Contrarian: Building, Colocating Your Own Servers, No Cloud Involved

Jeff Atwood has a great post at Coding Horror talking about his penchant for building his own servers to rack at a colo. It tries to compare to the Amazon Ec2 alternative, all the while admitting it’s pretty much apples and oranges.

I want to make it clear that building and colocating your own servers isn’t (always) crazy, it isn’t scary, heck, it isn’t even particularly hard. In some situations it can make sense to build and rack your own servers, provided …

  • you want absolute top of the line server performance without paying thousands of dollars per month for the privilege
  • you are willing to invest the time in building, racking, and configuring your servers
  • you have the capital to invest up front
  • you desire total control over the hardware
  • you aren’t worried about the flexibility of quickly provisioning new servers to handle unanticipated load
  • you don’t need the redundancy, geographical backup, and flexibility that comes with cloud virtualization

It’s worth reading in its own right, but also because he does a pretty good job of outlining the pros and cons of cloud versus self-hosting. It’s also good thing to remember that no matter how “virtual” we get there’s still gotta be a bunch of hardware somewhere to make it all go.