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AWS Cloud

I didn’t mention in the previous post the new KautzCraft LASER website is installed on its own virtual server in the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud. Of course its actual location is irrelevant and only of interest to me.

One of my many hobby interests is building web sites. Because I can. 

The easiest way to deploy a web site is through the use of a website provider. I presently use Mochahost. GoDaddy is another well advertised provider but I have never used them. These and many other hosting services provide all the background infra structure needed to build a website. 

When using a service provider, the most cost efficient website is obtained by sharing a server with a number of other (but unknown) users. My multiple personal websites share a single IP address on a single server that is further shared using the same operating system (Linux), by many other clients with their own IP addresses. We never see each other but they are there. This multi-user process reduces cost per user.

Private Server

When I worked for a major corporation, I built internal websites on company owned (private) servers. Microsoft Sharepoint was used to create websites for use with Microsoft Project. I built many websites to share project data with customers and project managers. These were very secure and only shared with VPN security to the outside world.

I enjoyed being totally in control of design and content. The only corporate requirement was not to violate our IT group security policies and not require too much bandwidth. IT gets real pissy-a about server space and license-to-use fees too. They put me in my own (department funded hardware) set-on-the-floor tall case PC running MS server OS. I think they get a bit paranoid when corporate “users” know too much about backend system operation. <G> With my own web server box my website couldn’t “break” security. It was probably addressed in the DMZ.

However, the corporate business was designing and installing huge computer network Building Management control Systems (BMS). Many of the corporate internal users know as much about computer network operations as the IT staff. We just don’t know the passwords, manage licensing, or day-today management.

Personal Server

The ultimate freedom is to build a website on a local stand alone tangible server. A local computer where I can reach over and touch the hardware. Totally my personal property and 100% in my control.

But that is totally unrealistic in a home environment. A public access website needs a solid and fast internet connection which is almost impossible from a residential service.

A public access web-server can and should be a remote server-farm location and thus have excellent internet access. That is what AWS provides with excellent internet connection and a smorgasbord of add on features. Go and examine Amazon Web Service to get a hint.

Using AWS I rent my own private stand-alone server I can’t physically touch, but can program any way I desire to do whatever it is I want to do. Just as if it was a computer setting next to me on the floor. I install whatever Operating System I desire. 

Not actually a single desktop, it is a virtual private server (VPS), hosted within a big server-farm along with many others. It behaves as a totally private entity that is virtually software and hardware independent and private. There is a virtual machine (VM) software program running at the lowest hardware level I can’t access, similar to the initialize firmware in every personal computer.

Is a VPS any better than a shared server with a multiuser hosting company? In many cases it is not. The visible output from either is the same at the user experience viewpoint. Especially with the very small demands of the personal  websites I own and operate.

Scaling up to hundreds and thousands of simultaneous users is where the difference would be most noticed. The AWS sites can be designed to auto-scale and do a lot of other behind the scenes activities to manage high loads. It can duplicate itself in ten locations around the world if desired.

For me it is more the enjoyment of having single user total control of the hardware and support systems. It’s my personal webmaster experience of making it work “my way” than a need for providing a better user experience for the visitor to my website.

The “because I can” reason.

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