I’ve decided to go for it.
I’m currently paying about $30 a month for a Virtual Private Server at linode.com. For that $30 a month I get the equivalent of 150Mb of RAM, 4Gb of disk, and a static IP that isn’t on any black lists. I’m guaranteed at least the equivalent of a 150MHz, but up to the maximum of the actual CPU on the machine, which is dual 3.2GHz Xeons.
The applications I run on there, particularly the Waypoint Database Generator, are severely limited by the memory limitations. I don’t come close to using all the bandwidth, and I’m not usually CPU bound. But as soon as that generator starts the memory swapping, it would use up all my io_tokens, and then the application would get i/o bound. The situation was totally untenable until somebody on linode started running a MySQL server and allowed me to use it. But I don’t like relying on this service that might go away at any time.
I’ve discovered that for about a hundred dollars a month, I can put a 1U server on a local colocation service. By going the colocation route, I can put in as much memory and disk space as I want. I still get the other advantages of the linode, such as a static IP and better bandwidth to the rest of the internet. The extra disk and memory means that I can run my own database server without getting swap and i/o bound. It also means I can move some of the disk hungry stuff like my Gallery server and this blog to it.
Yeah, it’s more expensive, but what I’m planning to do is set up the system with Xen. Then I can divide the box up into multiple virtual machines and sell shares. I’m hoping I can sell one share to start, and maybe another later on.
I’ve been perusing eBay, and it appears that $300 or so should get me a machine with 2x1GHz processors, 1Gb of RAM, and no hard drive. Another $125 or so for a 250Gb drive for the machine and another 250Gb drive to keep at home as a spare. Since the colocation site is here in town, I don’t need the ultra-reliability of the latest servers, RAID arrays, redundant power supplies, etc.
Ok, so I have to buy this machine, build it, and start setting up Xen. Then get my applications working on it. I’m also going to move this blog to “blog.xcski.com” and the gallery to “gallery.xcski.com” to facilitate moving them to the colo.