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Minecraft 1.9 Update Begins
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March 2, 2016
7:43 pm
frelling
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Sitting at my desk re-reading past upgrade notes accompanied by flashbacks to the fun, frustrations, and sometimes both that they caused has had me in a reflecting mood more than once this week. There is a certain thrill that comes with deploying an update. Everyone is excited and eager to experience all new things with their friends. Countless hours will be spent exploring - and most likely exploiting - new features and abilities. This update certainly promises to deliver on both. It will be interesting to see what new builds and contraptions arise.

Major updates are rarely a joy. As long as you have plugins written by a disparate set of people there will always be room for issues whether it is compatibility, broken features, update lag, or the shear panic of finding suitable replacements for plugins that have gone to seed. Many will look upon these as problems, while some of us think them challenges. Granted, one thing we could all do without is the mad rush when the last snapshot is cast into a full-fledged update.

The good news is that some developers have had ample time to prepare. With 56 development snapshots and 545 days, 1.9 clocks in as the longest update period; more than twice that of 1.8. md5 and his team have already put hundreds of hours since last summer to get SpigotMC ready for this release and judging from SpigotMC's tweets, they are putting in many more this week. I can imagine that if I had the opportunity to be a "fly on the wall" during their efforts it would make what I do seem like a cakewalk. My hats off to all of them for the repeated dedication and devotion to Minecraft. The same goes to plugin developers that have been actively updating and improving their plugins during this time. If you feel as I do, please head over to the SpigotMC website and show your appreciation by making a small (or large) donation; something at least to keep them amply supplied in pizza, soda, and beer.

In Local News

With that all said, let's talk about what is going to happen at VeteranCraft. I am leery of making predictions, but given the amount of time that SpigotMC, plugin developers, and VeteranCraft have spent in preparation, I would expect that we will be fully migrated in 7-10 days. I'm shooting for a much shorter update time, but as usual, there are always unknown factors that wait to rear their ugly heads. Thus, it is better to be a pessimistic optimist - plan for the worst and hope for the best. It is doubtful that such issues will be anything not seen before. Frankly, I'd prefer having problems jump out of the shadows now so that they can be summarily annihilated, rather than lurking for weeks on end only to pop up when most inconvenient.

Please be advised that our servers may reboot several times without notice during the update period. We will try to give notice when we can. I ask that anyone compelled to bicker about this, whether serious or in jest, just doesn't do it. Everyone has my full support to politely chide anyone that does. Please let them know that while they may consider it harmless, there are people working diligently on the server that they play on for free who may not take such comments lightly. Let's try to keep the number of temp- or perma-bans to a minimum this week.

Enough of the people stuff; on to the technical stuff.

Backups

First order of business is to perform a full backup of everything, worlds, plugin data, database, etc. Thereafter, we will continue to maintain rolling backups during the update period. Without trying to jinx us, if things go really wrong, we may have to roll back to a previous backup. This means that there is a slight risk of losing progress. It is best to put off any major undertaking until after the upgrade. Backup will require a full shutdown. Expected down time: 45-60 minutes.

System Updates

We have consciously kept system updates to a minimum except for security issues as they require shutting down all servers. We have a lot of things to update - operating systems, database servers, Java, logging, LDAP, etc. Most of this will be trivial, but is necessary to ensure that we are working with a current version of everything. This will required a full hardware reboot. Expected reboot time: 40 minutes.

Configuration Management

Starting with this update, we will be using configuration management tools to maintain Minecraft server configurations and data, which will greatly reduce the number of human errors that can crop up especially when multiple people are involved - imagine yourself late at night, on the 15th cup of coffee and you'll know what I mean. For that we have to install the necessary tools. No shutdown or reboot is required.

BungeeCord Update

BungeeCord, which is part of SpigotMC, combines multiple individual Minecraft servers into a server collection. It allows members to switch between servers via the /server command without having to log off one server and onto another server. The BungeCord update is compatible with 1.8 and 1.9 clients. However, this does not mean that you can use your 1.9 client to connect to a 1.8 server! The update will require a quick server reboot. Expected reboot time: the usual 45 seconds.

Pauli's World (or Should It be Biergarten or Kneipe ?)

As Pauli90 has pointed out, it would be a good idea to have a temporary 1.9 world in which members can explore some of the newest features with their friends (hint: The End). This world will be running on SpigotMC 1.9, not vanilla Minecraft, giving us an opportunity to test various plugins as they are blessed. Don't worry, we will first test plugins on our test server before unleashing them onto you. As to what plugins this may entail, it is still too early to tell, except that the first plugin under test will be Essentials. If that passes muster then we hope to provide some kits for members to at least get some vital resources in their hands (i.e. armor, weapons, etc.).

