Your Personal Sysadmin


Better Application Hosting with Wellhost

Based on the experience of Wellpress, I’ve developed a generic container-based application hosting service for small companies and similar organizations, utilizing CapRover as a thin layer over Docker Swarm. The service includes consulting and implementing bespoke build pipelines via Woodpecker CI, along with staging and production environments.

The setup continues the proven combination of high-level, semi-automated runbooks (Ruby-based) that integrate with external APIs, a bespoke administrative back office application (Ruby on Rails-based), Ansible playbook runs, and manual steps conducted in close communication with clients. Backup and monitoring akin to the WellPress setup complement the service.

The service is marketed as “Hosting with a Personal System Administrator,” filling a gap between barebones hosting offers and dedicated in-house operations personnel.

Better Wordpress Hosting with WellPress

I’ve developed a service for small companies and similar organizations that rely on WordPress for their portfolio websites or project presentations. These clients often lack the resources for a dedicated IT consultant but need advice beyond the standard offerings of consumer web hosting companies. I standardized server creation and configuration processes with a combination of half-automated runbooks (Ruby-based) that combine manual steps, programmatic calls to external APIs, Ansible playbook runs, and information integration with a specialized administrative application (Ruby on Rails-based). This application serves as the back office for invoicing and client communication, including status pages and hosting history.

The service is complemented by extensive monitoring, including external uptime sensing, scheduled checking, trace logging, and server and runtime metrics. This monitoring is based on Gatus, Healthchecks, Prometheus, Loki, and Grafana. Backups are incremental snapshots of the database and application file system, utilizing Restic and Autorestic.

The latest iteration added availability of container-based frontend applications, using the WordPress API as a backend. The service provides developer flexibility for environments, offering separate staging and production environments for the file system, database, and optional frontend application. Consultation with and implementation of deploy pipelines are also part of the service.

Exhibition infrastructure from scratch at Whyservices OÜ

I am assisting a data visualization studio in deploying their applications on Windows-based infrastructure in various settings.

The projects are executed in stages. During the hardware selection phase, I provide technical specifications for tenders. I also offer advice when developers discuss minimum requirements and maximum visual appeal.

Once the network and hardware are set up, I use Ansible playbooks to create base configurations for the underlying operating system. Using CI/CD tools, I build pipelines to generate software artifacts that are then deployed on terminals. I am proficient with multiple platforms, such as GitLab, GitHub, Gitea, and their respective runners, as well as standalone products like Woodpecker, Drone CI, and Jenkins. I provide tools that complement the developer’s workflow and expertise, whether through command line access or web-based user interfaces to control workflows independently.

Additionally, I can prepare remote control units, usually Raspberry Pi-based or similar devices, to provide easy access to remote networks during the initial setup and development phase. This is achieved using VPN tools like OpenVPN or WireGuard, and preferably Tailscale.

With this toolchain, I manage projects involving up to 50 individual terminals and servers.

Realized Projects

2016 Permanent Exhibition “ERM Digital Encounters”

  • Set up Windows terminal configurations using Ansible
  • Established deploy pipelines with Git repositories and hooks
  • Managed digital assets synchronization
  • Communicated with stakeholders

Similar projects

  • 2019: New permanent Exhibition in Fat Margaret Museum, Tallinn
  • 2021: Temporary exhibition “Heaps of Happiness” in the Estonian Health Museum, Tallinn
  • 2024: Updated permanent exhibition in Seaplane Harbour Museum, Tallinn

2017 Data Exhibition and Digital Installation “Flow” for EU2017 (Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU)

  • Provided consulting throughout the tendering process
  • Set up Windows terminal configurations using Ansible
  • Built and deployed pipelines for a diverse set of applications
  • Enabled remote management via Raspberry Pi out-of-band devices, Wake-on-LAN configuration, Pulseway setup, and monitoring
  • Coordinated between locations in Tallinn and Brussels, communicating with local cooperation partners in both cities

System Administration at Cash On Go OÜ

I joined the company as a lateral hire at the end of 2013. With a background in traditional system administration, performing most tasks manually on the command line, I quickly adapted to automation procedures and infrastructure as code using Chef and later Ansible. I assisted the company in migrating their main application and database from a colocated single server to a multi-location, redundant hosted setup based on Amazon AWS primitives.

I led a small team of system administrators with varying levels of expertise and focus, covering all operational needs of a mid-size fintech company. I communicated with management, vendors, and various project stakeholders. I helped organize and lead ad-hoc projects with outside consultants. Additionally, I was the primary lead for the PCI-DSS compliance procedures the company was required to follow.

The main technologies used during this time included:

  • PHP (Symfony 3), MySQL, NGINX
  • Ruby for system administration
  • Ansible, Chef
  • AWS EC2, VPC, S3
  • Proxmox

I worked with the company between 2013-2017.