First let me start by apologizing to the photographers that had photos lost during the weekend, about 300 entries had to be removed due to database problems. It should all be sorted out now and the effected photographers have been notified to upload again with priority screening. We have taken measures to see to that this does not happen again.
I would like to tell you about a small change to the screening process. Photos that are accepted by the screeners are not added immediately to the database but are queued and added in bulk when there's 10 or more shots waiting to be added. This is why some of you have reported photos as "lost" when you cannot find them on the photo stats page nor in the database. I have added info about this queue to both upload stats pages under MyPhotos. Should any of your photos be queued for addition to the database, it will be mentioned on the stats pages.
This change serves to purposes:
1) Simplify the screening script. During high load, the screening process can take a very long time as the script has to insert the new entries one by one, copy all relevant photo files to all three servers (one main + two backup) and send out emails to photographers. This has sometimes caused timeouts and other problems. By moving the inserts into the database, the copying of photo files and the emailing of photographers to a server based program, I am hoping the situation will improve dramatically.
2) By collecting at least 10 photos before making an insert into the main database, we save precious resources as we can make one big insert with all photos waiting instead of doing 10 or more individual inserts. This has very positive effects on server load and query cache.
I could also mention another small change I did recently - extended the photo ID number to include seven digits instead of six. A small change it might seem but there's a heck of a lot of work behind it. All scripts and databases on the site that deal with photos (there's a lot of those!) had to be checked and some re-written to handle the longer ID field. As you can see, all photo ID numbers now start with a zero but that will not last long. As of writing this, we are 700 photos away from the magic ID of 1,000,000. This is naturally why this change had to be made. If I had not, we would not be able to move beyond ID 999,999.
Note that this change does not effect links to photos. They can be linked to with or without the leading zero. For instance, http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=0999111 and http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=999111 works equally well.
Finally, I am happy to say that the new server is now installed and in a semi-test production phase. It is currently serving photos under photos.airliners.net and doing some SQL tasks. I will continue to test it for speed and stability for a few more weeks before moving it to its intended role as the main webserver.
Thank you for showing your work on Airliners.net - you're what makes the site what it is!