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Ask Slashdot: Distributed Online Storage For Families? 168

Posted by timothy
from the she-can-live-in-my-spare-room dept.
StonyCreekBare writes "What options are available for distributed storage for families? My two brothers, my daughter and her husband, and his mother all have homes in various parts of the country. We use various cloud storage providers to keep our shared data. This has numerous limitations and we are starting to think maybe we can do it better ourselves. We all have decent Internet connections, are all somewhat tech savvy, and think that by leveraging the Internet we can maybe provide for our needs better and at lower cost by buying some hardware and doing it ourselves. How would you go about implementing such a family-oriented, distributed cloud platform? What hardware? What applications, beyond simply the preservation and sharing of family data, (grandkids' photos, home videos, and more) would be good to leverage such a platform? Security Cameras? HTPC? VoIP? Home Automation? Primary requirements are Cheap, Secure, Reliable."
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Ask Slashdot: Distributed Online Storage For Families?

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  • s3 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:14PM (#46197417)

    Amazon S3 with Expandrive

    • Re:s3 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:21PM (#46197475) Homepage Journal

      Amazon with OwnCloud [owncloud.org]

      • by apraetor (248989)
        I don't see Amazon in the list of supported hosting providers.
      • Why restricting OwnCloud to an Amazon hosting?
        Any shared hosting, preferably via an association that you can become part of (and control, and check its costs), will run OwnCloud perfectly well!
        Here in Europe I'm running OwnCloud on All2All in Belgium; I'm pretty sure there are many such services in the US
        (all2all.org)

        • Yeah. I run on noname VPS. But Amazon is an easy to do 1-shot for app + storage. I was contrasting to the Closed Source app.

    • Re:s3 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:26PM (#46197523) Homepage Journal

      Commercial, propietary and expensive. Stand up a linux box on EC3, with your storage portal of choice.

      ownCloud is open source. If you are a Slashdotter, the time investment should be trivial and the geek/maker factor somewhat exhilarating. 20 bucks a month will blow the doors off of Dropbox pricing for terabyte in the sky. Plus you have a migration/passthrough to Drop, etc.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Immerman (2627577)

        But that's not distributed. Power outage at Uncle Jeremiah's while he's on vacation means everybody loses access to all their files until he gets home and fixes it. A fire means everything is lost permanently.

        Now if ownCloud allows transparent mirroring between servers at different locations then you're on to something.

      • by Twinbee (767046)
        What would be the difference between OwnCloud and just a normal web host? I thought that's what web hosts were for...
      • by gshegosh (1587463)
        I second ownCloud. It's got a decent dropbox-like desktop syncing tool, too. Just buy a cheapo VPS or root server somewhere, install ownCloud and be done.
    • They mentioned family photos. There are two services that are virtually free at the moment, which makes it hard to beat with a private cloud.

      Yes, Google+ photos have a 15GB cap on full-resolution photos in the free tier, but no cap on "web-resolution" photos. It's simple to upload from Picasa from Win/Mac/Linux, and of course happens automatically on most Android devices. Yeah, it won't be archival quality, but good enough to record and share the "so this happened" moments.

      For all of the huge archives of

  • LOCKSS (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You might want to check out LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe). http://www.lockss.org/

  • Reminder (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It is rude to randomly redirect visitors to beta.slashdot.
    Even more so because beta sucks.

    Providing a hard to find opt-out, adding /?nobeta=1 to the url, just upgrades the aggravation level from "rude" to "insulting and infuriating".
    The only acceptable option is, as always, opt-in.

    I guess you need reminding. a lot.

  • rsync (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:21PM (#46197479)

    What applications, beyond simply the preservation and sharing of family data, (grandkids' photos, home videos, and more) would be good to leverage such a platform? Security Cameras? HTPC? VoIP? Home Automation?

    FIRST, you decide on what functionality you want.

    THEN you look at how to achieve that functionality within your budget.

    I'd use rsync as the cheapest means of replicating data between multiple sites. But once you start adding additional functionality requirements that might change.

    • by drstevep (2498222) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:41PM (#46197641)
      Rsync is a one-way synchronization. Check out Unison; it readily performs a bidirectional merge. You might have to do a little compiling, but hey, isn't that what the Family Geek is for?

