One of the core aspects of homesteading in Alaska is that internet can be kind of dicey sometimes.
As such, I operate various resources out there in the internet that are much more highly available than my homestead is.
This post aims to describe the technical systems that I use to deliver various internet services to myself and others.
Growing As A Technical Pro
While the core strength of my technical skills lies within the networking realm, I have dabbled with system administration and server architecture both personally and professionally.
I have had a concrete presence on the internet (via domain ownership) since about 2006. Before that, I was hosting things on my public internet IP since the early 2000’s.
The tools I’ve used have evolved from basic, free webhosting to what it is today – a semi-pro stack of virtual hardware, flexible for almost anything I need to do with it. It has grown as my skills and experience has also grown.
These days, it’s easy to “rent” customized services from which you can deploy various services. In many ways, it’s actually more cost effective than actually owning and operating a real computer.
With this rented hardware, I have almost completely supplanted my reliance on various cloud providers with my own private cloud. Dropbox? I do that. Image backup & sharing? I do that. Streaming music service? I can do that, too, at audiophile quality. Website analytics? Sure.
The Frosty Networks Cloud Architecture
This is the general infrastructure that all my various public facing systems are installed on.
Primary Frosty Networks VPS:
- 10 vCPU on AMD Ryzen 3900X
- 10GB RAM
- 200GB NVMe Storage
- Location: Los Angeles, CA
- Carved into multiple virtual machines for various purposes
Primary Backup VPS:
- 1vCPU on AMD Ryzen 3900X
- 1024MB RAM
- 1TB Disk
- Location: Las Vegas, NV
- Replicates data to secondary backup
Secondary Backup VPS 2:
- 2vCPU on Intel E31235
- 1024MB RAM
- 1TB Disk
- Location: New York City, NY
Frosty Networks Private Music Server VPS:
- 2vCPU on AMD Ryzen 3900X
- 2GB RAM
- 30GB NVMe Storage + 200GB HDD
- Location: Los Angeles, CA
- Don’t ask for access, it’s 1000% private
- Hosted solution (MXRoute.com)
Not too shabby for a general hobbyist’s cloud presence!
The Primary Frosty Networks Data Center
As mentioned above, the primary services for my various internet interests are located in the primary (and fairly beefy) VPS.
This system is partitioned into several different virtual servers. This service allows me to “spin up” and “spin down” services on an as needed basis.
The primary one of interest is the web services platform, which currently houses all of my various domains and web services I have on the internet.
My Hefty Web Server:
- 3 vCPU
- 3072GB RAM
- 80GB NVMe storage
This is way overkill for what I need. Yet, sometimes, it can consume between about 20-50% of the CPU, with occasional spikes into higher levels. It offers headroom. I like headroom.
Sometimes, my sites get a large volume of traffic. I like to make sure it has the resources it needs to provide my readers a good experience. The extra hardware allows me to do just this, provide super fast web services!
I operate a few other personal services on this VPS as well, including:
- Full system monitoring
- Private website analytics
- OpenVPN server
- ZeroTier Mesh VPN server
- Miscellaneous test boxes
Backups Of Backups Are Necessary!
As you might have noticed, I operate a multiple backup systems via an entirely separate VPS. The primary key is that this is located two alternate locations entirely!
I utilize several scripts to back up the resources from my primary VPS infrastructure into the primary backup VPS. From there, I also replicate that data to secondary backup location.
This way, I continually have a backup of all my data in several locations. Most of this is fully automated where I don’t even have to think about it.
I also use this backup VPS to store important information from my home PC’s. This gets it out of my house, just in case something really bad were to happen.
For now, at least, cloud based storage is way too expensive to use as a primary data storage point. While I would love to get out of the business of data storage, I do still have considerable data stored on a private home server as well.
Please Contact Your System Administrator
One reality with this approach is that technically, I am the system administrator. I have to figure out all the problems. When that error pops up to contact someone else?
That’s me. I’m it.
You will also notice that I have a monitoring server set up. This allows me to keep an eye on all of my services, along with a log of all the various issues out there.
I utilize Zabbix (a free, open source monitoring tool) to keep track of the various statistics on these systems. It is constantly monitoring the health of my systems and will report an email if there is a problem that goes on for too long.
I can also use this tool to make sure that I am generally benefitting from the system in question. If I’m not using many resources, maybe it’s a good idea to stack that into other services? Or, maybe I need a little more virtual hardware?
Why So Much Infrastructure?
Even in modern terms, that’s a decent amount of virtual hardware!
What I like about virtual private servers is you can spin them up, or spin them down, at any given time. I can re-purpose these virtual resources as I see fit, at any given time.
As a network professional, I’ve seen many days of total disaster. I prepare for that with secondary systems that I can spin up at a moment’s notice. I don’t “need” to be so highly redundant, but I want to be.
The truth is, I have spent years crafting the various resources out there. I can’t afford to lose all that work. So, I invest into backup technologies that can “keep me on the air” as it were.
I’m not one that isn’t interested in getting value, though! The secondary infrastructure also has some personal private resources on it.