Correct. Maintenance doesn't take that much time if you have done a good initial base setup. Mostly it's knowledge. You have to read and test a lot. This takes a lot of time over the years.
I've always been pretty good at making very old technology doing modern/other things. Most systems have lots of resources that are not fully optimised. Still as of today i always read about new techonolgies and tried to reap the free(ish) benefits from newly invented technology. This also keeps my knowledge gap as small as possible with the least amount of effort. Sometimes i post about it
I can't even afford to buy stuff since i have my own family to support, so i've become skilled in knowing if some cheap hardware is really worth the price. My wife has a laptop that costed me 30 euro's becaus the battery was dead and it overheated a lot. So i took it apart, cleaned it and orderd a new battery from china for 10 euro's. Presto: good working laptop.
A year ago some customer decided to purchase a whole lot of new thin clients, since the old ones didn't have enough performance. These old clients were Intel VPro SFF machines. These are dual core 64bit machines capable of virtualisation. They're not fast, but they work beautifully as a Vmware ESXi server (which is FREE for a single license! I used 5.5 instead of 6 because 5.5 can work on machines with far less resources). So i was offered such a system. Put some more memory in it, 1Gbit NIC, added some sata drives and i had a running virtual infrastructure. After tweaking some things in the Vmware core i have about 2,5 GB of memory ready to serve any number of VM's i want. It's not much, but it's working And totally free, except the electric bill of course.
Then i added a freeware cloud server and a freeware VPN as virtual servers on it.
For official SSL certificate communication i use StartSSL free that gives me a free fully operating SSL certificate for 1 year. A simple MX/DNS redirection (I only bought a domain, i never buy hosting) of my not-existing mailserver to my Google Mail account via a Zoho account was efficient enough to get this up and running both legally and free. (at the cost of some privacy of course)
This weekend i've been building a Windows Server 2008R2 domain controller on it. 180 days of free testing. It runs on 2 cores and 1gb of memory. Again, not fast, but working. Why not server 2012 R2? Because that uses way too much resources and 2008R2 is still supported beautifully. 2003 is out of the question, because of security. 2008 isn't 100% perfect, but you can still secure harden your webserver pretty well.
Did you know you could in theory enforce all networking communication on and in a Windows server via (SSL certificated/IPSec) encryption? It's very slow, but very secure. You can also enforce clients that even want to touch your domain to have a certain level of security.
I tried Server 2012 on an old laptop, but that was asking too much of the little HP 550 (was also given to me, since other people though it was way too slow to to things on it). So i decided to put Windows 10 on it as an experiment. So far working pretty ok.
Do i need all this? Hell no. Is it fun to tinker with your own virtual network having the same functionality as a small company? Hell yes! :bigsmile:
Does my wife love that she has a cloud app on her iPhone and on her laptop so she can automatically sync all pictures taken with her iPhone to her laptop via our own cloud? Oh yes!