Personal Cloud Servers--Anyone use em?

I saw this one and was thinking it might be nice not to rely on dropbox anymore, and use my own instead, only because Dropbox limits me to 5.25GB of space. But Dropbox is awesome for its convenience, and so I'm wondering if there is a home cloud solution that is as easy to use.

From what videos I've seen, it requires an Iomega app to map your cloud drive to your computer, but what I can't figure out is if it supports syncing a la Dropbox style. I.e. can I tell it to monitor a local drive or folder and automatically sync said drive/folder to the cloud drive. And if this one can't do it, I'd love to hear suggestions of other ones that can.

Also, this is small but super important to me--whatever solution I use needs to not mess with the "last modified" data. Dropbox is great about this, but I tried a client for MS's skydrive and it would update the last modified tag every time I opened a synced folder.

It's an interesting idea, but I wouldn't trust an Iomega product to fall down if I dropped it.

Not keen on Iomega myself. LaCie offers something but it's way overpriced, and WD's offering has received a fair amount of criticism as well. Seems to be an unreasonably hard thing to make. I wonder does anyone know of software that runs inside Windows that would let you allocate space for personal cloud server duties?

Windows home server BUT the new WHS is not the old WHS in terms of 'keep shoving different types of drive in it until I'm out of controllers/space in my case and it grows "the pool" to the appropriate size'.
They aren't that difficult/too pricey to build, I did a home brew solution for years before WHS. Just remember one thing, BUILD TWO! This way you can use robocopy/rsync (depending on flavor of OS) to actually back your stuff up to the second one that you keep, you know, for backup.
I mean seriosly a couple of multi-terrabyte drives in a striped RAID backing itself up to another box with the same config will do the job just fine.

Are you looking to sync files between a number of always-on computers? If yes, you could try out AeroFS, which does P2P syncing without using a central server (although that model is available as well). AeroFS is currently PC/Mac/Linux only which means you can't access your files on the go.

Or are you looking for a store-and-forward approach to mimic Dropbox like behaviour? If it's the second, the nearest DIY alternative I can think of is to use Amazon S3 (the backend to Dropbox) and various tools depending on which OS you are dealing with.

If you are looking to locally sync to a low power NAS and then from there replicate content to a cloud, I haven't found an elegant solution yet. S3rsync could possibly work on a FreeNAS-based device, but my reading of their FAQ suggests that your AWS Identifier & Secret would pass through their server, and that makes me uncomfortable (although you could technically create a separate AWS secret for this purpose)

I just ordered a simple Synology home nas. My plan is to use it as central storage/media server and as a backup server. I'll still back it up to my AWS account using Jungledisk, but that might be redundant, if I also back it up to spare drives on local machines.

Thanks avggeek, my home computer is always on, so that Aero FS might the bill. Will check it out.

edit: does anyone have an invite for it? It's still in testing, it seems.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Thanks avggeek, my home computer is always on, so that Aero FS might the bill. Will check it out.

edit: does anyone have an invite for it? It's still in testing, it seems.

Apparently I can only invite you by creating a library and then adding you to it (Link). PM me your email ID and I'll send you an invite to an empty library.

Unfortunately aerofs is a bust for me for now since the motherland deems it not up to Chinese standards (data sync! He wants democracy!). Ie, it's blocked. Anything similar would be great though...

Well looks like Microsoft Live Mesh just might do the trick. Who would have thought a big ol corporation would have the answer... I knew of it, but didn't know it you could use it to do P2P syncing without saving stuff in the cloud.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Well looks like Microsoft Live Mesh just might do the trick. Who would have thought a big ol corporation would have the answer... I knew of it, but didn't know it you could use it to do P2P syncing without saving stuff in the cloud.

Oh I completely forgot about that - I looked it up a long time ago, but I gave up once I realized there would be no clients except for PC/Mac (silly me for expecting more of course)

avggeek wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

Well looks like Microsoft Live Mesh just might do the trick. Who would have thought a big ol corporation would have the answer... I knew of it, but didn't know it you could use it to do P2P syncing without saving stuff in the cloud.

Oh I completely forgot about that - I looked it up a long time ago, but I gave up once I realized there would be no clients except for PC/Mac (silly me for expecting more of course)

heh no worries. It wasn't exactly my first thought either. LaCie has a similar service called Wuala, but it too seems to be blocked here.

So since Windows Live Mesh went the way of the Dodo, and Microsoft has borked SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 (must attach your PC to a Microsoft account in order to use it, and no more PC fetching), I bring this thread back to life.

The quest is the same. I'd love to attach a NAS to my router at home and have it function essentially as a network drive I can map to my PCs over the Internet after negotiating a simple but secure login interface. If it can act more cloud-like and sync to local copies kept on my PC, that'd be even better, but I can live without it. I will not be using it to store anything valuable. Any of you more technical minded people know how this can be achieved, if at all, for very few dollars and cents?

