Nov 212010

Last night I finally retired my old server. That’s her in the picture on the right there.

I originally picked up this computer when I was working for Staples. If I am not mistaken it was sometime in 1999. I grabbed it during the “free computer with internet service” craze. I signed a contract to use the MSN dial-up service for three years an in exchange I got a shiny new eMachines computer.

The funny thing is that when I finally called to cancel the service after my three years was up I asked them to double check my account to make sure I had fulfilled my obligation. The operator had no idea what I was talking about and told me there was no service contract on my account at all. I could have canceled at any time.

Oh well.

The specs for the machine, that are still visible on the sticker that I never took off the front of the case, are as follows :

  • 366Mhz Intel Celeron Processor
  • 32MB RAM (upgradeable to 256MB)
  • 3.2 GB Hard Drive
  • 32x CD-Rom Drive
  • 56k FaxModem
  • 3D 4MB AGP Graphics

I got the computer, initially, for my sister Kim. When she moved out of my house a few years later she decided not to take it with her so I decided to put it to use. I had a copy of Windows 2000 and a few licenses for other server software that I had acquired over the years and I threw them on there. While I did throw in a few upgrades (most notably I increased the RAM to 256MB and I replaced the hard drive…although at first I just added a second hard drive, which had to be attached to the original one with duct tape due to the fact that there were no open internal drive bays. I also added an Ethernet card, as those weren’t standard at the time), the machine is pretty much in the same shape it was in when I originally purchased it. I have had to replace the power supply twice, but both times the machine was still under warranty and I got a replacement at no charge.

I put this computer online as a server sometime around 2002.

It has been operating non-stop ever since, running Windows 2000 with ColdFusion 5 and Microsoft SQL server.

It’s slow as hell, but it works.

Unfortunately, the time finally came for me to retire this old workhorse. There’s just too much I want to do on my home server that can no longer be done on a server running software that is 10+ years old. I built a new box and threw Linux on it, along with MySQL and Railo (the Open Source ColdFusion alternative). Converting the two active sites I had running on the old box took a bit of work, and in doing so I had many occasions to laugh at the code that I wrote 8 years ago, but it is finally done.

At around 10:00 PM EST on Saturday, November 21st, 2010, I shut down my old eMachine for the last time. While I may need to fire it up again in the next few weeks to pull something off of it that I forgot to remove in the transfer, the days of it acting as the web server in my home are over.

As excited as I am about the new server in my house, and the possibilities that modern software bring with it (not to mention significantly increased performance), I have to admit to being more than a little sad to be putting the eMachine to rest. It’s been a consistently reliable machine for over a decade, despite the fact that it was a “cheap” computer, and it helped me learn quite about about running a web server.

Rest in Peace, old girl. May your upgrades always be golden in Silicon Heaven.

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