I agree with everything Kyle said except that it doesn't make you better at
other things. The sysadmin skills I learned in figuring out self-hosting
have transferred to many parts of my career inside and outside libraries
and have helped me land jobs several times. Of course that's a pretty
selfish motivation. And if you have no desire/need for that skill set then
yes it is a total waste. Whether those skills will add value to your
library depends entirely on what kind of projects and initiatives you have
going on. I imagine for many people the answer is "no, they will not add
value," but there is a non-zero number of us who do get value from it.
In terms of dollars saved, self-hosting is much more expensive in the short
term but much cheaper in the long term. If I multiply my hourly wage by the
number of hours I spent in initial server config on year one, it would have
been probably an order of magnitude cheaper to do managed hosting. But
after the initial configuration is done, the amount of work is a few
minutes a month running `apt-get upgrade` and downloading backups, so the
labor issue eventually becomes insignificant.
Library Systems and Discovery Coordinator
James C. Kirkpatrick Library
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
On Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 1:10 PM Kyle Banerjee <[log in to unmask]>
> On Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 5:46 AM Andrew L Hickner <[log in to unmask]>
> > Dear colleagues,
> > We are exploring moving the Wordpress website for the local chapter of
> > library association to managed hosting. I'd appreciate any advice and/or
> > provider reviews you are willing to share, and would be happy to
> > responses for the list if there is interest.
> I generally favor outsourcing commodity services like this unless there is
> a compelling reason to do otherwise.
> It's easy to underestimate the commitment self hosting entails. The time
> invested learning this stuff doesn't make you better at other things and
> comes at the expense developing real expertise that advances core services.
> Employment transitions are a disruptive and inefficient because the new
> person has to come up to speed and understand local administrative
> idiosyncrasies. Technology transitions are a PITA.
> Unnecessary self hosting and excessive customization are the vampires of
> the library tech world -- they suck out all your blood leaving you with
> inadequate energy/expertise to help users and staff with real problems.
> When we spread themselves too thin, we undermine our ability to contribute
> real value.