      I've been using Unison to sync a pair of Synology boxes that act as my cloud. (One in my office, one at home, each with a RAID-1 array.) I've also gotten it running on a pair of DLink DNS-323 boxes (yes, also RAID-1'ed). The Synology has cloud software; might be a good choice if you want to invest in a cheap small light unobtrusive (Linux) NFS/cloud/music server/etc box.
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:56PM (#46198105)

        I've used rsync to push and to pull so it is bi-directional.

        The main difference between rsync and Unison is what happens when file X is altered at the local site AND at the remote site between a single sync interval.

        With rsync, one of the altered files will be over-written by the alterations to that file at the other site.

        Whether this is a problem or not depends upon your specific situation.

      • I've tried the rsync and Unison solutions. If you have all Windows boxes (2 PCs and 2 laptops for my family), the free Microsoft SyncToy is very user friendly to keep a Documents or a Pictures directory synchronized across multiple boxes.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Unison is only an option in a homogeneous environment, because both ends must run the same version, and you will have the devil's own time actually getting the same current version running on multiple platforms — especially if any of them are Windows. That doesn't make it useless, but it does make it a PITA. This, frankly, is a horrible design. It should be capabilities-based rather than version-based.

    • First, throw a few large disks in a spare PC at each location, install FreeNAS on a USB stick, create a ZFS filesystem. Now you can replicate snapshots between units. Rsync is there if you want it. Owncloud has a plugin you can install.
    • I agree that first, you should decide what your goal is. Shared storage? Sync? (Sync is not the same as shared storage because you have multiple copies of the data.) Maybe a shared storage area and multiple private areas?

      I did not recommend Amazon in part because OP said they wanted to do it themselves. AWS and S3 are not "do it yourself". They rely on 3rd-party servers.

      I'd say that SSH can be the solution, all by itself. The simplest case is shared storage: just set up a server on a network connectio
      • I should qualify this: they only act as local hard disks for programs that can use SSH or SFTP. Since most media players (sadly) don't support those protocols, if you wanted to play videos from the remote hard disk, you would have to download it first and play it locally.

        But is that really a problem? Usually I'd rather have the file locally to play anyway. Streaming is overrated.
        • by unitron (5733)

          That's one nice thing about a TiVo.

          Once you start copying a file to a TiVo from a PC, you can start playing it while it's still downloading.

          Admittedly that's usually a file recorded on another one of your TiVos on the same account, and usually on the same LAN and in the same house, and uploaded to that PC in the first place, but at least it incorporates the idea that "digital on disc means you don't have to wait for the entire tape to finish recording so that you can rewind it to the beginning before you ca

  • by Anonymous Coward

    FOIA request made to the NSA

    It's cheap since you don't have to buy hw, sw or bandwidth. It's secure for the same reason that access to your data might be time-consuming and unreliable.

  • overthinking it!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khelix (987576) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:24PM (#46197503)
    has anyone thought of a simple VPN + NAS solution?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcbarlow (166225)
      Yes, the first thing you need is a firewall / VPN gateway at each home. IPCop or IPFire and an old PC will do nicely. Then once you have everyone on the same virtual LAN you can all share webcams, NAS boxes or whatever. A cron job that runs rsync at 2AM should keep everything backed up at multiple sites. KISS...
    • See my comment further up. If you just want remote storage, SSH works fine. No need for VPN. Or even NAS, if you already have room on a networked machine to put in a "large enough" hard disk.
  • I'm using copy.com . It's good, reliable and the price is fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:26PM (#46197529)

    Off the top of my head, there's two obvious solutions I can suggest. Bittorrent Sync or git-annex. The former is easymode but limited in scope. The latter comes with a webui for some simple things, but also gives you a *lot* of power from the command line. I've never used either on Windows, but if that matters, Bittorrent Sync is probably the more stable of the two right now for that platform (but improved Windows support is the theme this month for git-annex's crowdfunded development, so it should be improving).

    Obligatory FUCK BETA, because seriously... fuck it.

  • by Sven-Erik (177541) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:29PM (#46197549)

    The next version (beta version released) of the system that runs the Synology NAS will offer synchronizing from one NAS to another. And the available products from Synology are very reliable. I have been using their products for a few years now and is a very satisfied customer.

    You can read about this new feature her [synology.com].

  • They're a bit expensive and I wish the documentation was better, but I've had some luck with the Synology products. They've got a lot of plug-in software modules, including an Asterisk PBM for VoIP, Cloud Station for folder synchronization, etc.

