Linux server

The industry-standard operating system-of-choice for web applications, Linux, is one option for hosting the Open SDG platform. There are endless different ways to provision a Linux server for this purpose. Here we will simply mention some possibilities, with links to helpful resources.

Pros

  • Full control: When you maintain the environment at this level, you gain absolute control over every aspect of the system — from software versions and patches, to security policies, firewalls, proxies. You can even go "on-premise" and control the actual physical location of any hardware.

Cons

  • Burden of maintenance: When self-hosting a Linux server, it will be your responsibility to make sure the server is functional, secure, available, and optimized. Thankfully there are open-source "recipes" to mitigate this burden.
  • Expertise requirements: There will be no getting around the need to have a "system administrator" on hand to deal with setup, upgrades, and troubleshooting.
  • Costs: This will be the most expensive hosting option, given the cost of the server itself, the network connection (if on-premise), and the staff needed to maintain it.

Domain name

Because of the control afforded by this option, there are no limitations (or headstarts) when it comes to domain names.

Set-up

As mentioned above, there are endless ways to set up a Linux server for this purpose. Some approaches include:

  • Installing all required software by hand with package-managers
  • Provisioning the server using software like Ansible or Chef
  • Composing the server as microservices with Docker or Kubernetes

To minimise the "cons" mentioned above, try to go with the most modern, automated, and community-supported approach possible. With that philosophy, Docker images like this one are probably your best bet.

Automation

The details of your automation approach will depend on the choice you made during setup, but the high-level requirements are:

  1. The automation tool contains SSH keys to allow it to log onto the Linux server
  2. After each build, the automation tool uses scp or rsync to transfer the build to the Linux server