The cloud may not be our starting point, but it's an indispensable part of the roadmap for any independent operator aiming for maximum redundancy and uptime. Initially, the cloud serves as a failover mechanism, providing an additional layer of resilience against outages or disasters that could affect our home or datacenter operations.

However, the cloud is not without its challenges, especially when viewed through the lens of decentralization. Cloud providers, being private entities, can terminate services at their discretion. They could also implement changes that make it difficult to operate blockchain applications, such as blocking essential ports. Moreover, an over-reliance on a single cloud provider—or even on cloud services in general—poses a centralization risk. A widespread outage could potentially impact a large number of nodes.

To mitigate these risks, a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud architecture is advisable. For our initial foray into the cloud, we've chosen Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Given our heavy reliance on Kubernetes, it's a logical choice; Google invented Kubernetes, and its Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) service is arguably the most mature and user-friendly among the big three cloud service providers. GKE simplifies many of Kubernetes' complexities, making it easier to provision and operate clusters.

While the cloud offers convenience and scalability, it won't become a primary focus until our home or datacenter setup is robust and contributing to blockchain decentralization consistently. The lessons learned from setting up and maintaining a more 'hands-on' infrastructure will be invaluable when expanding into the cloud.