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50% more download capacity, better (and bigger) /tmp volumes

In a previous blog post, we discussed how we've expanded our node types to provide compute (CPU, RAM), storage, and network bandwidth for high-traffic-volume apps (torrent / NZB clients, data sync tools, etc) seperately from the resources for general-purpose and streaming apps.

In November, we provisioned 2 "download-class" nodes, but a month later, I've added a third node. This gives us an extra 1Gbps aggregate bandwidth capacity, provides better failover for workloads when doing maintenance, and allows for better automated balancing of workloads across the download-class nodes, since we can calculate a "mean" CPU/RAM/pod usage, and move workloads around accordingly.

Deletion policy documented

I'm putting the finishing touches on the automation which deletes abandoned / unused volumes.

I've documented our deletion policy, but here's a summary:

Action Data affected Retention
๐Ÿšซ Unsubscribe an app Application data 7 days
๐Ÿ˜ด Have no active subscriptions ElfStorage data 31 days
Delete your account Account data
Application data
ElfStorage data

See the our deletion policy for more details!

New Toyz

1TB /tmp volume on downloaders

One advantage of moving the downloaders to dedicated nodes is that I could pick nodes with much bigger local disks. As a result, we're able to offer each download client a 1TB ephemeral /tmp folder, to facilitate unpacking / processing, before completed files are moved to permanent storage. There are some gotchas (ephemeral means the data goes away when the pod restarts), but if you're processing big queues of small(ish) files, an ephemeral /tmp can significantly improve efficiency.

The implementation varies slightly between clients, and is documented on each individual app's below:

Incidentally, you may have noticed before that your /tmp folder used to appear much bigger than expected. Technically, this was because the pods were using emptyDirs, which provide you with (again, ephemeral) storage on the node OS. This was useful, but limited in that (a) it would appear to your app as if you had access to all the storage on the node OS, and (b) if you exceeded the pre-determined emptyDir storage, your pod would be summarily evicted and the data lost.

We're now using ephemeral volumes, backed by thin-provisioned2 topolvm volumes, which achieves the same goal - making local storage temporarily available for applications for fast, local I/O-heavy tasks. However, using ephemeral volumes means the pod is presented with a volume exactly the right size, and when it fills up, the pod doesn't restart - it just can't write any more data, avoiding nasty surprises for the user.

Meet Glime, our AI support bot

We're now using an early-stage AI bot (Glime) which is trained on our docs, and able to answer generic support questions either in Discord or on the website. It can't solve individual account problems for you (that'll still require waiting for a friendly human), but it's trained on our our docs and Discord history, and quite helpful with generic questions like "how do I access my ElfStorage remotely?", or "how do I connect Plex to Overseerr?"

To interact with Glime, just post your question directly to it in Discord, like this

@Glime, why should I choose ElfHosted instead of a regular seedbox?

You can also interact without Discord, by using the "Ask AI" button at the bottom right of the site / store.

Bugz Squashed

Unintentional subscription expiries fixed

Some users recently found their perfectly valid subscriptions prematurely expired. This was due to a bug re the way "24-hour" vs "recurring" subscriptions are processed, a distinction which I'm no longer sure we need. I've fixed up the bug, but I'll be polling #elf-friends to see whether the "24h app" feature is appealing, or confusing.

Today's scoreboard

Metric Numberz
Total subscribers 1 82
Storageboxes mounted 23
Rclone mounts 9
Tenant pods 764
Bugz squished 1
New toyz 2


As always, thanks for building with us!

  1. Includes users testing the platform with $10 free ElfBuckz 

  2. So that we can over-provision storage, since 100% of each user's /tmp is unlikely to be in use all the time!