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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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  • LOCKSS (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:16PM (#46197435)

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

  • Reminder (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:20PM (#46197473)

    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.

  • File Transporter (Score:3, Informative)

    by Greasy Spoon (2317) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:36PM (#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.

  • Git Annex Assistant (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:43PM (#46197661)

    This is exactly what this product has been designed for.

    Joey Hess does a great job.

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @03:43PM (#46197663)

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

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:10PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:21PM (#46197893)

    Basically this is all Tim Lord's doing. Guess he didn't want to just ride herd on Commander Taco's creation, so he's out to make his mark. (http://www.businessinsider.com/check-out-the-sleek-redesign-of-news-for-nerds-site-slashdot-2013-10)
    This is from the /. sales pitch that Tim (timothy) Lord made up. (http://slashdotmedia.com/about-slashdot-media/slashdot-org/)
    Lots of funny stuff in the slashdotmedia site. I wonder what Tim means by "our network"? (http://slashdotmedia.com/about-slashdot-media/whos-on-our-network/)
    I beginning to think that the pushing force behind this new "beta" design is not as much Dice Holdings as it is Tim Lord.
    Look Tim, no one comes here for the articles. We can (and do) read them for ourselves from sources such as The Register, TechCrunch, Techdirt, cNet, BBC, NYT, The Independent and dozens of other trade and science journals at least a day or more before they get to /., No we come here for the discourse and that and that alone is what drives the millions of page hits to the site.
    Anything that detracts or interferes with that discourse will drive millions of people away. The people that participate in that discourse are not an "audience". They are the existence of the site.
    And, oh, Just remember that the people who do drive this discourse pretty much built the Personal Computer business and the Internet and wrote the software that runs them. Do you really want to piss off so many people who have so much power?

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:56PM (#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.

  • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:03PM (#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!

  • Re:Skydrive (Score:4, Informative)

    by StonyCreekBare (540804) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @06:14PM (#46198583)
    Skydrive is currently the primary cloud service we are using. That is what we're considering an alternative from...
  • by StonyCreekBare (540804) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @06:22PM (#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.

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