It's been awhile since you have heard from us. We know how maybe it seems like we aren't here or aren't working on new things but this post is here to clear all of that up! For the last month or so we have been working behind the scenes on new systems to benefit our users, as well as updating some age old systems that desperately needed it. We think we are finally ready to reveal what's coming soon, but first...
It's been a while since we added to our team, so I'm glad to be able to welcome Pyker and Indemnity83 to the Technic family.
Pyker has actually been with us for a while but we noticed we never properly welcomed him to the team. So now is that chance. Pyker has done so much for Technic behind the scenes it's actually incredible. Pyker's main responsibilities is the Platform code base (really every code base) as well as server infrastructure management alongside GenPage. Major props to those two for everything they do.
Many of you have already noticed that Indemnity83 has been added to the staff list on the Discord server for a while now so this probably isn't a surprise either. Indemnity83 has been an active contributor to TechnicSolder since 2015 and a mod developer too. Some of you have even tested out his development on a Solder fork. He joins our team officially to become the primary developer on the new version of Solder (using his fork as the base) and Solder.io (more on that later). Everybody give Indemnity83 a warm welcome.
We have also been working a lot behind the scenes to update the code base for the Platform. This won't have any obvious change for end users but brings the code base up to modern standards and allows us the ability to adapt it more easily as we need to.
Have you noticed how trending always seems to be new modpacks and never ones that have been on the Platform for more than a week? We are working to fix this. The algorithm is being adjusted to try and treat trending as it should be treated. Existing modpacks should be able to trend just the same as new ones.
The above change and many others are being made possible by updating our code base. So you can expect these changes in the very near future!
First, a tiny bit of housekeeping. We're officially renaming TechnicSolder to just Solder. Its what everybody called it anyway. But it does mean the names might get a little confusing, our apologies for that.
We already mentioned that Indemnity83 is working on a new version of the open source version of Solder and many of you have possibly tried it out, if you haven't yet give it a whirl. It's not ready for production environments yet but the more people who try it and report bugs the faster we'll get ready for production. There isn't an official release schedule yet, so we'll continue to support the older TechnicSolder system until then.
Now for the exciting part! The main thing that Indemnity83 has been working on behind the scenes is Solder.io. It's a hosted version of Solder; so if you're tired of managing a web server, or always wanted to use Solder but didn't have the access or knowledge to setup your own server, Solder.io is for you. Our goal is to make Solder.io easily affordable and easy to use. It will have all the same features as the open source version of Solder.
Our roadmap for the launch of Solder.io currently has a public launch around the end of May 2018, so we're very close. If you want to get more information, including status updates on development progress and an invitation to our private beta make sure you go over to https://solder.io/ and sign up there.
We're very excited about the things we have in the works and we hope you are too.
And as always, if you have comments or concerns feel free to leave them below or get in touch with us over in our Discord!
As I'm sure most of you have noticed, Trending is not really trending at the moment. We've noticed the issue reported by our community moderators and have addressed the issue on our end. The situation will need some time, most likely a couple days to resolve fully, for Trending to catch back up. We apologize for the inconvenience.
We have also be aware of how easily it is for user to "remake" packs to get them to show up as Trending again. We have some ideas on how to improve the algorithm backing our Trending code to make sure it doesn't favor new packs so heavily. Existing packs do have the ability to trend again and we don't want to overshadowed. Refreshing a pack should be as simple as updating an existing pack, not spamming the system with new packs, as this this is against the Modpack Terms.
Most of all, Happy New Year Crafters! We have a lot of exciting things planned for 2017!
As reported in our previous post, we moved a vast majority of our Platform infrastructure to DigitalOcean. We mentioned that this isn’t going to show as a direct change to anything for users, but the Platform should respond more quickly compared to how it has been. The stability of the Platform has also been improved to increase our critical system redundancies and fallover in the event of a critical issue. This means when infrastructure issues happen, you will barely notice them compared to previous incidents! Now, I'll go into more detail about what exactly we've been doing since the changes are not as visible.
Moving to DigitalOcean from our previous host Linode, greatly enabled us to consider new and better solutions for the Technic Platform, the move itself was complex that required us to redo our entire code deployment setup, automated node configuration system, and rebuild our network from the ground up. This took lots of time to stage, plan, and execute with some unavoidable downtime; but we made it happen!
Previously our database ran off of one massive main MySQL server. While it did its job, issues would arise if the database service needed to be brought down for maintenance or due to an underlying issue with the our providers physical node. This has been replaced with a MariaDB Galera Cluster running in a master-master replication setup. This allows us to bring down nodes at will, without impacting the availability of the data to the Platform and Launcher. Rolling security updates and optimizations are now possible on a more routine basis rather than dealing with the headache of scheduling maintenance for the entire Platform.
You can read more about Galera cluster here: http://galeracluster.com/
One of the biggest problems was identifying and isolating problems with the Platform. Users report problems daily ranging from the Platform to Solder to the Launcher. We didn't have a great way of cross-referencing ports from users to reproduce and isolate the problems. To help assist us with this we implemented systems to target two key things.
We utilize a system called Sentry (https://sentry.io) that allows our systems to remotely report when a user experiences an error and to log it. We utilize this data to cross-references reports from Users about issues they are experiencing. We've already fixed multiple issues that were plaguing the Platform, unknown to us. These include:
The other problem was knowing where traffic was going, monitoring the health of each individual system, and identifying bottlenecks in real-time. For this, we've setup Prometheus (https://prometheus.io/). Prometheus is an open-source monitoring and time-series database. It allows us to export custom statistics from each of our individuals core systems to reference over time. To better track/analyze this data, we setup Grafana (http://grafana.org/) metric dashboard system that plugs into the Prometheus backend. So examples of our dashboard can be seen below:
We have a new status page to keep you guys informed about our maintenance windows and the current status of our Platform and its components. http://status.technicpack.net
We've made great strides over the last couple of months, but this is only the beginning. We have some cool new features that we are excited to share with you soon. We are confident in working on those features now that the Platform is in better shape. Also, I hear that a band of adventures are returning for another grand adventure!
We've moved to DigitalOcean for a vast majority of our infrastructure pertaining to the Technic Platform. While everything has been switched over we have yet to move Solder and Forums.
While this isn’t going to show as a direct change to anything for users it should definitely keep things quick and stable compared to how they have been.
There are a few other changes we have planned as well that will have a more direct effect on creaters and users, so stay tuned.