Maybe http://labs.bittorrent.com/experimen... ? I have a co-worker that swears by it.

Grumpicus wrote:

Maybe http://labs.bittorrent.com/experimen... ? I have a co-worker that swears by it.

Wow, that sounds even better than what I'm asking for! Will give it a spin.

No source code means no way to verify it is secret. Considering what we know now thanks to the Snowden leaks, I wouldn't trust all the claims. I guess it just depends who you are hiding things from.

What I do is to run OpenVPN on my firewall, and then I can connect to it remotely from anywhere. I use this pretty much anytime I'm on a strange network.

Once I'm connected, I'm "at home", almost as if I'm sitting in my regular chair. I can use local resources like normal, like mounting my server share, or using ssh if I need a remote command prompt.

The only real difference is that I'm on a different subnet: if my regular network were on 172.16.50.X, the new net range is 172.16.49.X. The routing part was pretty easy, I just had to tell the OpenVPN server to push its route as the new default, and to set the DNS server as my private one, so that all client traffic routes over the VPN. And my private network machines don't need to know anything about the .49 network: they just hand everything to the router like normal, and it, well, routes.

The only true complexity was redoing the firewall ruleset to handle the second interface, and then allowing all traffic between the two networks. I use a program called fwbuilder, which looks a lot like the Checkpoint firewall GUI. It's much easier than writing rules by hand.

If you're using an open source firmware for your router, it's possible that any OpenVPN package they offer might just handle that part for you. If not, managing the firewall rules will probably take some study.

You could probably avoid the routing and firewalling issues if you ran OpenVPN on a server behind the firewall, in "tap" mode. Tap mode is basically a layer 2 VPN, so that anything that gets sent over the Ethernet wire at home will be sent to you remotely. This is pretty inefficient for bandwidth: you end up sending a bunch of stuff, like broadcast ARP traffic, that doesn't really need to go.

If you're willing to take the time to get the routing and firewalling right, the 'tun' mode is much more efficient; by being on a separate network, local broadcast traffic stays local. Only data that actually needs to be forwarded goes over the slow remote link.

If you want instructions on how to do what Malor says:

https://www.linux.com/learn/tutorial...

I haven't actually tried that setup, but just eyeballing it, that looks to me that it would work only to talk to the OpenVPN server and nothing else, not even other machines in your local subnet. That's strictly a point-to-point connection, talking with the client to the server. If you want more than that, there would be more setup involved.

After a little thought, that's the core of a simpler approach than the one in my last post. If you enable IP forwarding on your OpenVPN server, and set up a NAT from the tun0 device to eth0, that solves most of the problems in one fell swoop. In essence, you "become" the OpenVPN server, so you can do anything it can do. Neither the local network nor the firewall need any special configuration.

The only thing it doesn't allow is to have your remote network initiate connections to your client, and that's not typically going to be an issue.

That setup avoids a tremendous lot of complexity, and it lets you devote a machine that's probably much beefier than your router to running the OpenVPN tunnel. You don't have to fool with the firewall or with your other client machines.

Well, okay, you do have to forward one port on your firewall, from the outside interface to the OpenVPN server, but that's all.

RDP over SSH for the win.

Now on to your overall concern. Do I get it? Sure, but on the other hand trusting dropbox over another company (MS, Google, Apple) isn't exactly a rational choice, especially since dropbox holds the keys to your files and can turn them over to law enforcement just as easily as the other options. If you put a file in dropbox it's no different than sending it in your Hotmail or keeping it in your drafts there, a warrant will still get the folks the data. Sure you can make it harder by using a zip that's pw protected but that's not the same as encryption. And before we start saying one company is better than another, if anything Snowden has given us glimpses of along with Stuxtnet, SSL is broken. If you are under investigation by people high enough in the chain to call upon those powers you are boned. Unless you are not connected to the internet 24/7 and use encryption EVERY WHERE and even then it is difficult to stay diligent. Keep in mind Lavasoft went out of business over the NSL they received to give the feds their SSL key. If you are targeted you are toast.

Great responses all, thanks. Perhaps I am overstating my need for security though, as the only files I will be using this setup for are work files, none of which are even close to interesting enough for anyone to want to steal. No IP is on the line. I've stopped using SkyDrive however because with Windows 8.1 you are now required to log in to your PC with a Microsoft account to use SkyDrive, which just feels like too much of a security risk to me. I'm not technical minded enough to set up SSH tunnels or OpenVPNs, and I'm not interested in investing in setting up my own server, so I'll probably start with that bit torrent syncing thing and see how it goes.

I think I'm going to switch from Own Cloud which uses PHP to Sandstorm. I chipped in at the t-shirt level since I am going to run it on my raspberry pi for proof of concept.

This might interest you, Mao. I backed it on Kickstarter and it should be getting delivered soon (currently being beta tested).