Cloud = Lazy

Just over a year ago, I moved my web hosting from a dedicated server to what is now the Rackspace Cloud.

My main reason for doing this were a desire to stop maintaining my own systems while still having plenty of room for growth as I take on new clients and create new projects. System maintenance is a time sync I cannot afford.

Having said this, I continued to maintain my own dev server at home. This was my old desktop machine, an AMD AthlonXP 3200+ (2.2Ghz) with 2GB RAM, running Ubuntu Server, plenty beefy enough for my work… I have Apache 2.2, PHP 5.2.x and 5.3.x (compiled from source), MySQL 5, PostgreSQL 8.4, as well as SVN 1.6 and Trac 0.11 installed.

This allowed me to trac tasks, do revision control and setup any environment I need for my work.

However… the UPS on that machine is pretty crappy and with my power being less than reliable, the machine would often lose power and never would power up again when the power was restored — meaning often when I was out of the house I couldn’t get to it.

In addition, keeping trac updated and the plugins/hacks working, and with everything else… I decided I was spending too much time on my environment and not enough time working.

To that end, I have moved my ticketing system to Lighthouse. This is the only system to which I have so far committed.

I am also trying out Beanstalk for SVN hosting and Freckle for time tracking and billing.

By switching from Trac to Lighthouse, I lose a lot of customization ability and standard features… however, my primary concern is a system where my clients can report issues, keep track of progress and communicate with me in a structured, recorded way.

For SVN, I am switching from my own system to a hosted one — my main concern is what to do with third party code — I’ll figure this one out as I go along. But SVN is SVN is SVN much for much. Doesn’t matter where it’s hosted. It is the web interface that adds a little extra something — but how useful is it outside of a team? I’m not entirely sure.

Finally, the most important part of contracting, Time keeping and billing. I currently use Billable, an OSX application — however, it is tied to the machine I use it on, and is inaccessible However, currently, Freckle doesn’t include a timer, nor any ability to export PDF or print-friendly invoices. So this is the most lacking potential replacement.

Freckle are working on what looks like an excellent timer, so that’s one item down. Perhaps if they release their full API I could whip up something for the other problem…

For now though, I’m just glad to get at least one more piece of my environment out of my hair and into the cloud. Let it be someone else’s problem.

– Davey