Server Time

About a year ago, some friend and I were talking about each getting servers then going to a local data center and getting a third of a rack. There was lots of excitement but unfortunately most of us weren’t in a position to purchase the needed hardware at the time. Fast forward a year and now the topic has come up again but this time things are looking a lot more feasible.

Now, why would someone need or even want a hardware server in these days of fluffy cloud servers floating everywhere? Isn’t managing a server pretty lack luster now that we have these wonderful solutions like Heroku? It’s true, running a server isn’t glamorous, but it is cost effective depending on your skill level, needs, and willingness to put in a little bit of effort.

The cost is where it really shines. The up front cost of ~$1800 that I am looking at for the server I’d like is pretty steep, it doesn’t say, “I’m saving money!” when you look at it. But, how I like to look at it is how the cost breaks down over the course of a year or two. $150/mo if you put it over a year, $75/mo if you put it over two. Which still looks pretty hefty, but consider the amount of hardware you get for that. This is a dual Xeon system, each 4×2.4GHz, 64GB of RAM (easily able ramp that up to 256GB) and I’ll be running 1TB of redundant storage to start with and have the ability to expand that if needed.

This gives me the ability to replace a couple of my Rackspace VPSs as well as build sites that require out of band work to be done without paying $36/mo per dyno on Heroku. This is where my savings will start to kick in. Considering over 2 years I am looking at $75/mo for the hardware and $50/mo (likely closer to $40) for the hosting for a total of $125/mo. If I am able to take down my VPSs which total out to ~$35/mo, and replace 3 Heroku worker dynos, I am able to break even. If I use it more than that, then I am saving money. And with the level of hardware I am getting, it wont be hard to use it for more things.

All of this said, I’ll still be using Heroku to host my sites. Their deployment, add-on management, and databases are pretty great. Especially since I don’t want to have to deal with things like changing my nginx config every time I add a server, writing/modifying a deployment script for each new service, etc. I just get some extra things I’ve been wanting, and the ability to consolidate some of my servers and costs. Overall I am pretty stoked.

If you are a friend of mine, especially in the Portland area, and interested in joining us, let me know. I’ll gladly give you more information. We are keeping it to people we know and trust since people will potentially have hardware access.


Just like in StarCraft 2 and in writing software, fundamentals are important for life. I was thinking about how I’ll plan out my time to in enough cycling time, StarCraft 2 time, and work/side project time when I realized in or to get this stuff done, I’m going to need a proper sleep schedule. On top of that I need to have discipline, another fundamental skill.

What it is looking like is I need to spend time working out my sleep schedule, eating and work habits, as well as chores. Getting to a good base for chores will be on the easier side since my landlord is coming for a yearly inspection tomorrow. Some base needs for chores are getting in a more regular cycle of laundry that isn’t just, “I’m completely out of t-shirts, boxers and socks, I should do laundry.” Preferably, I’d get to a point where I was doing laundry weekly and didn’t let it pile up until I have 2-3 loads to do.

Other chores include chipping in with house cleaning and doing bike maintenance. If I start doing other things (like cooking at home) better, I’ll find myself using the kitchen more and needing to contribute there regularly. As it is, I don’t feel like I help out in the house enough. On top of that, I haven’t been doing the weekly/monthly maintenance on my bike like I should be, my chains need to be lubed, my tires are low on my specialized, etc.

Sleeping, which I should be doing right now as it is 1am, is generally easier to fix over a weekend when I can enforce a sleeping schedule and just deal with any tiredness without a drop in my work productivity. I’d like to get in a schedule where I went to sleep at 9-10pm, woke up at 5-6am, then start work at 8-9am. Between the waking up and the working I’d like to get in a light breakfast, cycling, more breakfast, then a shower. On top of setting a regular start time for work, this will also put me on the path to set new personal records on my centuries and other long rides this year.

A thing touched on couple times above that is also fundamental is dietary needs. If I am going to be training and fixing up my sleeping, then fixing my eating habits is also required. Eating when I wake up in the morning will help with adjusting to the sleep cycle and maintaining it. The fuel will help me with being able to cycle for an hour or two in the morning. And finally, if I do it properly, I should lose some weight as well.

Reporting what I’ve worked on to my boss was an important step for me to find, reclaim and motivate my productivity. But I fell out of it when I was in Mountain View for a week and have been forgetting to work on it. We also moved to a small teams setup at work (which I’ll talk about in a Tech post), which has me doing 2 more meetings each week, but focuses the parts of the code base that I am expected to work in and, to an extent, own.

These are all fundamentals that I should practice, the cycling, SC2, side projects, etc are all secondary. Focusing on them to the detriment of these things will end up harming the whole. This means until I get control of my sleep schedule and have done so for a while, late night hacking sessions or SC2 with my friends at midnight are things that aren’t allowed to happen. Eating nothing but junk food all day is not ok. Starting my evening gaming or events before I’ve gotten my work goals for the day done, wont be happening.

To quote zefrank, “Warts and all! Let’s start this shit up!”