Switching from Docker/Portainer to..? How to manage and scale?

I’ve been using docker with portainer ever since I heard about docker many years ago.
I want to ditch Portainer in part because the community edition doesn’t provide auth logs and in my book that is a big no-no - and I know there are better stuff out there than Docker+Portainer.

I’m quite tired of how cumbersome managing two servers is, and now that I want to play with 3 servers, my head is going to explodes. :confused: I mean, system updates and configurations + installing docker and portainer, and managing the volumes, the vlans, the security, etc. I’m currently doing “everything by hand”. Don’t get me started and backup and restore :crazy_face:.

I’m looking into Rancher and read a bit about Kubernetes, and started dipping my feet in rootless podman. I just discovered CRI-O and I also heard of Ansible and Terraform but never used them yet. I heard a lot of great things with most of those tools, but I’m confused as to what is compatible/goes together. I believe Podman and Rancher doesn’t work well together, they mainly support docker, but I like nice UIs for quick little adjustments. This is probably why I have such a hard time going away from Portainer.

I know some of those have similar purposes, while some of them probably don’t go together. Terraform looks nice as I use OVH and I could use this to easily spin up machines and configure external storage with vLan, etc as they use OpenStack.

:spiral_calendar: My current plan is:

  • First server: Uptime kuma, Nextcloud (connects to server 2 for Clamav), Mail client?, Cockpit, …?
  • Second server: Mailcow (w/o Sogo), Clamav Daemon, Cockpit, …?
  • Third server: Database (yugabyte or postgres) and some monitoring software, Cockpit, …?

Home workstation: Management tools, Terraform, …?

:thinking: My question is: What is a good starting point/tools? For initial server deployment it would be Terraform, with then some manual config (fail2ban, firewall, timezone etc) I assume. Next is easily manage and connect containers together over 2-3 machines, and scale if needed without having a nosebleed.

:earth_americas: It would be nice to easily be able to deploy more Postgres/Yugabyte instances if needed, and I know there are open-source tools out there to help deployment, management and scalability. Also eventually mail server redundancy would be great - if I can find an affordable Canadian OpenStack provider. I tried Cockpit, and I like it, but I’m not in love yet. When I need to change a podman container I need to retype everything, delete the old one and start the new one - can’t edit a container like Portainer does - yet.

:family_man_man_boy: I’m currently only hosting for myself, my family and friends - but someone approached me and ask if I could help them with that stuff too (hosting a nextcloud instance), so I need to up my game a bit.

I appreciate your thoughts on this. I want to learn new tools but I don’t know where to start - new stuff comes out every day…
Thank you!

(Emojis added so it’s less boring, a bit.)