Back in the day when clients would ask me if they should buy a home PC or build a home PC in order to save money, I knew what to do. I would ask them if they wanted a tool or a hobby. That made the answer easy; the ones that wanted a tool should buy, the ones that thought of it as a hobby would enjoy building a PC.
I'm facing that same predicament with Grails hosting . Originally the cost for a server with enough memory for Grails hosting was cost prohibitive. I couldn't justify $70 a month without a clear, quick path to become self-supporting. So I built a server and thought I would self-host and live with limited bandwidth. That greatly reduced the cost and removed the need to make a profit. Then I found a way to get free hosting for a year, and jumped at it. The Layered Tech hosting has been great.
I have learned that I don't enjoy the sysadmin responsibilities though. I don't mind so much taking care of the server I can reach out and touch, but the remote one I'd prefer not to deal with. It also is difficult to have multiple applications running simultaneously on one virtual server with 512 MB RAM when the WAR files are 20+ MB large. My attempts to use shared libraries in order to reduce the size of the WAR files on GlassFish V2 were unsuccessful. The process seems to be better documented for GlassFish V3 Prelude. If I go forward with OpenSolaris 2008.11 and GlassFish V3 Prelude, I will be moving away from Layered Tech's supported offering. I'm all right with this because I know I don't want to be a sysadmin when I grow up. I want a tool for hosting Grails applications because I don't want hosting Grails applications to be a hobby, I want developing Grails applications to be my hobby.
Here is what I'm considering as the plan for 2009: