End of an Era

Sunday, 20 September 2015
  • By
  • Jeff Ammons
  • Tags:
  • Programming
  • Cloud
  • Web
  • Azure

Sad looking dog

If Old Yeller were a cloud service.

To understand my weekend, you have to imagine the story of Old Yeller, but instead of a beloved dog like the adorable one in this picture, substitute a cloud hosting service.

You still with me? Getting all teary just thinking about it?

For the record my websites, pets, family and friends are all just fine, but my websites have a new home.

Microsoft's BizSpark program is an excellent choice for scrappy start-ups with a great idea who need first rate development tools and world class cloud services.

Three years ago, I thought I might pull just such a start-up off.

Three years later, I'm pretty confident that I didn't.

Not only did I not make enough to “quit my day job”, I didn't make enough to “pay for my Azure Account” and barely enough to “buy dinner out for my family once.”

Therein lies the rub.

I actually realized during the first six months, that bootstrapping a start-up while working a demanding full-time job wasn't likely to happen.

My brief foray into the Windows Marketplace much like my foray into the Windows Phone Marketplace, convinced me that I am not very good at picking marketplaces.

I definitely enjoyed the Azure credits and came to love what were called Azure Web Sites and are now called Application Services.

The ability to host mulitple sites very simply and robustly is quite appealing.

Like the old “Good, Cheap, Fast: pick any two” saying, I found that although I love the service, I do not love the price once the artificial BizSpark price of $0 goes away.

Over the past couple of months I've migrated all my sites over to a Linux VPS at DigitalOcean, so shutting down my Azure account was mostly symobolic.

Old Yeller symbolic, just without the beloved dog part.

Going through the motions of shutting down the account was definitely a bit melancholy, but it has helped me clarify some thoughts.

  1. I'm not likely to come up with a big idea that spawns a successful start-up
  2. I actually like my day job (which includes much Azure work)
  3. Azure is not suited to the “one man band side project”
  4. Linux servers are cheaper even on Azure
  5. NGINX, git and static site generators rock for content sites
  6. I think way too much about these things…

So that pretty much sums up my weekend of giving my Azure account the Old Yeller treatment.

The somewhat awkward thing about my melancholy, is that my websites on the Digital Ocean VPS with SSD drives are actually quite a bit faster than they were on Azure. Yes I'll miss the Azure Web Services, but the Linux VPS is mighty nice.