The Home Server

The past year has brought upheaval, but it’s given me a good space to rethink my computing portfolio. Join me on Fridays as I share discoveries and new things

Over this past year of COVID-19 lockdowns, I’ve taken the opportunity to re-conceptualize my personal (and business) IT portfolio. Prior to the pandemic, I was rather haphazard about things. Even though I espoused the benefits of having a master plan and having things fit into that plan, in practice for my personal IT estate at least, it was a different story. I focused on getting things stood up quickly rather than robustly. It worked, but it sometimes incurred a price.

Right before things shut down in the middle of March 2020, I took possession of a new server. When I acquired it, its goals were twofold: control my home network and safely backup my files. There were some ancillary projects, too, like upgrading my ancient trashcan Mac Pro with 10Gbps Ethernet to enable files to transfer faster. (Side note: the first time I transferred a 50 GB video file over the network, my jaw dropped.)

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about and implementing on my home server stack is how I’ll be able to work from it when I’m not at home. The day will come when it will feel safe to work on the road, and I’m definitely looking forward to that day! While my usual approach to this is to open a port on my firewall/NAT and throw in a VPN server like OpenVPN Access, I’ve decided I don’t particularly want to do that if different alternatives exist. I’ve found a few things that seem promising, and I’ll document them here in due course.

This is all a long way of saying that this is a journey. Join me on Fridays as I wander through this new world, document some of the things I’ve learned, and share some of the cooler things that I’ve been working on. We might have all been stuck at home these past few months, but it’s definitely been productive.