Putting I.T. All Together
In 2008, I began hosting one of my physical servers in a co-location facility to extend my home lab outside the limitations of a residential ISP. Since that time, I have placed servers in half a dozen datacenters around the U.S., and have built an infrastructure hosting a wide range of services. Now, at the end of 2013, I am decommissioning my co-located infrastructure and hosted services.
As co-location prices declined over the years I started to invest in running my own hardware for the THogan.com website and email service. The thought was that a number of dedicated servers and a full suite of online services would make an excellent test bed for experimenting with new infrastructure technologies. Over the years, the number of services I was managing grew, and by 2013 included web hosting, Django and JBoss based application hosting, GIT hosting, JIRA, Confluence Wiki, email and calendaring, VOIP telephone service and conferencing call hosting, monitoring, off-site backup, and game servers.
Then I started letting other people in on the action in order to help cover the costs of the growing number of co-located servers in my collection. This was going well and the infrastructure I had built was robust and performed well. I had automated almost every part of the infrastructure, and it required little attention to keep things backed up, patched, and monitored.
However, through the act of providing critical services to other people on my infrastructure, the role of that infrastructure changed from a lab for learning into a production computing environment.
The learning value that this hardware and hosting was supposed to provide to me slowly eroded as stability became critical. My hardware was no longer useful for testing, as it was hosting email, VOIP, web sites, and code repositories for myself and others. I found that changes to this environment had to be carefully planned, tested elsewhere, and implemented at off-peak hours.
For these reasons, I am discontinuing the availability of THogan.com hosted services.
I have already moved all of my data elsewhere. I will be giving everyone some time and assistance in migrating their domains and services as well. Then once everyone is off, I will be recalling my hardware from co-location.
I intend to keep a lab, but it will be a home lab. Unfortunately I do not have the time or resources to maintain so many hosted services as a side-project.
The creation of this environment over the past 5 years has been an invaluable learning experience. But now it is time for me to get back to having a true lab/test infrastructure, and it is more suitable for such a thing to be at home, and not hosting critical services for others.