Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tech Day: A Year in the Cloud

The URI! Zone has now lived in the cloud for a full year now, and the experiment has been a resounding success. After making the decision to move, I was up and running on Amazon Web Services less than two weeks later.

Here is what the website looks like in the cloud my butt today. It's very easy to spin up new subdomains and bring them down when they're no longer relevant, and I have an "almost one-click" deploy process to push updated code out to the application server. I've never had a problem using the base "micro" tier of services, especially after doing some caching/tuning of the most resource-hungry piece: the PHP-based Wiki software.

Cost-wise, prices came in slightly under my estimates, thanks to the AWS Free Tier which saved me about $20 per month. I used some of those savings to get the multi-domain SSL certificate, which ensures that what you're reading here was not inserted by a stalking hacker trying to impersonate me. Now that my Free Tier year is coming to an end, I can opt to switch from on-demand servers to a reserved yearly or 3-yearly profile to maintain the same savings.

I also make use of AWS alarms, which keep me apprised of my costs over the course of each month. For the most part, my server costs ran at about $10 per month until I started working on Sparkour (Apache Spark requires a little more power than the URI! Zone does). Even then, I can save money by turning on the Sparkour servers for a few hours a day (at $0.12 per hour) rather than investing in extra home computers or leaving things on all day long.

Besides the newsworthy AWS 5-hour outage last September (which was resolved by the time I woke up), service has been very stable. I'm satisfied and would migrate to the cloud again!

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