IT management for the personal CIO

In the previous post, I described how one can easily run their own web applications to beneficially replace many popular web sites. It was really meant as background for the present article, which is more relevant to the “IT management” topic of this blog.

Despite my assertion that recent developments (and the efforts of some hosting providers) have made the proposition of running your own web apps “easy”, it is still not as easy as it should be. What IT management tools would a “personal CIO” need to manage their personal web applications? Here are a few scenarios:

  • get a catalog of available applications that can be installed and/or updated
  • analyze technical requirements (e.g. PHP version) of an application and make sure it can be installed on your infrastructure
  • migrate data and configuration between comparable applications (or different versions of the same application)
  • migrate applications from one hosting provider to another
  • back-up/snapshot data and configuration
  • central access to application stats/logs in simple format
  • uptime, response time monitoring
  • central access to user management (share users and configure across all your applications)
  • domain name management (registration, renewal)

As the CIO of my personal web applications, I don’t need to see Linux patches that need to be applied or network latency problems. If my hosting provider doesn’t take care of these without me even noticing, I am moving to another provider. What I need to see are the controls that make sense to a user of these applications. Many of the bullet listed above correspond to capabilities that are available today, but in a very brittle and hard-to-put-together form. My hosting provider has a one-click update feature but they have a limited application catalog. I wouldn’t trust them to measure uptime and response time for my sites, but there are third party services that do it. I wouldn’t expect my hosting provider to make it easy to move my apps to a new hosting provider, but it would be nice if someone else offered this. Etc. A neutral web application management service for the “personal CIO” could bring all this together and more. While I am at it, it could also help me backup/manage my devices and computers at home and manage/monitor my DSL or cable connection.

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