I’ve been trying to make a self-hosted cloud computing environment in my house for a long time and OnLive has given me new hope that it will some day be possible. I’m hoping for the day when the streaming desktop quality that they use becomes available as a self-hosting service.
The goal is to connect all of my PC’s, laptops, iPads, iPhones, and any other device that my family owns so that they can share pictures, documents, music, and movies anywhere in the world with only a few clicks or taps. I don’t want any of my data to be hosted outside of my own equipment but I want it available everywhere we go.
I’ve played with Pogoplug for a self-hosted cloud storage solution for about a year with mixed success. Their service features are almost exactly what I have always wanted in a cloud storage service if they can just make it reliable. I purchased their $29 ”premium” feature set but for some reason it refuses to honor my product key every three months or so. Their support is very slow to respond so it can get frustrating to say the least.
Pogoplug allows me to share folders that are stored on my home cloud server with my iPhones and iPads using an IOS app and with my desktops using a website and optional drive letter access using their client software. I can even share them with random people and on Facebook one picture at a time using their direct link and permission structure.
I also have a VPN solution at my network gateway that all of my devices can use to connect home securely. The VPN service is a part of the Microsoft Forefront TMG server. It is hosted on my home network parameter and safeguards our network from outside threats. When my laptop connects, it authenticated with my Bostedor.me Active Directory domain controller and then has full access to every corner of my private cloud.
For remote desktop, I am using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop services for Windows 2008 R2. The performance is sufficient for office work but video streaming is nowhere near the quality that OnLive has been able to deliver. It doesn’t help that it’s only running as one of 8 servers on a single quad core XEON server with no GPU to speak of.
For email and calendaring, I am using Microsoft Exchange 2010 with ActiveSync and OWA enabled. That allows me to get my bostedor.me email, appointments, and contacts from any computer or smart device.
The entire environment is running on VMWare ESX 4.1 and is being backed up nightly using Veeam Enterprise Backup. This means that if a server were to die, I can bring it up again very quickly from snapshot. The big flaw in this plan right now is that I don’t have a second ESX host to migrate to should the actual hardware fail. I suppose that I could sacrifice my office computer for that as it has more power and RAM than the server but that’s my gaming PC! How would I survive?
Now, if I can just get a way to glue all of these self hosted solutions neatly into one package, I would truly be living on Cloud Mine.