ScoutLink was lucky enough to be able to attain non-profit status on Azure, providing an annual allowance of $3500 per year. This means being able to oversee taking ScoutLink to the next level, as well as being able to re-evaluate my own digital infrastructure.
In the interests of cost-effectiveness, for the last few years I have provided a bunch of ScoutLink services out of my own pocket. I rented a dedicated server with SoYouStart and provisioned a VM for that. Having such vast space and computation available to me has been great, but I haven't really been using it all. So on the back of being able to cut out any out-of-pocket provision I have opted to scale down but be scalable. Switching to a $20 DigitalOcean droplet and a terabyte S3 bucket from Wasabi for $5 is a signifcant reduction in personal cost compared to what the dedi set me back. Not needing to provide any services to anyone (except my Scout Group in the UK which pays me a monthly fee anyway) means I can have a bit more freedom in how I do things.
A fresh start also means I'm able to look at things in a different way. I have always been quite a pragmatic user; I like rolling-release distributions and I like services to be on the filesystem and owned by the package manager. Choosing to dockerise pretty much everything on this VM is a complete abdication of this ideology, allowing me to experience a more up to date means of systems administration.
Stable OS, dockerised services, scalable external storage. Completely out of my comfort zone, but quite a lot of fun to learn how it all works.
As for the Azure stuff... lots of planning needed to ensure we use our allowance wisely and provide as much of what ScoutLink needs as we can. It's gonna be a fun ride.