Businesses are an easy sell, but we want regular people on the internet to run their own stuff too :-)
1. Is the hardware infrastructure in house or built on another cloud provider? I ask because you offer several server locations. Am I afforded the same up-times I'd find with AWS or Azure?
2. How do you deal with having multiple apps on the same port? Could Wordpress and another web server exist at the same time? Can I SSH to multiple machines?
3. Do you have stronger specs on compute power? "Standard" doesn't really mean much to me.
4. Great domain name.
2. You can forward different external ports to the same internal ports on apps (e.g. port 31245 -> port 22 on your Ubuntu app). You can also launch VPN server and then ssh to your servers from inside your virtual LAN :-)
Web traffic is handled by the Portal system, so port 80 and 443 are "intercepted" by default. They proxy HTTP traffic to your apps based on the paths that you specify. You can forward /blog to one WordPress instance and /otherblog to another WordPress instance.
3. The compute power levels are meant to be relative to standard usage, but benchmarks are probably better for hackers, so we'll do that.
4. Thank you!
Great feedback, thank you!
- If I want add my own app, will there be docs/examples on how to do that? I'd love to have my own app to deploy something like Jenkins.
- What are the backup options? If I want to grab a snapshot locally (just b/c), is that possible?
1. There will be (basic) developer docs very soon. We'll make sure to send a link to everyone who has signed up.
2. Yes, you can download snapshots of your data at any time. You can't upload them yet, but that's coming.
However, one of the things I care about is the ability to self-host if I want to (even though I'm personally unlikely to). I can do this with Sandstorm but doesn't look like I can with Portal. Are there plans to make this possible?
 I work on a project with similar aims but takes a clean-slate approach, based on unikernels - http://amirchaudhry.com/brewing-miso-to-serve-nymote/
Ultimately though, there's no way to have a server in the cloud without relying on someone, so we're trying to build the ideal service for people who want privacy, performance, security, and freedom.
We hope other people will build similar services, so users have choice, and we will cooperate with anyone who has an open platform.
Maybe something like app.net but without a central server with multiple apps. I could install it on my server, dump my photos in there, share with other people, be able to manipulate those images with another app for filters or something. Does that makes any sense? Is there anything like it already?
Sandstorm and portal are cool projects but every app that you install uses it's own infrastructure, it's own database, it's own architecture, and that makes interoperability hard.
 http://nymote.org/ (which uses MirageOS unikernels http://mirage.io)
Sovereign is a set of Ansible playbooks that you can use to build and maintain your own personal cloud (I know I know). It’s based entirely on open source software, so you’re in control.
It seems to be a pretty active and prosperous project at the moment .. I'm part-way through getting my own rPi-based cloud infrastructure set up, and I'm finding it quite enlightening to be using Sovereign as the base.
With Portal, we're experimenting with things like Camlistore running as apps that advertise their storage capabilities generically to other apps through a simple API. We won't have that for the first version, but it is coming. The complexity is mostly on developers modifying their apps, which is why we're avoiding initially.
I'm adding this to the list of things to test during the public beta, because we do want people to be able to run Minecraft on the Standard server. Java is just such a memory hog!
An unmodified Ubuntu cloud image is a valid (though basic) Portal app and can boot using CloudInit. Real world apps store data on the separate "user data" drive that is attached to all app VMs, which makes them upgradeable. And they almost always have a web interface for the user to interact with.
They can also use the Portal metadata service to interact with the system. But for the most part apps just receive raw TCP/IP traffic or proxied HTTP traffic and work normally.
We began working on Portal before Sandstorm was public, but I can tell you this is the first time I've been happy to see other people working on the same idea as myself. Decentralizing the internet is more of a mission than a competition.
Also, we expect to be able to run Sandstorm as a Portal app, so you could run many Sandstorm apps inside one VM, assuming they're okay with that.
I'm definitely OK with that. :)
I love your LAN house, btw. We're also insanely hardcore PC gamers who think LAN parties are the most fun thing in the world :-)
But, yeah, for a fully-dynamic web site served to a large number of users, Sandstorm currently isn't well-suited. It'll get there eventually, but given that other platforms (like Portal) already cover this use case pretty well, we wanted to focus on the interesting things we can do with fine-grained containers.
In the case of apps that publish public URLs (like WordPress) they can choose to use Portal's single sign on or not.
I've created a number of SaaS services over the years and the pain of building a scaleable service shouldn't have to be repeated by every single app developer. It's a huge distraction from building a great app.
It shouldn't take much work to get Known running as a one-click auto-upgrading app, but I look forward to your feedback on the process. Thanks!
But it is very possible that we'll release a version of Portal that you can run yourself.
Do you want it as a backup plan? Or because you already have your own server hardware?
2. Apps and data are backed up, encrypted, and stored off-site.
3. Your data is always easy to download. Open source apps are always easy to download. If you choose to use proprietary apps, you may only be able to run those on other supported services. But importing your data from a proprietary app to a non-propritary app should always be possible.
Thanks for the questions!
> Portal is designed to help create a world in which users are not locked in by proprietary technology. Portal users should be able to switch to alternative hosting companies and back again, with little effort.
Could you elaborate on that a bit? Because from the website I get the sense that your Portal software itself is proprietary, not open source, but I could be mistaken.
The biggest issue is lock in, not proprietary vs open source. It's okay that Facebook is proprietary, but we don't think it's right that you can't switch from Facebook to a new social network, without losing most of your data. They create intentionally broken data exporting systems to keep people locked in. They can only do this because they hold all of the data we've given them.
With Portal users control all of the data themselves, so they can give it to any new app they want to use. And they can even export their entire Portal environment and take it to another provider entirely.
Thanks for the feedback!