    Make sure that you look at the specifications, if you're wanting encrypted tunnels or encrypted data on the drives, ensure that you buy one with the AES encryption set in hardware.

    One more thing: I have had very poor luck with the Seagate drives I originally bought a

    • by drachen (49779)

      We also have a Synology. I host a DS1512+ at my place and have 50/25 internet. There are smartphone apps, you can run your own dropbox-like cloud sync, host your own photos... pretty much everything OP wants to do. I have 3 WD Red 3TB drives in RAID5. (Already had one disk die, overnighted a new one, the array rebuilt with no problem and I had full usability of the system the entire time. The replacement drive is now a hot spare.)

      We use plex very heavily on it, and it works well. All our HTPC boxes are plug

  • Many solutions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tynin (634655) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:34PM (#46197591)
    I think I would have each family member that wants to be part of this shared drive do something like:
    - each of you buy the biggest HDD available
    - setup a ssh tunnel in the form of a circle between each family member, where Alice connects to Bob, Bob connects to Charlie, and Charlie connects to Alice.
    - each family member then rsync's to the next family member over, where they would do a full rsync of the shared disk, but do an rsync --delete on directories that belong to themselves, so if they delete / move files around, it makes the needed corrections on other family members shared disks without wasting space.

    If you are running Windows, you can setup a scheduled task to at a time in the middle of the night to launch cygwin, open the ssh tunnel, and rsync away. If it is linux, setup a crontab. Initial coordination would need to be done to get everything right, but then it would be very automatable.

    I do not suggest trying to setup a distributed filesystem across the internet. There are many pitfalls. Whereas this solution, your only concern is, 1) is ssh up? 2) did rsync run? 3) is the disk full?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Compunexus (711717)
      Well that works if each house has a Geek. I have reduced the number of "please help" calls I get since I started getting them to use Bittorrent Sync. It works on almost any platform, does multi-way sync, and is as private as you want it. The caveat I found is that if one person deletes something it gets deleted on all. However, there is a settings file for each sync share that can alter that in a variety of ways. The only limit is the amount of storage that is dedicated to the share. Since everyone has a lo
  • File Transporter (Score:3, Informative)

    by Greasy Spoon (2317) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:36PM (#46197607) Homepage

    Been looking for the same thing for a while. Finally settled on File Transporter. http://www.filetransporter.com... [filetransporter.com] Now owned by Drobo.

  • by passionplay (607862) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:37PM (#46197615)

    Clients for every platform. Server distributions for every platform. Mobile clients too. Runs on HTTPS.

    1. 1. Download the community edition from any of the repositories found on https://owncloud.org/ [owncloud.org]
    2. 2. Install using wizard - if you pick SQLite as the database, there is nothing to install for the database - configure to force SSL connections
    3. 3. Setup your router to forward 443 to the box you've set up
    4. 4. Setup a dyndns or similar IP address (or your own domain name) to said IP address.
    5. 5. Install client (desktop or mobile) and start accessing using https://yourserver-or-ip-addre... [yourserver-or-ip-address] as the URL

    I've set up something similar for my family - love it. I've also set up something simliar for our enterprise. No complaints about the regular feature set. Just some of the enterprise level things could do with a little more work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    BitTorrent Sync http://getsync.com/

    Your description seems to be the perfect use case for BTSync

    • Definitely agree here. It's cross-platform and I've put it in place for various use-cases and it hums along nicely, efficiently and effectively. As there's a Linux client it'll also run on a NAS box. No need to hand your data out to a third party nor have any dedicated hardware.

    • But does BTsync have encrypted storage? I think they don't have that ready yet. That's key for me.
      • by Bengie (1121981)
        According to their page, in order to access someone else's folder, you must have a "secret". The owner of a folder can generate read+write or read-only secrets, but other's folders are non-readable by default. Or so it looks. Haven't used it.
      • by Ricardo (43461)

        In BitTorrent Sync,
        Having used it a bit (not too much),
        just syncing a few directories with friends
        and testing it out with a swarm of "Very Small" Azure 2008 nodes, which was a bunch of fun to stand up 10 (at $0.02 per hour each) of them and immediately have my own personal akaimai cloud.

