New Years Resolution : Stop Self Hosting Graphite

January 21, 2016

Obvious fact alert: New Year’s Resolutions don’t work for anyone (this lifehack clickbait has five reasons why). They especially don’t work for companies because if the resolution was really that important you probably would have taken it on already. The January-specific orbital tilt of the earth won’t make you especially free to take new stuff on, and so you won’t.

Rather than pretending you’ll do extra work (and beating yourself up because you didn’t achieve unachievable goals), it’s never the wrong time to take stock and see what you can eliminate. What’ll let you be more productive at work or even let you be home an extra hour each week?

3 people each riding a horse by a seashore

You could be riding horses instead of fighting Grafana!

In the past six months we in Hosted Graphite have taken this to heart and started farming out small parts of our development stack. We’ve stopped trying to maintain our own continuous integration set up (that’s on CircleCI now). Instead of staying on a clunky chat workflow with IRC or an open source chat client, we’ve moved to Slack. These were hard decisions (we like open source!) but these changes allow us to stop building a production line and focus on building a product.

For most other tech companies, Graphite, Grafana, and StatsD are some of these awkward but vital tools. If you’re a small company and trying to justify the costs of Hosted Graphite, calculate how much developer time you spend maintaining your monitoring. Maybe it’s just a few hours a week (congratulations if it is), but even that adds up in a month. For Hosted Graphite the extra tooling that we’ve switched to costs us, for a company of 12, around €100 a month. However the pure value in hours saved and also just de-stressing and speeding up our workflow is worth vastly more than that €100 to us. Hell, the time savings can even pay for themselves directly in more time spent on sales if we want.

Stop building a production line and focus on building a product

As we get firmly into a new year we’re trying to figure out what parts of our stack need to be streamlined. It’s becoming less obvious for us as 2015 was a big year in streamlining our processes. We’re now working on speeding up our workflows around our user-facing documentation and our blog. A little bit of work on automation or moving to a different solution and the few minutes deployment for those becomes a few seconds. It’s not work done to save those few minutes, it’s because if a deploy is instant we’ll fix more errors in documentation and work more naturally. This allows us to be a faster moving company and our customers will enjoy better documentation and communication from us.

So this New Year don’t resolve to take on more work. Instead, think about what stress can be outsourced and allow yourself to become the fast moving company you always said you’d be.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Charlie von Metzradt

Co-founder of Hosted Graphite, Software Engineer, huge nerd.

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