It was only in about November of 2014 that I began development on Mechawrench and I quickly fell in love with the concept and dealing with server administration of such a complex system. Unfourtantely the project quickly grew to be larger than I can support long-term. Mostly an issue of what makes financial sense and there seemed to be very little userbase after a few months of being open. Again, another project like “WhoseAlt” that I did not advertise. Problem is with only a couple users I can not continue to support a project of this size.
It has been a bit over a week since my last post and Mechawrench is still live and more available than it has ever been. Getting to this point was a bit of a trial as shortly after launch nearly everyday for a week a new issue appeared either with the production or development server. Database issues were mostly the cause of the problems as Mechawrench was hitting the development server (where the processing for auction data takes place) on every page request. Instead of requiring the dev server’s database for user data I decided to separate the user database from the auction data database. Essentially the database for auction house data is replicated from the dev machine and is now read-only from the production server’s copy of the data. By keeping the databases separate in this fashion I was able to speed up Mechawrench by approximately 5 times the speed noted at launch. The production server is also now resilient to outages on the development server which will happen as it is hosted at a residential location.
The soft-launch of Mechawrench has come and gone and things are finally winding down. I’ve spent every day since launch polishing features and adding new core functionality. The honest truth is that I was probably working much too hard without breaks but I just want to ensure that visitors have a great first experience so that they return and recommend Mechawrench to others. Traffic so far hasn’t been exceptional or even significant but with time we will grow and so far very little SEO and zero advertising has taken place. I am considering posting to /r/wow but the sub often has over 3000 live viewers at the same time. I do not believe our servers could handle anywhere near that much concurrent traffic so for now I will remain content with friends and family visits with organic growth as a bonus.
In a surprise turn of events I have decided to adopt a new mindset with development of Mechawrench. Instead of building out Mechawrench by myself without user input I have decided to open the doors to Mechawrench for users to suggest new features and improvements on the existing website. I want to make this a socially developed web application that my users are able to see improve over the months and years to come. A majority of NA region servers are currently supported and if demand exists I will look into other regions.
It has been a month since my last post and in that time I have tested out several dedicated hosting solutions but was unable to find a provider that could fulfill the needs of Mechawrench. The first issue I encountered was finding a host that took advantage of SSD storage, specifically seeking raid-10 configuration. I was able to find the providers for what I needed but not at a price I could afford. Due to budget concerns I sought out a few providers, namely Datashack and SoYouStart. Both of these providers proved to be inadequate for the heavy load brought on by archiving auctionhouse data on every realm about once per hour.