        It does not encrypt at the file level, but it would be easy to either;
        A) for most security create a Trucrypt volume single file (assuming its not mounted) which could be replicated across the BTSync members

        B) Mount a Volume

  • Simple NAS boxes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Our family uses simple NAS boxes (Dlink DNS-323, etc.). We put Debian on them and all the boxes use rsync over ssh in the middle of the night to synchronize the data. Pretty much every "family site" has one. They are also useful for private local storage, shared folders, etc. Everyone knows that any file they put in the "backup" folder will be looked after, everything else is just local. Been working okay for 2 years now. Note - this is not RAID, just distributed backups. Way cheaper than commercial offerin

  • Git Annex Assistant (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is exactly what this product has been designed for.

    Joey Hess does a great job.

    http://git-annex.branchable.com/design/assistant/

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Not really a good option for Windows. I use Unison to go between Windows and one other box, and then sync the other box with the rest of the "cloud". That works all right for me because I only have one Windows box, but it could get ugly with multiple Windows machines.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Red Matrix. Install your own hub or use a public one. https://libertypod.com

  • by aix tom (902140) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @02:45PM (#46197669)

    Online Storage for Families would be great.

    A place where you can store the kids in the cloud while you go on holiday. Or something where you can permanently dump the in-laws without hating to store them at home where they take up valuable space. Something that puts them in deep hibernation would be nice, so that the food cost don't run rampant.

  • You can buy one or more Synology NAS and sync your files with all devices. Even access them on the go, from mobile/tablet. http://www.synology.com/en-glo... [synology.com] The cost is quite small, you reuse what HDDs you have sitting around, and you only need to do parameterization.
  • bittorrent sync seems to answer your problem. distributed, secure, free, etc.

    everybody shares a folder, everybody's got a copy of it

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:02PM (#46197769)

    VoIP, Security Cameras, HTPC, Home Automation?

    I don't see these as services that should be moved outside your home. VoIP is going to be dependent on a third-party provider to start with. Security cameras are going to need to record to a in-home location due to data amounts, and putting home automation control outside your home sounds like a security risk.

    In the end this still sounds like a case of wanting to share files, pictures, and video really, so you'd want the storage to be off-site. You could have your own server put up at a shared data center if you want to own the hardware, but you could get a VPS account and then tweak it as you want instead. If you do the colo solution you do have the bonus of shipping the hardware around the country for the initial (looong) backup before it's installed.

    • by StonyCreekBare (540804) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:22PM (#46198615)
      The idea is to place a box with a few TB of storage in each home. Link all those TB together into mirrored and replicated virtual drive structure, for sharing all the "stuff" we have. Also each home would have a "private" space that is still replicated and distributed, but visible only to that household. Additional services? Not really, but if the box is there running, anything that could be layered on top might be nice additions. A Skype style "intercom" could be useful too. Just noodling additional ideas beyond the basic backup and share of family data. Yeah, Skydrive and Skype do most all this.
      • by xaxa (988988)

        There have been lots of ideas for software, but none for hardware.

        Last year I bought an Odroid U2, which is roughly a smartphone board with ethernet and USB. The power consumption is minimal -- 0.2W idle, 2W under load. Mine is running Debian, but Ubuntu and Android are also officially supported. I have a 1TB external drive connected. This has been running my website, and a family photo gallery, without any problems.

        Last month I bought an Odroid U3 [hardkernel.com], which will be in my house. As well as the server stuf

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm already using it to share family photos back and forth with my sister, brother, and octogenarian grandparents.

    Works flawlessly and transparently, has no space limits, and requires no user training beyond setting up a folder.

    I'm also using it at an art gallery I volunteer for to sync files between machines at the office and several board members, which allows both collaboration and provides us an automatic file backup.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    BitTorrent Sync is an easy to use free file-syncing program.

    http://www.bittorrent.com/sync/get-started

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <`voyager529' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:10PM (#46197815)

    Everyone's fairly tech savvy, right?

    1.) Figure out a folder structure that makes sure that everyone's data will be put somewhere and won't accidentally be overwritten by someone else's.
    2.) Install BitTorrent Sync on something with a hard drive to hold it. Windows box with a USB hard drive? There's a client. OSX? Client. Ubuntu box? Client. DIY FreeNAS with a RAID-1 in a small case? There's a client. Synology or QNAP box? There's a client, albeit with a little command shell necessary. Hell, those $199 Western Digital Personal Cloud drives can run it.
    3.) Create those folders on everyone else's machine, e-mailing around the BT Sync folder keys.
    4.) Wait for replication of everyone else's data to your drive, and vice versa - everyone will help everyone else get a copy of the data they don't have.
    5.) Profit.

