Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Sunday 16 September 2012

Remember how I've spent the last three months moving stuff into the Cloud? And how, as of three weeks ago, I only had two more services to move? I saved the best for last, and I don't know for sure now whether I can move them both without some major changes.

Let me explain the economics of this endeavor, and why it's now more urgent that I finish the migration. And then, as a bonus, I'll whinge a bit about why one of the services might have to go away completely.

I currently have a DSL and a 20-amp power line going into my little datacenter. The DSL ostensibly costs $50 per month, but really it's $150 per month because it comes as an adjunct to my landline. I don't need a landline, and haven't for years; I've only kept it because getting DSL without a landline would cost—you guessed it—$150 per month. The datacenter has six computers in it, two of which are now indefinitely offline thanks to the previous migrations to Azure. Each server uses between $10 and $20 of electricity per month. Turning two off in July cut my electricity use by about $30. Of the four remaining servers, I need to keep two of them on, but fortunately those two (a domain controller and a network attached storage, or NAS, box) are the most efficient; the two hogs, using $40 of electricity every month, are my Web and database servers. I get to turn them off as soon as the last two services get migrated.

So we're already up to $190 per month that goes away once I finish these migrations, down from $220-230 per month three months ago (or $280-300 in the summer, when I have to run A/C all the time to keep it cool). I've already brought Azure services online, including a small virtual machine, and I signed up for Outlook Online, too. Together, my Azure and Office 365 services, once everything is moved, should cost about $120-130 per month, which stays exactly the same during the summer, because Microsoft provides the air conditioning.

The new urgency comes from my free 90-day Azure trial expiring last week. Until then, all my Azure services have been free. Now, I'm paying for them. The faster I finish this migration, the faster I get to save over $100 per month ($180 in the summer!) in IT expenses—and have much more reliable services that don't collapse every time AT&T or Commonwealth Edison has a hiccup in my neighborhood.

Today, in the home stretch with only Vault and Weather Now left to move, it turns out I might have to give up on Vault completely. Vault requires integration between the Web and database servers that is only possible in Vault if they're running on the same virtual network or virtual machine.

I want to keep using Vault because it has my entire source control history on it. This includes all the changes to all the software I've written since 1998, and in fact, some of the only copies of programs I wrote back then. I don't want to lose any of this data.

Unfortunately, Vault's architecture leaves me with only three realistic options if I want to keep using it:

  • Keep the Web and database servers running and keep the DSL up, obviating the whole migration effort;
  • Move the database and Web services to the domain controller, allowing me to turn the servers off, which still leaves me with a $155 per month DSL and landline bill (and puts a domain controller on the Internet!); or
  • Upgrade the my Azure VM to Medium, doubling its cost (i.e., about $60 more per month), then install SQL Server and Vault on it.

None of these options really works for me. The third is the least worst, at least from a cost perspective, and also puts a naked SQL Server on the Internet. With, oh yeah, my entire source control history on it.

So suddenly, I'm considering a totally radical option, which solves the cost and access problems at the expense of convenient access to my source history: switch to a new source control system. I say "convenient access" because even after this migration, I have no plans to throw away the servers or delete any databases. Plus, it turns out there are tools available to migrate out of Vault. I'll evaluate a few options over the next two weeks, and then do what I can to migrate before the end of September.

Not to mention, it looks like Sourcegear may be re-evaluating Vault (as evidenced by a developer blog that hasn't changed in over a year), possibly for many of these reasons. Vault was developed as a replacement to the "source destruction system" Microsoft Visual SourceSafe, and achieved that mandate admirably. But with the incredible drop in cloud computing prices over the past two years, it may have lived long enough already.

As for the final service to migrate, Weather Now: I know how to move it, I just haven't forced myself to do it yet.

Sunday 16 September 2012 18:23:25 CDT (UTC-05:00)  | Comments [2] | Cloud#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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