Boxing Octopus


Adventures in Re-Platforming: Part 1 – A New Home

The last year or so has been interesting for me. For those of you who don’t know, I’m getting married this October. This is relevant because as everyone knows, WEDDINGS ARE EXPENSIVE.

With that in mind, and in an effort to save some money, I’ve been trying to scale back on what I spend on hosting for sites like this one. I have a ton of side-projects, and normally, to fulfill the needs for those projects I’d look to DigitalOcean, AWS, or <INSERT NAME OF CLOUD PROVIDER HERE>, but that gets pretty expensive after a while. In addition, those platforms, for as vaunted and wonderful as they are, are often far too complex and nuanced for the relatively simple work I want to do.

Solution: Buy dedicated servers from a hosting company, and set up the infrastructure to run these sites (and SO much more) myself.

Sounds even more expensive right? Well, through one of my colleagues (thanks Stephen!) I’ve managed to find a hosting company called Joe’s Datacenter. Stephen has been stanning for these guys for almost as long as I’ve known him; he tends to stan a lot of weird underdog crap, like Blackberry (he used to work for them), or Garmin smartwatches (which, if you own a Garmin smartwatch, maybe go checkout some of Stephen’s apps), so when he mentioned these guys, and their, well…INTERESTING branding, I kinda brushed them off as just another “Stephen thing”. But then I decided I’d been acting like a dismissive jackass, so I looked into their prices, and thought “Y’know what? Screw it. Let’s do this.”

I have to say I’m several months into this project, and I’m very pleased with the level of support I’ve received from Joe and his Datacenter. It’s not a white-glove service, but that’s fine, that’s expected. They’re providing a no-frills service that does EXACTLY what it does on the tin. Uptime is fantastic, and support tickets get answered quickly. In addition to that, there are some great perks! You can get up to an additional 13 IPs for each dedicated server you own (which, in an era where IPv4 addresses are scarce as hell, is HUGE), and the list of operating systems you can install on your machine is pretty decent (they even include VMWare ESXi!)

At this point, what I’ve managed to accomplish, is the following:

  1. I’ve set up a Docker environment on both machines (which is fronted by Portainer)
  2. Since not every application and/or platform runs nicely in a containerized environment, I’ve also set up KVM as a bare-metal hypervisor for running Virtual Machines.

What I’m currently working on (and will be posting about in the future):

  1. Centralized authentication courtesy of OpenLDAP + Atlassian Crowd
  2. Central Control Plane for KVM guests
  3. DevOps/CICD platform

That’s about it for now, but watch this space for how-tos and tutorials in future which relate to this project.

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