Wednesday, January 15, 2020
A Personally Hosted Cloud File Solution
I understand that not everyone has the knowledge or equipment to host servers at home. But for those that do this is a great solution that I settled on after testing a few different ones.
Yes, you can get free or paid cloud file storage from DropBox, OneDrive, GoogleDrive, etc. But I often talk to people concerned that these solutions are holding your personal and important data files in exchange for some kind of loss of personal privacy. Well if you are concerned about that you can deploy your own personal cloud storage solution at home.
I used a VMWare appliance for OwnCloud personal edition. This is the free version of the product with fewer features than the Enterprise version that customers must buy or subscribe too.
The appliance is the easiest way to get ownCloud up and running and is best for non-technical users. It is built on UCS ("Univention Corporate Server") and is fully set up and configured with a secure connection and the ownCloud Proxy app. You can install this on VirtualBox or VMWare which are software virtualization platforms that run as an app on your PC or can be installed on a dedicated server like I have at home, you download their OVA file and load it up. Appliance installation instructions are provided in the documentation, it's not that difficult to install.
Once installed you have an Administrator account to login and start configuring the system. The appliance will store your data within as long as your host system has the room accommodate the growth of the virtual machine appliance, but I opted to configure External Storage as I have a Drobo device where most of my home data is already stored. By linking this network storage to the OwnCloud server I now have access to all the files I want to share via my personal cloud. You can and should be selective on what data you share in your personal cloud. I configured certain folders on the Drobo to be seen by ownCloud, but not all of my files and folders.
Keep in mind that one of the true benefits of cloud storage services like DropBox and the others is that your data is located in a cloud location offsite from your home. This can be an excellent backup solution.
If you are hosting your own cloud, you lose this offsite backup. Your data hasn't moved anywhere or been copied to somewhere else. This is just a private was of accessing your data from anywhere using the built-in website or the desktop client software for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. You still need to backup your data at home in some other method.