Computing has always been personal. By this I mean that if you weren’t intensely involved in it, sometimes with every fiber in your body, you weren’t doing computers, you were just a user.
Note: would you like to install your personal open source cloud infrastructure, maintain it, manage your data by yourself and possibly develop artifacts upon it, like we needed to do in the frame of this project? If the answer is yes, then here comes below the step by step recipe on how to do it. The proposed software for Cloud-like operations, ownCloud, has been chosen among different ones. We explained our (interdisciplinary) choice in this post, commented here. It is an open source system with a wide community of developers (but no designers yet).
We plan to publish later some additional Processing libraries — in connection with this open source software — that will follow one of our research project’s objectives to help gain access to (cloud based) tools.
Would you then also like to “hide” your server in a traditional 19″ Cabinet (in your everyday physical or networked vicinity)? Here is a post that details this operation and what to possibly “learn” from it –”lessons” that will become useful when it will come to possible cabinet alternatives–.
At a very small scale and all things considered, a computer “cabinet” that hosts cloud servers and services is a very small data center and is in fact quite similar to large ones for its key components… (to anticipate the comments: we understand that these large ones are of course much more complex, more edgy and hard to “control”, more technical, etc., but again, not so fundamentally different from a conceptual point of view).
Documenting the black box… (or un-blackboxing it?)
You can definitely find similar concepts that are “scalable” between the very small – personal – and the extra large. Therefore the aim of this post, following two previous ones about software (part #1) –with a technical comment here– and hardware (part #2), is to continue document and “reverse engineer” the set up of our own (small size) cloud computing infrastructure and of what we consider as basic key “conceptual” elements of this infrastructure. The ones that we’ll possibly want to reassess and reassemble in a different way or question later during the I&IC research.
However, note that a meaningful difference between the big and the small data center would be that a small one could sit in your own house or small office, or physically find its place within an everyday situation (becoming some piece of mobile furniture? else?) and be administrated by yourself (becoming personal). Besides the fact that our infrastructure offers server-side computing capacities (therefore different than a Networked Attached Storage), this is also a reason why we’ve picked up this type of infrastructure and configuration to work with, instead of a third party API (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) with which we wouldn’t have access to the hardware parts. This system architecture could then possibly be “indefinitely” scaled up by getting connected to similar distant personal clouds in a highly decentralized architecture –like i.e. ownCloud seems now to allow, with its “server to server” sharing capabilities–.
See also the two mentioned related posts: