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commit c6526b8a4d49bb995a09c431e1f919164fe68606 (patch)
parent 6db9b4f14337862980979eec1e092c40665e6b4c
Author: Alex Karle <>
Date:   Thu, 22 Sep 2022 00:48:44 -0400

blog: Add "State of the Cloud" post

This is definitely rambly but hopefully interesting to someone out
there, even just me 5+ yr from now

Mwww/blog/index.txt | 1+
Awww/blog/state-of-the-cloud-2022-09.txt | 145+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mwww/blog/state-of-the-homelab-2022-09.txt | 3+++
3 files changed, 149 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

diff --git a/www/blog/index.txt b/www/blog/index.txt @@ -12,6 +12,7 @@ For an up to date list of software/hardware I use, see ## 2022 +- 09/22 [State of the Cloud](/blog/state-of-the-cloud-2022-09.html) - 09/22 [State of the Homelab](/blog/state-of-the-homelab-2022-09.html) - 08/22 [Using the Plan 9 Plumber to Turn Acme into a Git GUI](/blog/plan9-acme-git-gui.html) - 06/22 [Automating Multi-User WireGuard setup on OpenBSD](/blog/wireguard-management.html) diff --git a/www/blog/state-of-the-cloud-2022-09.txt b/www/blog/state-of-the-cloud-2022-09.txt @@ -0,0 +1,145 @@ +# State of the Cloud + +_Published: September 21, 2022_ + +As promised, this post is a followup to my previous post on +the [state of my homelab](/blog/state-of-the-homelab-2022-09.html). + +## My Approach to the Cloud + +Before listing off hosts, I thought it'd be worth a discussion of +how I approach "the cloud". I'll start off by apologizing for +using the word "cloud" so much--it does feel buzzwordy +but it's significantly shorter than "services hosted by cloud providers". + +In general, I prefer to self host my own services, and have been since +[2020](/blog/self-hosted.html). I self host because: + +- It's a great learning opportunity +- I prefer controlling my data +- I feel it's important to maintain some semblance of an internet + where anyone can run their own node (not just big companies). + +There are, however, pragmatic limitations. I don't own the hardware +in a rack in the datacenter because I simply have no need for that +kind of compute power. Likewise, I don't run the services off of my +home network because most internet providers explicitly disallow it +in their terms of service. So "self hosting" is more about running +software on a VM in "the cloud" and minimizing my reliance on hosted +services. + +## + +The server hosting this site is a base-tier VM (1GB RAM/1 CPU) from +[OpenBSD.Amsterdam]( It's reasonably +priced at 60 euros/yr (Linode has the same host spec for $60/yr), +especially when you consider the fact that 10-15 of those are donated +to the OpenBSD foundation. + +Ultimately I chose it because: + +1. It's the only service I know running OpenBSD VMs on OpenBSD servers + and that's just plain cool. This really has nothing to do with + security concerns, I just appreciate the fact that _someone_ is + doing it (and that they donate to the OpenBSD foundation!) +2. It's so small scale that you end up emailing a real live human to + register and for support which has been really pleasant (and said human + is also super cool and gives [conference talks about the + setup]( + Mischa if you're reading this!) +3. They [publish their scripts]( used to provision + and deploy VMs, which is also really cool (have I said "cool" + enough?) + +I've been using them for a little over a year now and am a happy +renewing customer. My only qualm has been that, being in Amsterdam, +the latency from Boston is noticeable. + +I can't say how well it would take load, since I've never had any +real traffic spikes. If my site got uber-popular I'd re-evaluate the +Acme theme first and then maybe make sure the VM is doing OK :) + +As it says on the [homepage](/), this server hosts: + +- This blog / related archives (like jam setlists) +- [] +- [My gopherhole](gopher:// +- [Several git projects]( +- Email -- I use the domain for outbound mail from + `cron` so I don't have to ssh in to check if my TLS cert renewal + failed (without tarninshing my personal reputation) +- The [soju]( IRC bouncer + +This is the second iteration of, the first being on +Linode (running the same software). Migrating was manual, and I wish +I blogged about it at the time--I'm sure I learned something in the +process. Having been running for 1+ years now, the minutiae of the +configs escape me a bit (although I of course [track them privately +in git](/blog/use-git.html)). + +## + +Garbash, the [tilde that I started with a friend](/blog/starting-a-tilde.html), +runs on Linode on a base $5/mo shared 1CPU/1RAM VM. It's running +OpenBSD since booting a new Linux VM on Linode is just too dang +easy (I really enjoy their developer experience!) and we needed +a challenge. + +Linode has treated me really well over the past few years, and I +would use them for any professional work if I could (I've never +worked somewhere early-stage enough to dictate the cloud provider). + +I chose them originally because I wanted a hosting provider that wasn't +one of the big three (Amazon, Google, Microsoft). Since self hosting +is about exercising my freedoms, it feels backwards to do it on the +servers of some of the largest tech monopolies. + +The tilde project includes hosting almost all the same services +(email, wireguard, web, git, etc) as + +## Looking Forward + +Every once and a while I kick around the idea of reducing my +"sysadmin debt" and moving from self-hosted to "foss-hosted". It's +still really important to me to stay indie and support small +hosting providers, but I feel like a lot of the learning took +place in the first year and has left me with only maintenance +(and small bills to pay). + +I've been a paying subscriber to [Sourcehut]( +for almost 3 years now and in that time they've released +several projects that would alleviate some load: + +- []( would save me from hosting soju + (there is the real concern about someone having my personal chat + logs, but realistically I mostly lurk on IRC and all the channels + I'm in are public anyways--no private dms occurring to be worried + about and for those I could always connect directly/avoid the + bouncer). +- [sourcehut pages]( would easily host my site + (it actually [already does]( in my + experimenting with foss-hosted) +- Of course their [git hosting](, which I already + use (and link to in blog posts since it has whole file blobs at + every commit unlike my `stagit(1)` setup; I don't want dead links + in posts!) + +More problematic would be finding a home for Since +it requires a running Perl backend, finding hosting might be a challenge. +That said, the project hasn't seen much love since I started seeing +my family for dinner and games in person (after COVID concerns +became lesser), so I may sunset it soon. + +Lastly, my gopherhole would have to find a new home. [SDF]( +is a good candidate since it has [free Gopher hosting](, +but I would lose my personal domain and, unless I'm missing something, +it's a stretch to call SDF "foss" since most of their code is proprietary +(no shade on the tilde--the community is incredible and it's amazing +to have lasted 35 years). + +All things considered, the 5-10 minutes I spend per month +`syspatch(8)`-ing my servers is worth the freedoms that come +with root access and being able to run the software I want under +my own domain name, at least for now. If and when I need to migrate +hosting providers, I may feel differently about setting it all up +again a third time. diff --git a/www/blog/state-of-the-homelab-2022-09.txt b/www/blog/state-of-the-homelab-2022-09.txt @@ -244,3 +244,6 @@ something of interest. I'll hopefully write a similar "state of the cloud" post to cover the services I'm running outside home, but I think this post might just be long enough for now :) + +*Update:* [State of the Cloud](/blog/state-of-the-cloud-2022-09.html) +post has been written!