web page capability, and we may install a full-fledged content management system, such as Drupal, and blogging software, if there is enough interest in these.


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This page was last modified on February 2, 2006.
Please send comments to webmaster@hvcn.org.