My Cloud

For some time it had been bothering me, how data uploaded in the Microsoft or Google cloud, is apparently the playground for both the providers and NSA and the likes. I have a profound belief that my data, is my data. The Snowden story was the beginning and the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook uncoverings might have been the last push I needed. Because Mark Zuckerberg is not endlessly apologising because he is sorry. He is sorry because he got caught. I don't want to help tech giants getting richer by crawling my data.

So what were the challenges?

At the initial phase, I found out, that I had data scattered all over the place.

Files/data: Most of that I had located on OneDrive. Then I had stuff relevant for my phone on Google Drive. Work documents were on Dropbox.

Knowledge/Documentation: My notes were hosted on OneDrive by OneNote.

I then started pondering about what my own cloud could be, what I wanted to host for myself.

Phase 1: Planning

I started with testing self-hosted solutions to file syncing services. After some time, I found that Seafile suited my needs perfectly. After an initial test period of around a month, I found it extremely stable. Never once did I have to do maintenance.

Setup: Raspberry Pi 2, running Fedora with 2x500GB attached in a RAID1 configuration.

Phase 2: Upgrading

Seeing as I was starting to take more and more services from "free" providers, I thought I needed more professional equipment. I picked up an HPE Microserver Gen8 rather cheap. It is fitted with a Celeron G1610T and 4GB RAM. Since it obviously didn't come with drives, I thought I would pick up some WD Red drives to run in RAID. For the system, I chose the at the time brand new WD Green SSD 120GB.

The server has been upgraded since the beginning. I acquired 16GB of RAM, and a second-hand CPU to match the socket. In hind-sight I should have picked an Intel E-1220Lv2, but ended up with an Intel i5-2390T. It doesn't support ECC RAM, but it still runs very lovely.

Phase 3: Continual availability and add-ons

The setup ended up being a Windows 2012 R2 instalation, running a virtual machine via Hyper-V. The VM is an installation of YunoHost

Some might think: "Why are you running Windows Server?". The answer is quite simple in the end. Windows Server is supported by my RAID controller, and it allows more flexibility in hosting. I now have a platform that allows me to host on Windows and Linux, and if that is not enough, I can just create a new VM.

So now, when me and my friends find another silly game we can play, I can host it.

Phase 4: Acceptance

After running into one issue after another with linux partitions being created by themselves and not in root, I ditched the idea and opted to buy a new Synology NAS. It suits my needs. It supports:

  • File syncronisation
  • Note taking
  • Calendar

All of those services are supported in 1. party services, and has never failed me on my old DS213j. I ended buying a DS918+ and upgraded the RAM just in case I wanted to add a virtual machine... at least, just for the fun of it.

My data, not yours.

There is no cloud (Source: Free Software Foundation Europe)

The Guardian: Richard Stallman on the Cloud