    Literally every question answered:
    How would you go about implementing such a family-oriented, distributed cloud platform?
    See above.

    What hardware?
    Whatever hardware you have lying around, as long as it has the storage capacity you're looking for, and can permanently stay on. A few suggestions are above, but I'm a bit of a FreeNAS guy myself, especially since you can build a half-decent one with a 2TB RAID-1 for about $400 these days. The WD Cloud Drives are about the cheapest and self-contained route to go, so they may be worth considering if you need more than 3 or 4 of them.

    What applications, beyond simply the preservation and sharing of family data, (grandkids' photos, home videos, and more) would be good to leverage such a platform? Security Cameras? HTPC? VoIP? Home Automation?
    Well this is the rather perplexing part, because on the one hand you're asking for decentralized storage, and then you ask why you'd use it (VoIP + decentralized storage?!? wtf??). If you need decentralized storage, one should safely be able to assume that that there's already a reason. Having said that, photos would be my first use case, with disaster recovery being the second - Acronis True Image supports backup to FTP/SMB locations, so as long as you can back up to one of them that way, the rest will distribute.

    Primary requirements are Cheap, Secure, Reliable."
    Cheap? BT Sync is free; you'd need storage regardless. There's 10,001 topics on Slashdot where "the most reliable form of storage" comes up. "How much do you want to spend" is inherently the question, and "Cheap" indicates "not much"...it also doesn't answer exactly how much storage you'll need. Are you undertaking a massive photo album archiving project, or capturing the last 20 years of home videos? a 2TB drive just might cut it, or not. Are you backing up everyone's laptops? 6TB, MAYBE, and single-drive solutions won't cover it anymore...but are you prepared to start forking over $600 a box, along with a weekend of your time (at least) to the cause? Are you doing a roll-your-own Netflix where everyone will add their own CD/DVD rips to the units and then let Plex Media Server work its magic?

    Okay, so I lied...one of the underlying questions have been answered: how to get files to the geographically disparate places in the easiest way possible. BT Sync, at the low, low cost of 'free', resolves this. The questions regarding hardware, and how much storage you will need, and what protocols it will need to support, are wholly dependent on how much data will, in total, have to sit on each device. Answer that question, along with the follow-up of "how safe do you really, REALLY need to be?"and then you can start figuring out numbers to go along with it.

    • by emag (4640)

      Heh, funny, this is exactly what I'm in the process of doing. Hell, if I can convince my cheapskate friends to pick up NASes, I'd start syncing with them too, especially the friends on the other side of the country from me, for the geographical separation.

    • by itzdandy (183397)

      I'm using btsync as well. I have about 20 sites with various synced folders. I have two primary nodes at my office and at my home that have all folders synced, they are essentially where I create all folders. People each get their own folders (actually zfs volumes). I run ubuntu w/ zfs and dedup the storage pool.

      When I create a small NAS, I use a refurb computer with ubuntu, zfs even for a single disk (for compression, dedup, snapshots), and samba to share the files at the site.

      I use apache w/ webdav an

  • by Archfeld (6757) *

    WD has a really cool NAS device, if your audience has a bit of tech knowledge it should be easy to get one or even 2 of the devices (backup is great) send them to 2 of your family in geographically diverse locations and presto, private cloud storage for you and the family.
    Cnet has a review posted here
    http://www.cnet.com/network-st... [cnet.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously. Dropbox is dead simple, which is good for non-savvy family. It just works, handling all the dirty work for you. No tunnels, rsync, no crap like that. The weakest point of Dropbox in my opinion is that any person can delete a file. But Dropbox keeps backups, and you can keep backups yourself of course. It costs money, but in the grand scheme when you consider what you'd have to buy to do it yourself, along with the time it will take, then Dropbox doesn't look all that expensive to me. I pay

  • This may not be the cheapest solution, but it's what I'm planning to do...

    • Everyone acquires a NAS device (Drobo, Synology, etc) of an appropriate capacity, ideally something that can handle several TB and is expandable.
    • Fill up with 4TB drives.
    • Install BitTorrent Sync [bittorrent.com], and share out a portion of the NAS.

    You can install the client on your desktop, mobile, linux, and freebsd [bittorrent.com] devices, too (you'll want a supported NAS [bittorrent.com], so something linux-based or FreeNAS or such, unfortunately nothing MIPS-based.

