i am rain

At what point is a cloud server a better deal?

I go back and forth on hosting at home vs hosting in the cloud. Storage and compute is cheaper at home but complicates accessibility and backup strategies. Cloud hosting is more expensive, but simplifies accessibility and backup strategies.

I live in a place where the cost per kWh is between US$0.35 and US$0.45. I'm also looking towards a future with enough house battery to time-shift my electrical usage to cheaper hours.

Let's look at some average electricity costs at US$0.40/kWh. Months are 30 days, years are 365 days.

Avg load kWh/Day $ / Month $ / Year
10W 0.24 $2.88 $35.04
30W 0.72 $8.64 $105.12
50W 1.20 $14.40 $175.20
100W 2.40 $28.80 $350.40

An Intel NUC with flash storage can idle under 10W, as can many Raspberry Pi-style ARM machines. A NAS with spinning disks may idle under 20W, depending on disk count and CPU type. Power saving modes may help, but this will stress spinning disks more and may impact server reliability.

Getting a recent AMD CPU with integrated graphics, case fans, spinning disks, etc to idle under 50W will take work. Intel CPUs have better idle power, but will use significantly more power at high workloads.

Keeping a modern CPU + graphics card to idle under 100W idle will take work. It can be done, but it will take work.

The question becomes how much work are you willing to put into a home server and how much reliability is needed? Also, where will you back it up?