Why I Fell in Love With the Cloud

I was just getting into some coding in college and decided it would be cool to build and maintain my own website. "Surely I would learn a lot by doing that, and I would have a cool new way to demonstrate my technology skills!"

I looked into Wordpress.org, the open-source and self-hostable version of the popular Wordpress blogging framework.

As I was going through the process of standing up a small blog site, many concerns kept coming up as I went along:

  • "Ok, I got this blog working on a small server in my room, but how am I going to make it accessible to the world?"
  • "Where is the MySQL database going to live? What happens if it crashes or the server it lives on just disappears?"
  • "This Apache load balancer is Ok, but what if an enterprising hacker decides to DDoS my blog? Or what if one of my posts just happens to go relatively viral? Can my server even handle that?"
  • "How am I going to manage DNS? Much less, how am I going to manage TLS connections to make my site HTTPS accessible?"

I felt overwhelmed at the task and put it down for years. These were valuable lessons to tackle but they were pain-points that prevented me from keeping the site running indefinitely.

Just a few days ago, I realized that all those questions could be answered very easily by the cloud (AWS verbiage from my familiarity):

  • "Your blog lives on an EC2 instance and has a public IP accessible by anyone."
  • "MySQL can live on RDS, or it can live right on your server and you can just change the instance size and type later."
  • "Use an Elastic Load Balancer, it has DDoS protection built-in and is highly available. If you need more servers, just prepare for it with an Auto-Scaling group for your web servers."
  • "Just use Route53 and simply attach the DNS to your ELB. Your ELB can be configured with your own TLS certificates or you can let Amazon Certificate Manager manage them for you!"

Just about every pain-point of management that distracted me from my main goal of maintaining a blog had an easy answer! Imagine applying these same questions to Enterprise-wide or Company infrastructure.

What made you fall in love with the Cloud?

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