What typical responsibilities do I have when running a server?

Hi everyone. I’m totally new here, so please forgive me for the dumb question.

We’re trying to figure out whether to host our own Chirpstack server on our property vs going with a provider like TTN as we will have 50 sensors out in our gardens to measure soil moisture levels, pH etc.

A key deciding factor whether or not to run our own server using Chirpstack is:
What are the responsibilities that we’ll have if we want to successfully run our own server? In terms of maintenance both short and long term, debugging, initial set up.

This will be being done by one person who has so many other responsibilities, so we’re wanting to determine if it’s worth us paying for a managed service.

Thank you :slight_smile:

That is a question that is hard to answer. You can make it as complex as you want, or very simple. In general keeping ChirpStack up-to-date is a good practice (and reading the changelogs). For the rest, you don’t need much resources for 50 devices.

Speaking from personal experience as a CS major working solo on a Chirpstack deployment, but with little previous practical coding experience in Linux / Docker / MQTT / Encryption etc and zero LoRaWAN knowledge.

It took me about 2-3 months of almost full-time work to create a Chirpstack deployment I felt comfortable enough to be production worthy, and to really understand the components and processes taking place behind the scenes. Most of that time was spent on the security side, as the Chirpstack UI does not come with HTTPS natively and the “default” way of securing most of the network (the gateway connections and mqtt broker) is using self-signed certs which can get messy and require monitoring expiry dates. So a large portion of that time was spent deciding on security measures (in the end I went with Traefik as a reverse-proxy and TLS handler for all incoming traffic).

With that being said, about a year later I am still planning on making improvements to the network for High Availability measures and integration to our other platforms / websites.

So really it depends on your requirements for the network. To get an unencrypted Chirpstack deployment going for only 50 devices would probably take about a week if you had no clue what you were doing, and then for continuing workload, as Brocaar said keeping up to date on the changes is really all that is required for upkeep. Securing the network, optimizing configuration, adding redundancy, and integrating with other services are really what would take more time for a serious deployment.

Echoing Brocaars response: The floor is low, the ceiling is high.