We are Happy to announce the release of BoomBox 3.0
BoomBox 3.0 is here and better than ever. Over 6 months in the making, BoomBox 3.0 is full featured, battle tested and sports a new faster and more robust infrastructure and interface.
As some of you may know, there have been challenges keeping up with growth and occasional service interruption due to high loads. Whitelabel partners have experienced higher than usual response times using the search API and all around system and network management has become untenable for the support team.
Over the next 3 months (September through November 2017) all accounts will be migrated over to BoomBox 3.0 (current version is 2.4). However, clients will be presented with the option to migrate at their own pace at a time and date of their choosing. Clients will be presented with the option to migrate whenever they log into BoomBox and an easy to use Wizard will step them through the process.
Migration means the hostnames will change, so it is imperative that customers make use of the relay and redirect settings on the BoomBox dashboard to ensure that listeners can find their station after the migration has completed.
Value Added Services and Features
Invariably the question will arise “What about Liquidsoap or the Global Music Library?” Both, along with other projects have been extricated from BoomBox and will be offered separately as value added services or features. This means there will be some service plan and price restructuring over the next months. We are still evaluating development costs and will announce each feature/service release and price separately.
Classic Licensing/Hosting Plans
Current (Classic) plans will retain current pricing, and will be limited to basic Shoutcast server and SoniXCast Transcoder services. These plans are geared towards hobbyists requiring minimal licensing and basic Auto-DJ features.
Professional Licensing/Hosting Plans
Professional plans, priced differently than classic plans, will bundle value added services (like APM or CML as described below) to provide more complex event scheduling and programming management features for stations desiring such operations.
Advanced Program Management (a.k.a. Liquidsoap)
The development of the APM feature required a separate development team and different operating system and as such, stations that desire APM must be provisioned differently.
Cloud Music Library (previously known as the Global Music Library)
Because of it’s dependence on the APM project, the CML will be offered in conjunction with professional plans or as an add-on feature for classic plans.
SoniXFM.Com (Radio Aggregation Services)
Recent interest from current and requirements from new joint venture partners has spurred development of the sonixfm.com website. All development resources not currently allocated to support have been re-assigned to this project slated for release in December 2017.
For the Techies
More technical savvy customers like to interrogate our methods and reasoning from time to time which sometimes leads useful revelations and we welcome the discussion (although we could all do without the breast thumping and the non-conducive ranting). Therefore, we present this high level overview of the changes to the systems and network:
Current BoomBox infrastructure relies on the use of classic dedicated servers using hardware methods to failover the IP-address to a different backup server upon failure. Despite assurances from the provider, this method has proven to be severely lacking. Particularly under heavy listener tune-in and search API loads. Often switches would fail or become bogged down (and thus crash) trying to switch from one server to another leading to service outage.
The new infrastructure makes use of virtual server instances which are redundant across 3 geographically diverse datacenters and are switched by a dedicated and self managed load balancer. On August 16th 2017 we tested the failover infrastructure by funneling 4 million requests per second while simultaneously shutting down 2 of the 3 instances without losing a single ping request. We also performed a load test sending a burst of 40 million requests (3 times our current load) and achieved a maximum average load of 77% across all instances.
So what the heck does this mean for me?
Sometime between now and December 2017, when you log into BoomBox, you will be presented with a popup informing you that your account is eligible for upgrade. That means our support team has done the work of replicating and testing your station on the new infrastructure and only the final options must be set and the station switched over.
YOUR RELAY AND REDIRECT LINKS WILL REMAIN THE SAME AFTER MIGRATION.
New customers will be eventually provisioned on the new platform, but, for now, will also have to endure migration at a later date.
Customers have the option click “click away” the popup and plan when to migrate, but will be “annoyed” every time they log in and will be forcefully migrated if ignored for too long. That is a call our support team will make depending on time and resources.
Why All The Fuss?
We are growing too gosh darned quick for the current infrastructure to keep up. In August alone we had over 8 million hits (12 million in July) and that with 5 (we have a total of 30) server clusters disconnected from the search API.
Network hardware is coughing and sputtering under the load and our support team is spending more time arguing with marginally responsive and exceedingly difficult datacenter support technicians than helping customers.
The new infrastructure is ours alone to manage and maintain. We own it (like google owns theirs) and there is no more dorking around with some egocentric 3rd level support lacky.