lately I have been wanting to design and build a personal cloud setup. just a couple of servers, with a public and private facing side. nothing to out their but in the same sense enough to learn with. however there is a LOT of costs associated with a personal cloud. the price of hardware alone is mind blowing when compared to say a cheap server running vmware. however these are some of the things i plan to do with it that i think justifies the cost.
First, a personal cloud setup will just give me some major nerd points. not many can say they have their own cloud setup. even among geeks and nerds. most just go to amazon or rackspace when they want to try something with the cloud.
Second. Learning cloud architecture. Lets face it, the world is going cloud. Virtualization is only one piece of a proper cloud setup. so if i want to move forward with my career into an engineer position someday i will have to learn how to design and build cloud architecture.
Third, learning inside of a cloud, my own personal cloud will give me more ability to randomly create and discard many different architecture motifs, want a gluster setup? no problem. build a hadoop cluster? sure thing. design a high end web farm. not an issue. the possibilities are endless when you can build and tear down items with little effort.