One of the benefits of the original sponsorship agreement with Microsoft was a free shared hosting account on the servers managed by the ASP.NET team at OrcsWeb. This arrangement served us well in the early stages but the fact that we had extremely limited access (that is, FTP) to the account and absolutely no control over the associated infrastructure services eventually created some challenges for the project. In addition, we had long been leveraging services from PortalWebHosting for back office items such as DNS, source control, issue tracking, and e-mail, but a recent change in ownership created some friction in regards to legacy promises and agreements. Approaching premium hosting provider MaximumASP in the fall of 2004, we were able to secure a generous formal sponsorship agreement that paved the way for a more centralized and professionally managed project infrastructure.
Initially, MaximumASP provided us with two dedicated servers and a Virtual Private Server (VPS) account on a shared server. One of the dedicated servers was configured as a SQL Server database server and the other as a back office server. The VPS account was provisioned as a web account for our public web site. This configuration served us well initially, but the rapid growth of membership and the lack of control over the web server soon forced us to look for other options. Further discussions with MaximumASP resulted in the allocation of a dedicated web server for our public web site. The combination of a dedicated web server and a dedicated database server proved flexible enough to handle our full web site requirements. It was not until we added discussion forums to our site and pushed our traffic past 4 million page views a month that we felt the need to consider a web farm configuration.
The physical abstraction of the core application into a more modular organization had a direct impact on our back office project infrastructure. Rather than simply managing a single source code repository and issue tracking database, we now had to deal with many Project sandboxes — each with their own membership and security considerations. In addition, establishing effective communication channels for different stakeholder groups was critical for managing the project. This is one of the reasons why the DotNetNuke Forums Project played such a significant role in the evolution of the DotNetNuke projects. It allowed for a variety of discussion forums to be created, some public and some private, providing focused communication channels for project members.
During 2005, Scott Willhite also made some huge contributions to the project in terms of infrastructure management. In a project of this size with so many active participants, there is an incredible amount of administrative work that goes on behind-the-scenes to keep the project moving forward. As most people know, administrative tasks are largely unappreciated and only seem to get attention when there is a problem. Scott does his best to keep the endless stream of infrastructure tasks flowing; receiving little or no recognition for his efforts, but playing an instrumental role in the success of the DotNetNuke project.