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Upcoming Database Upgrades

Monday, July 3rd, 2017 - General, Updates

Changes are coming to our servers later this summer. Some of these changes may require you to update the scripts you have on your website.

We will be upgrading the database service on all of our servers starting at the beginning of August 2017. This upgrade is due in part because the current versions have reached or are going to soon reach their end of life. The upgrade should also give a performance increase to scripts and services that utilize the database service.

Quick Summary: If you don’t read this full post, the main take away from this is that you need to insure that all of the scripts on your website are up to date. If you are using old, outdated, and especially end of life’d scripts, then you may encounter problems with this upgrade.

How will this affect you?
The main issue concerning your account in regards to this upgrade is going to be how up to date your scripts are. If the scripts on your website are up to date then you should not notice any change, perhaps a performance boost. If however your scripts are not being kept up to date, then you may experience your website being offline. Keeping your scripts up to date is really just a great idea in and of itself. But if you are using ancient versions of the script, then those versions may not be compatible with the new database server protocols. Extremely old versions of Joomla! are known to have issues with this. Other scripts may also have problems. If you are using plugins, components, addons, or themes tied into the script, you will want to be sure that they are up to date as well.

Newer software, such as this upgraded database service, is meant to provide better performance by optimizing the way it handles data. This means that it can’t continue to support the way older scripts handle data AND bring a performance boost. Continuing to support old and outdated software would result in a performance degradation in the database service. Likewise, new versions of scripts are developed to boost performance and by continuing to use older versions of the script you are being plagued by a performance degradation.

Keeping your scripts up to date, not only helps with the security of your account, but it also helps with the performance of your account.

I don’t want to or can’t update my script
If you can’t update the script on your account, then you need to find out why. If the task of updating the script is too technical, then you may need to hire a qualified professional to update the script for you. If you are unable to update the script because the developer or vendor is not releasing updates, then you probably should consider a different script. There are a lot of website scripts out there. Some are well written and properly maintained by the developer or a team of developers. Many others are poorly written and are never maintained. Avoid using the poorly written and unmaintained scripts.

Not wanting to update the script unfortunately is not a valid excuse. The majority of our client base keeps their scripts up to date. It is not fair to them that they cannot reap the benefits of the performance increase a database service upgrade provides just so the handful of other clients that refuse to keep their scripts up to date can keep their scripts running.

Failing to keep your scripts up to date is a dangerous proposition anyway. Security holes are published for out of date software, this is how abuse and malicious actions can happen on your account and server.

Will there be any downtime associated with this upgrade?
Our intention is to keep downtime to a minimum. There will be some downtime involved in this upgrade, but just how much is unknown. It could be 5 minutes to 2 hours, although our hope and plan is to keep this closer to 5 minutes. We really can’t do this upgrade without incurring at least a small amount of downtime.

When will my account be upgraded?
We can’t provide an exact timeline for that. Our plan is to upgrade a few servers at a time all beginning on August 1, 2017. How many servers can be done per day and how long it is all going to take is really up the air.

What are the technical aspects of this upgrade?
We will be upgrading the database server to MariaDB. MariaDB is a fork of MySQL. Much of the web hosting industry is switching to MariaDB and MariaDB is known to give real performance gains. MariaDB still uses MySQL bindings for scripts and connections, so it’s really a drop in replacement for MySQL. Nothing changes with your database structure. Just the software that maintains that database, currently MySQL, will be switched to MariaDB.

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