Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cloudsourcing from home

Managing the information and services which I provide has been a persistent source of headache since I set up my own Web server at home in 1997. So far I've been successfully managing the contents, such as:

  • External authoritative DNS (though you still need to maintain the internal authoritative DNS and the cache servers)
  • Mail receiving servers (or more formally called the message transfer agents or MTAs) and the complex forwarding schemes for my family, namely me and Kyoko
  • Static web servers solely for the public contents, including this blog

I still have to pursue moving out the servers from home to the external sites, however, because managing new protocols from home such as IPv6 and other new applications is increasingly getting difficult, due to the constraints of available bandwidth, IP address space, and my own time.

Frankly speaking, I do not want to buy any more computer at home. More accurately, I do not want to install and maintain operating systems and the application software at home unless I really have to. Things have already been getting too complex, and I need to offset or outsource the complexity to external sites and services.

The problem I'm facing is that cloudsourcing or moving out services provided at my home servers adds many levels of indirection and layers of things to consider: availability and redundancy issues, association of the services, how and where to consistently collect the backup data, and the contingency plan and the recovery procedure in case of service disruption.

I know the cloudsourcing issue is a matter of business reengineering process, and to redesign the workflows of the various activities, in my family. It's not only about the computer systems. We need to change our way of living.

And I finally started to learn what kind of things you can do on Google Apps, Google AppEngine, and Amazon Web Services.