Life with Azure: the realization


As part of being a technologist in real life, I’ve always felt that one of the important things that I did was that I brought my work home with me, and actually enjoyed it.  What I mean by that is, the long days that I spent with Windows Server, Exchange, and other things in the Microsoft ecosystem, always followed me home in the evenings and on the weekends.  I seemed to have enjoyed the work enough where I really wanted to use my extra time to play with it at home too, which helped me to really build my skills.  I’ve done this for the last 20 years.

My home network didn’t need to be overly complex, but it was.  Learning these things in my off-work time made me more efficient in my “real” job.  An issue I would encounter at work would follow me to the home lab.

Fast forward to the last couple of years and I had a handful of consumer-class computers running platforms like Hyper-V and ESXi with TMG, Exchange, Active Directory, SQL and other apps on top.  As some might learn, home labs eventually bring you to a few key realizations.  It costs time and money to sustain these resources.  Whether it’s $1,000 worth of power a year to run your gear, business class Internet just so you have static IP addresses, the cost to fix broken hardware, and most importantly your time; the time you spend building and rebuilding broken applications, troubleshooting just to get back to a functional environment.  Everything costs money.  The tipping point becomes clear when it becomes more of a chore (or expense) than a fun, enriching experience.

The realization

I hit this realization several months ago as we added a third daughter to the mix.  You start thinking about the places where you can “trim the fat”, and the “Home IT” line item in the family budget becomes the first target.  With three girls in the house, you find the shift of priorities from faster processors and more memory and disk, to the potential end game of three college educations and three weddings.  I’m half kidding, but the thought is still about how much, and where can we save.

The journey to the cloud

I wouldn’t say that I have been anti-cloud, but I’ve always wondered how things would work with infrastructure, both hardware and software that are out of your control.  This is probably the same question that IT engineers and management ask themselves every time their favorite vendor talks to them about putting things into the cloud.

I finally had to give it a try.  The timing was right as the server that ran my blog was having issues, and really my option was to rebuild or never blog again. :/

Get your free Azure, here!

I walked through the signup process as any new customer would, and was presented with a $200 credit which is suppose to get you through your first month and provide you the ability to try all the features that are available through Azure.  How could someone spend $200?  Turns out, it might be pretty easy depending upon what you’re doing.

This was a prime opportunity to see if I could get my blog and a few other websites moved to Azure and get an idea of what this was going to cost to run things like WordPress, MySQL, etc.

Coming up…

I’ll cover in more detail the journey to the cloud including the options I evaluated and chose, issues I saw, pitfalls I hit, and my likes and dislikes.  Stay tuned!