Serving Minecraft, Pt. IIPosted on 2013.08.16 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114
Creating a remote standalone linux MINECRAFT server was not as glib a task I'd assumed it would be, and despite the (yes, literally) hundreds of HOWTO videos on numerous different forums and threads, all of them assumed much, and imparted little. I was attempting what seems to be a fairly common combination: MINECRAFT + Forge ModLoader + Biomes O Plenty Mod. Yet the least amount of information was found on the "official" sites, deferring to the forums instead. So after about two weeks of combing through "All you have to do is..." (and related videos which mostly showed people with Windows how to double-click an icon) I found YouTube user Wine X who illuminated the missing piece for me, through apparent trials and errors of his own. It was a relief to finally understand the missing piece, but incomprehensible that it was not documented anywhere, and I'll also admit that I was probably further discouraged because I'm a unix systems administrator by trade. All of this should have been much easier, and if not, at least well documented - and there were dozen of permutations to address. I ended up building an x64 (had to toggle my processor flag in the BIOS - had no idea it wasn't already) openSUSE gnome (as MINECRAFT wouldn't run out of the box on XFCE) vm, building there, and scp'ing up the finished code, which turned out to be fortuitous as I used that same box to later learn and document the `Download only` method of patching production SLES servers.
Once I finally got it doing what I wanted it to, I discovered my 512M box in Germany was woefully inadequate for the task. As far as I could tell from top the high load averages were causing java exceptions which kept dropping us from the server, and this with only two users logged in. I briefly considered hauling out my largest Xeon server - a 32G box, upgrading my home network and ordering a static IP, but went vps shopping instead as the cloud is far less expensive. (Although I did inquire about the DL380/G6 I might be getting from a neighbor in Anna). Cloudwise I ended up with a 2CPU/2G CentOS box on an SSD RAID which deftly processed all tasks effortlessly. As an aside, have I mentioned lately how much I dislike CentOS? I've grown so accustomed to, and adept at SUSE, I was fumbling my way through the Red Hat variant.
So yeah, the MINECRAFT server was up and running for a day or two, until I posted here revealing it. That is, before we learned about griefing; players who wreck havoc by destroying as much of a world as possible on public servers (thankfully, this never actually happened to us). But in order to harden our instance, it has to run a special version of the server in which to add the hardening plugins. Given the sheer amount of difficulty I had in just setting up a vanilla server, I assumed this next course of action would introduce a whole host of new problems (each version of the above may or may not be available/compatible with each other in the new configuration). I therefore quiesced the game, and made two copies - one a backup of the original working game, and two, a development tree; a completely different server path so I could tinker with the hardening without breaking the working instance. Its difficult to keep up with all the changes occurring so quickly in an unfamiliar environment.
Lastly, its been a bear of a week at work heaped atop last week's bear of an on-call; there were many...highlights to my week. In a related story it was nice that our Director cited, "busy learning all the new technologies" as to the reason I wasn't instantly fluent in the handful of deprecated technologies we support...on my day off. This, while my dad is trying to call twice a week or so to give me updates on my mother who is still in a nursing facility after all this time. I try to call her at least once a week, but she's been moved around so much from facility to facility, I have to await my father's call before I can call her. I do appreciate the flood of emails and texts I've received when its noticed I've stopped posting - despite the various forms they may come in (I had one ask if I was upset at them). I swear once school starts I'm going to get back on a schedule and start walking again and start posting again. Too much, too often with not enough down time in-between this last month. I guess sometimes it really does all add up. And for this level of energy deprivation, I'm finding I am drinking far too little. I go through these phases where I enjoy drinking daily for six months straight, and then won't drink at all for like a year. Right now I'm in between the two. Only I wish I were drinking, but haven't found the time to do so, and that is surely, by any definition, "too busy."