Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Building A Bot Server (Part 7 of 7)

Last time I mentioned how ESXi can maximize computer hardware. To conclude this series, let's assume that ESXi has been successfully installed. I know this is project I am looking forward to attempting in the near future and I'll be sure to let you know of my progress. For the sake of concluding this series, let's assume that it works perfectly.

Bot Management

At this point there are a few ways to get your bots from one machine to another:

You can simply transfer the folder from the old machine to the new machine. You can do this as a straight copy/paste as we are all familiar with. It is a quick process and does work although this will result in some downtime, unless of course you time this move with MTGO's weekly Wednesday downtime.

You can alternatively use VMware's own utility for a live, in-place transfer where transfer the running VM from machine A to machine B. I've never seen this in action although it definitely sounds interesting and you will have zero downtime using this method.

The closest I've ever experienced is their Physical to Virtual tool which will convert a physical machine's specs into a special VM so that things that can not be lost, are therefore never lost. Things like original disks being lost, companies going out of business, key people who knew how to work a custom piece of software no longer being available, etc. I had to use this feature to “save” a program which my wife needed for work and could no longer use an installation or another machine. Their P2V tool worked very well for me a decade ago so I am sure they could do a live-migration.

What I prefer to do however is to do clean installations. This means creating a new virtual machine, installing Windows, applying all patches, downloading .NET, installing MTGO and then I can clone this machine and place fresh installations of the bot on those freshly minted machines.

Yes, this can be time consuming but I find that in the long run, this saves me more time as these new installations have fewer problems and any configuring that needs to be done can simply be ported or copied from existing machines. The problem I have found isn't so much MTGO or the Library, but rather Windows and its interactions with new hardware, which is why I prefer to do new installations and not simply transferring bots from machine to machine.

Hopefully you can now use this guide to building your own bot server. Enjoy and Happy Profits.

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