The Next Evolution of Reclaim


Yesterday Tim Owens announced that he’ll be going full time with Reclaim Hosting in the new year, and that is pretty awesome. His post delineates all the amazing work he’s accomplished at UMW over the past three years—it’s a truly impressive resume. And if you worked with him you’d realize that he moves fast and furious —and it seems to me that Reclaim Hosting is the next evolution of his work. What he’s doing currently with virtualized, container-based server environments is a likely future for how university IT will start re-imagining their infrastructure—and he’s digging in to make the new web affordable and accessible to as many faculty and students as possible.


As I blogged about yesterday, the technologies on the fringes of conceptual understanding for a majority of faculty and students may very well be the not too distant future of the web more generally. I got my first glimpse of this back in January of 2013 thanks to Brian Lamb’s “Squamous Mind,” which pointed me to Boris Mann’s discussion of the “New Hack Stack.”  He argues the shared LAMP stack is laborious and outdated, noting the new hosting stack will be amenable to new ways of versioning/collaborating (a la GitHub), will support the prevalence of Rails and Node applications, and provide server environments for self-contained apps. It’s a post that made very little sense to me when I first read it almost two years ago. In fact, I was immediately put off by it given we were piloting giving everyone at UMW their own domain and LAMP web hosting. But long after I first read the post it stayed with me. In fact, just about everything of interest to me since (Node apps like Ghost, Ruby apps like Jeykll, versioning platforms like GitHub, and container-based virtualized server platforms like Docker) was right there in that post. I don’t claim to understand it all just yet, but I do see it as the next evolution of what’s possible when it comes to building cheaper, more flexible and ultimately accessible infrastructure in higher ed. And Tim Owens is going full time with Reclaim Hosting to try and build out some version of what that might look like. And I have no doubt he’ll do it. Hell, if all goes well, I might even join him at some point 🙂


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11 Responses to The Next Evolution of Reclaim

  1. Tim Owens says:

    Wow, I can remember you showing me that article on the “New Hack Stack” and I’m pretty sure I scoffed even more than you at the notion. I still take issue with the notion that a recipe like that is built for “beginners” and I think the success of Reclaim Hosting thus far is proof that for many that’s where they are right now. But no doubt time has proven the author absolutely dead on about PAAS as the future of the web and pretty much nailed the containerization of software. At the time it was services like Heroku but with the momentum behind Docker we’re going to see this become a reality for a lot of people. And you’re damn right I’m already planning to be on the ground floor with something that really is for beginners. For the first time I might actually see the light in the hills beyond cPanel and believe that greater pastures lie ahead for us all.

    • Reverend says:


      The idea that intrigues me is make the Hack Stack for beginners, if possible. The plug and play environment for a single app on a single server that doesn’t have all the overhead of CPanel. That API abstraction for subdomains and installatron, but with possible less overhead? I’m not sure I know what I am saying, but it’s that push towards streamlining that you have been brilliant about with Reclaim that still compels me—not to mention a whole new host of applications to experiment with.

      • Tim Owens says:

        Part of the issue we have right now (and I have a blog post percolating on this) is that with cPanel we are bound by the limitations and resources of meeting the needs of everyone. User A wants to send email so Users B-Z have to be on a server that’s running an MTA. User C wants FTP and therefore everyone else has their stuff susceptible to port 21 hacks. cPanel is this Frankenstein pieced together from the needs of a huge and varying group of users and meanwhile imposes limitations based on the majority use-case (hence the inability to run specific applications). Containers blow all that up because now your needs aren’t limited by mine or anyone else’s.

        To add to that the idea that you’d need to know which server you’re on can be abstracted as well since installing WordPress would likely consist of a database running on one server, a set of core files running on another, and your uploads running on a third. In a clustered environment with containers you wouldn’t be limited to having everything on a single server (in fact you wouldn’t want to for high availability). I’ll write more about my vision of all this very soon but it’s starting to congeal for me and I do think it’s going to remove so many hurdles to hosting on the web, not just for beginners but for everyone.

  2. Kin Lane says:

    #Reclaim #Reclaim #Reclaim #Reclaim #Reclaim #Reclaim

  3. Reverend, you have a compelling series of posts as of lately!! And very nice motion pictures (cheap humor) by the way, from my top sci fi movie. Love to all the great bava family¡¡

    • Reverend says:

      When has my humor been anything other than cheap? 🙂 Big fan, and the bava family sends their b-regards—hope all is well at the equator.

  4. Well, it is funny that you picked my scene from 2001 to use for a picture for your blog.

    Here is where you can see my annotation about it.
    • read Tina’s 2001 Odyssey for the full story.

    But it is a nice that you are getting your domain back. One time I almost had to pay $734.99 to one of them but I solved it my way instead.

    Well, bye again!

    • Reverend says:

      I feel bad I didn’t give attribution, but I never give attribution for GIFs, it’s one of my rules. I don’t want them to ever have to be official art or property. That said, you are an artist Tina, and a very good friend.

  5. Pingback: Some Welcome Love for the LAMP Stack | bavatuesdays

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