A virtual hoard of the shiny things I find on the internet.
rartastic replied to your photo: The way that you can tell that Marco is a nice guy…Why does instapaper cost so much to keep running? Any chance that was an exaggeration?
Well, first Marco pays himself $9,950/month in salary…
(OTOH, he lives in Brooklyn, so I assume his rent is about $9,000/month. :-)
Honestly, I have no idea, and that’s an interesting question, however, I don’t think it was an exaggeration. I suspect that the costs are for database servers (and “backup” servers in case of increased need), storage, backups, and bandwidth.
I’m going to ask him, and maybe he’ll talk about the answer on Build & Analyze.
This is kind of a necropost, but my ability to keep up with Tumblr has been severely curtailed for like, weeks…
I can’t speak to Instapaper’s specific situation, but I can tell you from my own work that enterprise-level hosting is EXPENSIVE. I’m actually impressed that $10,000 is ALL it costs Marco to keep Instapaper running. (And look, my knowledge of this stuff is really general, so I welcome corrections from any of the far more qualified people reading this.)
You want to keep your database servers separate from your web servers, because databases are greedy mofos that chew up all your system resources. The cool little bits that actually save the articles are probably on their own servers too, so different parts of the service can be taken down for maintenance separately. And then of course you’re going to need multiple versions of each, partly for redundancy and partly for load-balancing. And of course all of this will be virtualized, so it’s not necessarily a physical server for each function and backup, but there will be multiple physical boxes that all need rack space.
You’ve got your multiple servers in either a managed hosting or colocation facility, load balanced, firewalled, with redundant connections directly to fiber backbones to make the latency as low as possible- with all the waiting around inherent to content delivered to mobile devices, you don’t want your own service to be the choke point. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Instapaper used a content delivery network to keep things zippy. These are very economical, relatively speaking, but they’re still definitely Serious Business.
The facility (or facilities) where your stuff is kept will be in a seismically stable region of the country. It will have one or more diesel generators in case of power outage. It will have industrial-level cooling, ventilation, and fire suppression systems, security (systems and human guards), and at least some level of staffing 24x7. It will draw enormous quantities of power not just to keep the website serving equipment powered up, but to keep it cooled and ventilated, since that stuff generates an enormous quantity of heat.
You will pay not only for the actual rack space your servers take up, but for the bandwidth you use in providing your service. The more customers you have, the more bandwidth and rack space you will need. And because your customers are people who have paid for your incredibly useful service they have come to depend on, they will expect a high degree of reliability from your service, so as your service gets bigger and bigger, it will need more attention, bandwidth, and server resources to be reliable.
So no, I don’t think $10k is an exaggeration at all.