Blog: Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Wine Spectator Effect

2015 saw a lot of growth for 1000 Corks.

First we gained a lot more users. This meant we had to handle a lot more searches.

And there were many new wine and spirit stores that put up websites in 2015. Since we have to crawl them all, in order to be the most comprehensive search engine, that also meant a lot more load.

As a result we really began to outgrow our servers. When we had lots of users searching, our response times were definitely slower than we would have liked.

For example whenever I got a new Wine Spectator in the mail, I knew that the servers would be extra slow for a while, because all their readers would be busy searching for the wines that the editors' most liked that issue.

And don't even get me started on their Top 100 issue. I had to monitor everything very closely to maintain the performance we wanted as we were hit with a flood of searches.

So to solve this we went out and built a new server from scratch. We've named it baga1, after the Portuguese grape, baga.

The server is running our database, Postgresql. It's the third server we have in our colocation facility.

Insides of a 1U Server

As for baga1 it features:

- A really cool low power Xeon D-1540 chip with eight real cores

- 10-Gigabit. This is our first 10-Gigabit computer, so it's still hooked into everything at gigabit speeds.

- 1.2TB Intel 750 SSD. This is the fastest non-enterprise SSD available. It's about five times faster than a normal SSD.

- 128 GB RAM. You can never have too much RAM. Our two other servers have a total of 48 GB of RAM, so it's really nice to have so much extra memory.

Hopefully this will carry us through the first half of 2016. Meanwhile we're already planning what new hardware to buy come Spring.

Photo credit: Craig Wyzik (Cropped from original - Creative Commons).

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