    I'm primarily pla

  • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:03PM (#46198159) Homepage

    I've been reading Slashdot since 2000, so going on 14 years now. But I'll be stopping next week in support of the boycott, and maybe after that, if the interface catastrophe called "Beta" goes live.

    See you on Usenet at comp.misc where old school commenting is happening: no mods, no karma, no whitespace, and no advertising. Just a lot of old geeks with killfiles and a keyboard.

    Uck fay Eta bay!

    • I miss Usenet. Yes, the many of the groups got overrun with spam, and I'm not talking the binaries, but I really like the decentralized nature of it. But really, with a good reader, of your own choosing, you could just rip through discussions or participate. How it looked to you was your own doing. Some of the web forums these days are just painfull if you're trying to skim lots of messages. I really like slrn. Oh well.

    • by unitron (5733)

      Allow me to invite you to The Individual Midnight Thread [slashdot.org]

  • by nurb432 (527695)

    Just setup your own stuff at home and vpn there. Its yours, its secure and as cheap as you like.

  • You can see it here: http://smartos.org/

    This OS allows for ZFS+DTrace+Zones+KVM

    In the regards to the original poster, I would use this since the ZFS file system would protect against silent data corruption. And (Zones/KVM) would allow for Virtual Machines to be used as part of the cloud.

    I'm actually thing of using this for my dad's photo collection.

  • AeroFS is like Dropbox without the middleman; they control only credentials, but your content never touches their servers. It's free for up to three users, and $10/month per additional user.
  • BitTorrent Sync allows you to sync (2-ways) or backup (1-way) folders to PCs and devices (Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android) over the Internet. I'm using it to do backups for my family...
    It doesn't encrypt by itself, but each OS has that option natively, and you can sync an already-encrypted (at the source) folder.

    Setup is very easy: source adds the folder in BT Sync, generates a 1- or 2-way key, sends that over to the destination via email, sms, ...; destination creates a folder in the OS, than adds that

  • missed the part about the hardware...

    I'd go with a full-on PC, because it's only marginally more expensive than a NAS, and it doesn't suffer from a NAS's limitations and bugs, though it does require a bit more setup, especially because given the price of Windows licenses, you should probably go Linux.

    You can find Atom motherboards with 4xSATA for $70. Add an enclosure, PSU, RAM, you're at $150 (HP sometimes have good deals on their ProLiant MicroServer). Then you need disks: add up all your data, multiply i

  • Having a setup with a number of Windows PCs (some family members cannot live without it due to DOCX files from school/work) as well as a number of Linux PCs and servers in three locations in two countries, I have set up a number of scripts to handle backups between the locations.

    The PCs (i.e. laptop/desktop computers) have an icon for backing up to a remote server. This is done on demand via rsync started from scripts (bash or BAT files) to one of the three servers. The servers replicate internally to eac
    • Owncloud Sync does not require the backup. It's just "done" in their own workspace which they can choose to share with family.
  • There's this program called bitsync: http://getsync.com/ [getsync.com] which you each have a client on your computers. Share hashes with each other, and you get a distributed, synced in real time copy on each client running the software. It's free, secure, and no servers required. You each have a copy locally, and any modifications are replicated to each client.

  • Get yourself a Raspberry Pi Model B and a case ($50). Add-on a 128 GB USB thumbdrive or a hub + SSD if you need more space. Now install OpenVPN, SSH + SFTP, and Unison. Signup for a DDNS service (e.g. No-IP) - you can try it for free or pay $$ to lose the monthly reminders.

    You now have the following capabilities:
    1. Secure VPN from any public hotspot - conduct your transactions safely and securely.
    2. Secure "cloud" access via SFTP - your files are stored behind two layers of encryption if you use RSA keys f
  • Check tresorit tresorit.com, dead simple as dropbox, files are encrypted and key is not known by the operator nor NSA, supports groups and other interesting stuff related rights and sharing, backend is some cloud storage.

  • Owncloud isn't really distributed. I would recommend aerofs and/or btsync.
  • the easiest cheapest way is just to get large usb drives, hook them to a computer with an operating system you already understand and mirror the drives. Since you all live in different areas the chance of all the drives failing simultaneously is pretty slim.
  • It's not __quite__ there yet (needs a bit more time to get fully stable on Windows), but Git Annex is designed for this job and if you use direct mode it works wonderfully well. It automatically moves binaries around between repositories and because it's Git based you can get any file that was stored in the repository, at any time.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington

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