When I was first working with computers, I used to build and upgrade my own desktop PCs. This was back when finished PCs were pricey and it was cheaper to build your own if you were willing to put in the time and effort. There were times of frustration but ultimately a sense of accomplishment when you were finished. A lot of knowledge of the inner workings of a PC as well as tuning tips and tricks were earned as well.
Many years later, hardware is still relatively cheap, but a finished PC is as well. Laptops have also replaced desktops in many situations now that their pricing has become more affordable. Now it is typically game players and hobbyists whom still actually build desktops.
I gave up building my own desktops long ago, but I still have one old Gateway PC for playing old FPS games like Doom when I’m feeling nostalgic. When it finally conks out, I will probably have to set up a virtual machine or two for this task.
I started playing with virtual machines back when I wanted to work with versions of Oracle when they were first introduced. As any Oracle veteran knows, the AIX, Unix, and Linux versions would always be rolled out first and it would be much later when the Windows versions were introduced. Not wanting to wait for the Windows versions, I started using VMWare and eventually VirtualBox to start working with the Unix versions.
Over the years, I have massed quite a lot of VMs, not wanting to create them over and over to work with specific Oracle products and operating systems. Colleagues have asked me for copies of some of these VMs from time to time and the size of them makes it difficult to post or send them. This is also true for files, scripts, and toolkits that we as consultants carry around with us between client engagements.
The introduction of the Raspberry Pi has opened a new world of low-cost computing power that can be used in a variety of ways and I see new projects posted all the time – everything from weather stations to smart home devices.
I recently saw a project for a home cloud using a raspberry pi device that can be configured to upload and download files remotely and saw this as a way to post my VMs for my colleagues that were interested. Since I have an old (version 2) raspberry pi laying around that I unsuccessfully tried to turn into a NAS, I thought it would be perfect for this use.
The process to create my own cloud was found here – https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-owncloud/ and the process allowed me to get my own cloud set up.
A word of caution, though. Since this is not a highly-secured platform, do not place any sensitive files on this cloud. If it is on your home network, it will require a port forward setting on your router to enable outside access. On the positive side, you can have links secured with passwords for both folders and individual files to share with others.