To avoid unnecessary aggravation from griefers, the world will be white listed. It will allow anyone that has played on VC in the past 90 days (and not gotten banned) to connect. If we missed someone or someone is returning after a long absence, staff can always added them. The URL for the server will be posted once it is ready for prime time. As to when it will be up, that will depend on my availability on Thursday. If it is not up on Thursday, then it will be some time on Friday. If you follow this thread and progress updates, you should be able to get a better feel.

In Summary

I could probably continue on for a few more paragraphs, but the more I type, the less time I'm spending on the upgrade. It's a balance between keeping members informed and getting things done. The next few days will be very hectic and as long as there are no aggravations, it should be relatively fun and painless. As always, please be mindful of staff and heed their advice. Walk on eggshells around Mudwog if you happen to spot him or he will nuke us all Kiss

Addendum (3/3/16)

The tasks described above are only the first part of the update, which is to prep our systems and servers for the 1.9 update and to get a temporary 1.9 running. Once those tasks are completed, the regular process of plugin validation begins (e.g. last minute patches, configuration changes, testing, etc.). Only when those are completed will Arda be updated.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 2, 2016
8:29 pm
AdmlAdama
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I wanted to take a moment and say thank you for all the hard work that you and the staff put in.

Lord willing it will go well and I'm sure that any issues (Murphy's law being what it is) will just give us an opportunity to contribute a small part of our own in time and energy. 

Thanks and take care!

March 2, 2016
8:44 pm
LightWarriorK
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Best of luck, frelling!

"Awake, oh man, and be wise." -Thoth
March 2, 2016
10:52 pm
frelling
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Tentatively, the backups will be started around 3-4 AM EDT, Thursday morning.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 3, 2016
5:43 am
frelling
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Seems to be very hard to get the engines running this morning. I'm holding off on the first set of backups to consider some process changes that could minimize the total server downtime.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 3, 2016
8:22 am
Pauli90
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Sounds great, Frelling. Thank you very much for your efforts!

Btw., it should be Zwingerteichstrasse, not Kneipe or Biergarten. Kiss

Back in my day zombies dropped feathers!
March 3, 2016
9:09 am
frelling
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Pauli90 said
Sounds great, Frelling. Thank you very much for your efforts!

Btw., it should be Zwingerteichstrasse, not Kneipe or Biergarten. Kiss

Okay, so it shall be Kiss Wohnst Du in Dresden?

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 3, 2016
9:12 am
frelling
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As I suspected while writing up my upgrade blurb last night, the PTB have other plans for me at work this afternoon; thus progress is going to be a little slow today. Crossing fingers that I can take a vacation day tomorrow or suddenly be afflicted by a malady of a temporary nature Kiss.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 3, 2016
10:32 am
tedisvet
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Amazing how fast this is going! Didn't expect all the spigot & plugin modders to be that far already, but then again, I am no modder and have not too much knowledge of that.

I wish you all of luck Frelling.

"Pants? You mean leg prisons."

March 3, 2016
12:36 pm
PhilosopherPhil
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So first of i want to say thank you, Frelling for all the hard work you put into this server. Veterancraft is my favorite servers cause there is so much work that you have put into making it a very well maintained and well rounded server also it's pretty exciting that we are getting to 1.9 so soon I certainly didn't expect we would be going through the updating process so soon. In your post you said that the bungee cord update connects a bunch of servers together I was wondering if that meant that the interface for entering vc would change. Anyways I appreciate all that you have done and I hope the updating goes well for you.

"If you don't know where you're going, then any road will do."
March 3, 2016
5:18 pm
frelling
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tedisvet said
Amazing how fast this is going! Didn't expect all the spigot & plugin modders to be that far already, but then again, I am no modder and have not too much knowledge of that.

I wish you all of luck Frelling.

I know that Spigot devs are on top of it all. In regards to plugins, it all depends. For example, Big_Scary is keeping GriefPrevention updated fairly regularly and that he is fully committed to adding whatever 1.9 features are missing. Then again, GP is a solid piece of code and only needs tweaking rather than suffering the fate of other plugins that have to be rewritten from scratch due to a lack of design. Similarly, the Spigot team maintains there own version of Essentials which is constantly updated as Spigot changes. I certainly don't want to be in the shoes of t00thpick1 the primary developer for McMMO. Right now, McMMO has some problems, but I am confident that he will fix it all. Its just a matter of When? In the worst case, we will run without McMMO for a while and when it is good to go, we will add it back in along with everyone's coveted stats Laugh

As far as other plugins that we use, well... that remains to be seen.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 3, 2016
5:20 pm
frelling
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PhilosopherPhil said
 I was wondering if that meant that the interface for entering vc would change. Anyways I appreciate all that you have done and I hope the updating goes well for you.

Thank you for the supporting words. In regards to BungeeCord, nothing will change. When you switch between Arda and Vetronia - if you ever have - you are using BungeeCord. It just needs to be updated to be compatible with 1.9

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 3, 2016
5:22 pm
frelling
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Its been a long day at work. I need food and a nap. I was lucky enough to be able to bow out of work tomorrow, so from the time I wake up again later tonight, it will be updates, updates, and more updates. Wink Did I say updates already?

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 3, 2016
8:37 pm
vyscaryska
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Been having a blast on realms, the combat changes take some real getting used to. 

 

Best of luck in the ease of transitioning! McMMO will be hard to transition, all those right clicking for tools is gonna have to go away, unless you just don't have an off hand while using the tool... 

March 4, 2016
11:48 am
Trip6s6i6x
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vyscaryska said
Been having a blast on realms, the combat changes take some real getting used to. 

 

Best of luck in the ease of transitioning! McMMO will be hard to transition, all those right clicking for tools is gonna have to go away, unless you just don't have an off hand while using the tool... 

Won't name names, but I have seen other servers that make you hold Shift (crouch) when right clicking in order to activate mcmmo abilities. It's less intrusive that way given the changes that've been made in 1.9 anway... something to think about.

Don't Panic -Douglas Adams
March 4, 2016
2:06 pm
PhilosopherPhil
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Trip6s6i6x said

vyscaryska said
Been having a blast on realms, the combat changes take some real getting used to. 

 

Best of luck in the ease of transitioning! McMMO will be hard to transition, all those right clicking for tools is gonna have to go away, unless you just don't have an off hand while using the tool... 

Won't name names, but I have seen other servers that make you hold Shift (crouch) when right clicking in order to activate mcmmo abilities. It's less intrusive that way given the changes that've been made in 1.9 anway... something to think about.

Well if it's functionality that is the problem I think probably the best thing to do might be to bind the activation to another action that way you can just change it to something else. I have my sprint ability bound to the f key for fast and the swap hand key in 1.9 is bound to my r key not sure if that helps the problem as I don't know how the mcmmo code is set up.

"If you don't know where you're going, then any road will do."
March 4, 2016
4:06 pm
frelling
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I realize that this is Friday night (in most places), which tends to be a busier night. Unfortunately, I cannot let that stop the upgraded. I will try to keep the down time to a minimum. I will be starting full system backups (i.e. everything, not just Minecraft sutff), within the next 2 hours - I'm waiting to hear from Mudwog. I hate taking the server down for an hour on a Friday night, but it is what it is. I believe that the subsequent system updates will not require lengthy shutdown as initially stated, but may involve a few reboots only.

Once I get these two major tasks completed, everything else should not affect Arda.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 5, 2016
4:44 am
frelling
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Server will be down for the next 60-90 minutes.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 5, 2016
6:10 am
frelling
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Update: Running into some minor difficulties. The good news is that Arda data has been backed up and squirrel away for safekeeping. At this point, I cannot say when the server will return; it could be 30 minutes or 30 hours (let's hope not!)

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
March 5, 2016
9:48 am
frelling
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That just goes to show me that planning is only as good as the planner. Maybe I should try another occupation Surprised

Just so there is no confusion, when I mention UPDATE in this post, it refers to everything BUT Minecraft. Don't go switching settings yet for Arda.

Everything was successfully backed up. Worlds, plugins, databases, etc. copies of which are cozily sitting on our NAS in safety. Some long overdue preventative maintenance was performed on our hardware. The guys at the data center were actually pretty quick about it. Beyond that, all operating systems have been updated to the latest and greatest. Web, database, and other services have been updated and patched as needed. All Java stuff is now running on Version 8. That's about the only thing that has changed on the Arda server, so far... Website, Maps, Wiki, and Lore sites are all working as expected.

Now that the Spring cleaning is done, we can focus on the new stuff. But first, a much needed breakfast for Mudwog and me along with a couple hours of Z's are needed. From here on forward we will be working with all the cool 1.9 stuff. More specifically, getting the temporary server up and running so that everyone can join up and explore all the neat stuff together - yea!!!

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their disinclination to do so. - D. Adams
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