Today is the day I decommission the first server I created for this venture.
Over a year ago I started investigating how modern web hosting works and discovered the awesome price points you can get for small servers designed to serve small amounts of traffic. Not only were these cloud based virtual machines inexpensive, they weren't tied to hardware allowing the providers to provide excellent up time.
I named my first server Patel, and launched him on Rackspace's Cloud. He used to serve this very site until a few months ago. Overall I was happy with Rackspace. They provided a very simplistic introduction to cloud computing which readied me for my next infrastructure evolution.
Amazon Web Service's free tier did its job on me, opening the door to exploring what Amazon had to offer. Everything was much more complicated, but also far more powerful and more secure. The key power I appreciate the most is the API controlled firewall which you can adjust through the web interface for AWS. In general I also felt like my instances were better protected by default. It is in Amazon's interest to protect every instance on their cloud including mine.
I have moved up from having one server on AWS for myself and select clients to planning a scalable infrastructure both in terms of resource allocation and security. The core idea is to heavily secure and monitor key front end instances while the app server and database servers are kept inaccessible from the outside world. This means more resources can be provisioned without needing to increase the amount of security information to review.
The end of Patel is the end of an era for me, but what comes next is even more exciting. Contact me if you want help getting into this new way of creating awesome websites and web services.