So I have self-hosted at home for a while now. Running all kinds of apps, and VM's on my Dell R720. Towards the end of my self-hosting at home journey I was running less and less VM's, and more and more containers or static files. I started to realize the big, beefy, powerful R720 needed a new home. And I needed a place to migrate. I could have just moved the apps I have to a raspberry Pi 4 as my apps are super light weight and a Pi could have easily handled it. But I actually didn't want to deal with any hardware at all tbh. Also I was starting to wonder is it really safe/practical for me to be relying on my dream machines IPS when pointing a domain at my home and opening up 80/443. Especially now after their security breach fiasco.
The one big thing for me though wasn't the big server, it wasn't the hardware, it wasn't the security worry. It was the snapshots and backups. I wanted a good way to back up my systems and not have to worry about me protecting/maintaining the data or being heavily involved in the configuration of it. I'm not the type of person that would end up on r/DataHoarder, So there isnt a lot to manage. I don't want to have to worry about keeping up with a NAS, configuring and relying on server raids, setting up backula or rsync to some offsite service or another homelab machine/NAS. Everything that is important to me data wise is already on someone else's more reliable infrastructure anyways i.e. Google Drive, iCloud, or dropbox. Long story short I want my data to be their problem, and not mine. This approach works for me, and for the small amount of data I have. This site for instance is not much.. yet anyways, and my other apps aren't either. The latest snapshot of the ubuntu VM all my services are hosted on was around 10gb. I have about 8gb of personal data on my gDrive and around 40gb on my iCloud drive "mostly my photo library".
Don't get me wrong I work around data all day, I know database infrastructure and best practices. I'm AWS CSAA certified and spend a lot of time researching and learning how many companies manage their data. But for home use, I just dont want to. This is what led me to migrate my R720 services to the cloud. Not just any ole cloud, but DigitalOceans cloud. It was the cheapest for what I need, One of the more straight forward and honestly cleanest, purest UI experience's I have ever had. Kudos to those dev's! However its very much like Linode, but I had a voucher for DO so that's who I went with. Vouchers for both are pretty easy to find though. The reason I didn't go with AWS or GSuite or Azure is because they are primarily focused on business or cooperate entities. And the web UI for managing one VM and maybe some DNS stuff just isn't worth the headache. AWS please start poaching some people from Digital Ocean or Linode to help you with your interface. All joking aside though those clouds are geared for totally different audiences and I know the importance of why they are laid out the way they are.
It was super quick migrating my containers to DigitalOcean, and its super easy for me to create snapshots/backup's, manage DNS or the firewall rules. Its just all in the cloud, I don't have to worry about it, I dont have to go to multiple control panels to make changes. Its there, and its always accessible. That's what I love about it, and that's what makes it so simple. However its strange that people talk about the cost being an issue. I'm not sure what most people are running at home, I can understand if its plex and things tied to that. But if I were to guess it would bitwarden, VS Code webserver, Blog, static sites, portainer, nextcloud etc. You don't need a 12 core, 64gb ram server.
I run all of that on my 1cpu, 1gb ram droplet for 5$ a month. Where is the server configuration I had was around a $1000 config. It would take 16 years of my droplet running on digital ocean to occur cost that much. 16 years. With all this being said I just realized that most people don't "need" a homelab unless are you using it how used to for loads of VM's and or training purposes. As far as for data hoarding purposes.... I'm just not even gonna discus that topic on this post lol. But I will say most people can get away with just a droplet or a Pi 4 to get started. Don't feel like you need a server to get started, and don't feel like you need a server to "self-host". I feel like self-hosting is more less you running the app, not you owning the hardware.