Let’s Save Our Environment Harder

I can’t believe it’s been over three years and the environment STILL isn’t saved!

I’ve been doing my part.

Not only has DreamHost gone green, I’ve been taking little steps in my personal life as well.

For one, I fight global warming every day by making the conscious effort to not recycle. I’m building up a lot of extra landfill to cancel out rising ocean levels.

I’ve even been doing my part to fight our dependence on foreign oil.

Every morning I drive to the farthest gas station I can get to, fill up my tank, then drive home and empty whatever’s left into my local sewer. That way I build up our proven domestic reserves.

Finally, I bought this t-shirt to disguise my true motives from all those real environment-haters out there!

Contrary!

But wait, there is one more thing I recently figured out I could do to help save a lot of environment.

And it has to do with you.

And no, it’s not lame tip like “Only read in the daytime.” or “Ride your dog to work.” Those are obvious.

In fact, it’s something so simple we’ll handle it all for you!

Basically, we’ve come to realize that if we were to upgrade all our old web and file servers onto new hardware (the stuff we’ve been using since May), we could probably cut our data center power usage about 50%.

And, since our data centers currently use about the equivalent of 200 single family homes, that’s a net environment gain equivalent of a small hurricane… but without all the pesky clean-up!

DreamHost's data center this time next year.

Nitty Gritty

Of course, one thing I do hate about the environment is all the dirt.

And, sadly, it’s not like we can just flip a switch and have all our servers upgraded. Not even if it cost $1,000,000 to flip that switch (which it does), the switch is still SO big and heavy it’ll probably take close to a year before it’s all the way flipped!

Along the way, at times things will inevitably get dirty.

There will be hiccups along the way. In fact, we already did a few test migrations and there were plenty. And they were more like throw-ups. I’d like to apologize right now to everyone who was an unknowing guinea pig and suffered from some down time.

Don't worry, Snugglums is just PLAYING dead!

Now, here’s how to make sure the same problems don’t hit you!

  • Make sure your email clients are all set to send and receive email using your full email address! You should have already been doing this for years at this point, but some people are apparently still logging in with the old (deprecated) m########-style mailbox usernames. BOOOO!
  • Make sure you don’t have a .dataglob in any paths for any configuration files for any software you have! That is, if you see something like “/home/.blahblah/username” in a configuration file for something you’ve installed on your website (even one-clicks from our panel!), change it to “/home/username” immediately! We’re going to try and automatically find and replace those for people as they’re moved, but it’d be best if they weren’t there at all!
  • Make sure you ftp/ssh/whatever to your own domain name and not server.dreamhost.com. That’s because your server will probably change at some point in the next year, and if you’d just been connecting to your own domain, everything would be fine!

That’s really it. Other than the fact that it will save energy, the new set up should also:

  • Be more stable… we’re phasing out shared file servers (filers) because they were just too big a point of failure.
  • Be higher performing… the new servers are on average 4x “beefier”, but we’re putting less than 4x the number of customers on them.
  • Save us money… not just on data center costs, but also on our green energy credits, and management costs too (there will be less overall servers to manage).

This would also make a good t-shirt.

Then, what do we do with all that extra money? Well, our original plan was to short financial stocks, but now we just don’t know…