AlphaSat 25E: Dead Server

About 12 hours ago we noticed that our playout server was unresponsive. We tried various methods to revive it, but it is unfortunately not even booting. Ideally, we would have a hot spare, but we are in the process of upgrading our server(s), so a redundant server was not installed.

A new machine is currently being built and tested. It will depart for Europe tomorrow afternoon and hopefully clear customs and then be installed by Thursday afternoon. Fingers crossed.

Sorry for the interruption in service. We’re working hard to get this back up as soon as possible.

bummer …
Is that the same machine that had a drive failure a while ago?
Regardless, thanks @syed :slight_smile:

Don’t worry about it…
It’s normal!
Because it’s a computer.
Thanks you let us know.


Yes, it’s that machine.

Thank you for the update. Just got my replacement CHIP unit last night and was testing it this morning. Just my luck that the servers are down. Thank you for your outstanding support and the service you provide to the world.

Go to Europe especially for that? We could have arranged that some remotely managable machine
(ILO, DRAC) be locally obtained and brought to Burum…

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As an IT Specialist i am some what in rage mode right now :wink: #notQuite

You would have saved express shipping and all the other express services in the chain until the New Server is online. And there would be no off time for Outernet on Alphasat if you just replaced the server that was already somewhat broken.

But anyway, it happend… So good luck with customs and so on. I hope it will be back as soon as possible.

Just some Questions:

  • You mentioned in a thread that the server is at a special facility and not in a datacenter. Is that realy required by the company behind alphasat?
  • Can the Server not be replaced by some company in Europe? Would be faster an cheaper i think.
  • Where is the Server / sending station of alphasat located in Europe?


I completely understand the pseudo-rage. I’m equally as annoyed with myself. It should have gotten swapped out immediately after we put a band-aid on it.

  • The server is at an Inmarsat teleport, which is basically a datacenter with a bunch of really large antennas connected to it.
  • Yes, we were looking for a shop who could sell us a standard 1U server and drive it over to the teleport. No luck just yet.
  • The teleport is in the north of The Netherlands.

Well, I don’t know what is your requirement and budget, but I am sure that e.g. Dell would be happy
to take your order for a server and ship it to Burum. And when your budget is tight, you can have
a used system from and have it delivered next day.

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I checked at the site and they could provide a refurbished Dell R410 with enterprise iDRAC,
2 GHz quad core xeon, 8GB mem, PERC 6/i RAID controller with 2 146GB SAS disks and associated
hardware, 2 gigabit ethernet ports on-board, for about 500 euro + 100 euro tax, 20 euro shipping to Burum.

This is a great find! Many thanks. We just need another NIC. I’m guessing that won’t be a problem.

That is right, they have a fully flexible configurator just like Dell, I just entered some example parameters
to give a ballpark price. We have very good experience with these people.

Making sure I’m not missing something: Do you see an English version of the site? No biggie. Just wanted to make sure.

No, I don’t think there is. But most computer terminology in Dutch is just borrowed from English.
Some pasting into Google Translate should be all you need…

Furthermore I’m sure they can answer your email or phonecalls in English. We are at UTC+2
and they are open mon-fr 8-17h. See the info->contact page.

Why bother with remote co-locating in the first place? Wouldn’t Inmarsat let you establish some VPN and uplink remotely? At 20MB/day, it’s not like latency or bandwidth issues are a concern.

I’m guessing the sending of frames to the satellite modem requires some pacing or even precise timing,
as the modem is just forwarding them over the satellite link without any flow control (like acknowledgments
from the receivers).
So it may be convenient to have a local system. But, I would probably have used a Raspberry Pi :slight_smile:
Indeed as you say, a router may be sufficient as well. Something like a MikroTik RB750Gr3 or other
small low-cost multi-function router. It has queues that could achieve the same thing.

Dutch is a high level computer language.
Many high level systems are using it.

As an update: The servers have been purchased (thanks for the tip @pe1chl) from They will arrive at the teleport tomorrow and will be immediately racked by remote hands. We will still need to do a bit of remote configuring, but with any luck, AlphaSat will be up and running in about 30 hours.

Yes, a backup server was also acquired.

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