Monday, March 30, 2009

My servers are gone

It was a tough call, but a good decision. For the next few months I have shut down both of my VPS from Server Axis. It came down to the fact that I do not currently have the time to push out Code Academy and it does not make economic sense to pay for the servers to run my website. Server Axis has been wonderful to work with -- I would say the best VPS provider I have ever dealt with.

I have backed up all my tutorials and posts; perhaps I will post them here but most likely not. The goal for the next six months to year will be to move my Django stuff over to Google's App Engine. I hope that after the next year I will have a more complete solution for Code Academy. Specifically I want to have the complete first course recorded and tested prior to rolling anything out.

My only problem now is an MTA solution. Shutting down the VPS' has also caused me to terminate my mail services. Google does an OK job at picking up mail delivery but it does a really horrible job as an MTA. I still have a home network and my services, cron jobs, and scans still want to contact me. I configured ssmtp to deliver via google and that works OK to a point. The real bugger is OSSEC. OSSEC will only send email via SMTP (no sendmail) and only through a SMTP that requires no TLS/SSL or authentication, basically an open relay. I understand to a point that generally you would have your own SMTP server on the LAN to handle this situation, but, in my case I'm stuck. This leaves me with only a couple of solutions that I can see.
  • write a wrapper script around the text based reports that OSSEC generates. This does not give me real time alerts though.
  • setup a sink SMTP server (there already is a great python example at djangosnippets) and then configure that around ssmtp
  • Configure Exim or Postfix as a smarthost relay. This seems like the most reasonable solution, google once again bits you in the butt because this would require periodic captcha (I really dislike the captcha idea) updates or the account gets locked out
  • Pay for a commercial MTA service. I don't like the idea of paying for a 'service.' I would much rather pay for a server and configure a service myself.
  • go find a cheap VPS with minimal ram sufficient enough to deploy Exim.

So I'm not happy with losing the servers or being forced to blogger but times are tough right now.