The things we do, beloved spacefans, the things we do.
Like having our intrepid webmaster JOSEPH JACOBS and our equally intrepid programmer STEPHEN BROSSEAU spend the last two weeks rebuilding the online databases that make possible the magic that is HOS.com.
This is some very geeky stuff, I admit. But oh, so necessary.
Not only because all of our content navigation, program and album table listings, program playlists and all the Now Playing information aka metadata displayed in our spiffy new Flash player comes from this database — not only that, but your sacred personal favorites and your hard-won personal playlists also find their digital home there.
So when we mess with our online database, we do it ever so carefully, because if it gets screwed up...well, let's just say you wouldn't be happy with us, and we'd be even more unhappy.
You can't make this stuff up: moving to Flash to deliver our streams required us to create two new databases that lived on our two Flash servers, in addition to the primary database that lives on our web server. This meant three databases in three different data centers in three different states. Does this sound like a recipe for trouble?
The problem is keeping all the data in sync, and keeping it safe. We only change our program data once a week, but our user data changes every minute of every day. And mission-critical data must be backed up, which is even harder when it's always changing and you have three different databases to back up.
Long story short, having three separate databases just didn't work very well.
So we rebuilt the whole system from the ground up. Now all three servers (web and Flash) get what they need from the same database. This master database automatically copies itself to a backup database every time you make a new favorite or we add a new program. It's safer, more secure, and a whole lot simpler than the old system.
Safe journey :: SH