Can I used NextCloud as a replacement for WorkFolders and Google Photos?

I’m trying to make the best use of my unRaid box and I’m wondering if NextCloud is able to do the following. With or without addons.

First and foremost, I’m looking to replace Google Photos and stop uploading my families’ photos and videos for Google to exploit. The thing I like the most is for the Photos app is to free up the space on the phone will still making it available to the device. If NextCloud can do this with that level of simplicity for the user; please explain how. I cannot figure it out.

The other thing I’m trying to find a solution for is a Microsoft WorkFolders style of functionality. WorkFolders allows an admin in a company to specify a network location for all of their user’s data. So that in the event that a user’s computer gives up the ghost, all of their data (documents, pictures, ect) is still there on network storage. This feature is applied via GPO.
It can also specify a certain amount of free space to be avail to the client for sync storage. And does all of this will making all of the user’s data appear as if it was on the local machine. No going to other folders or network locations. Just click on “Photos” from the quick access toolbar in explorer and boom, it’s all there. No end user training required.
How can I make NextCloud function like that? That would be awesome.

Other considerations. All of our pictures, videos and documents will be sharing the same “Directory” so that we don’t have to keep sending a document or telling where to find a photo or video. Really trying to get a WAF of 10/10 here. (Wife Approval Factor)

The windows client only appears to copy items over to the nextcloud folder. I have tried moving all of the (windows) user folder’s sub folders to the NextCloud Sync folder but this still consume disk space on the client device.

I am running the latest NextCloud Docker provided by LinuxServer and I’m using a MariaDB as my back-end. All hosted on the same unRaid Server.

Or is all of this just a pipe dream that I might have to figure out how to develop? I mean, I love rClone and all, i just don’t want to have to script everything to make it happen.

You have mobile clients for different operating systems which allow you to upload pictures/videos automatically to a folder on your cloud.

The desktop sync client can sync any or all of the folders to your local desktop client. Which means there is a local copy of the data on your local desktop computer. So you can work on documents even when you are offline (it will sync the files once there is a connection again). If your computer crashes, the local copy is destroyed but you still have the version on the server. However, you should have a good backup of your server. Since everything is synchronized, if you delete something by accident, it deletes it quickly through all the devices.

You upload videos and photos to a folder (specified by you). You can then share this folder with other users.

Yes, that’s the idea of a sync client. If you don’t want to use local space, you can directly mount a network drive via webdav. This is (in theory) already implemented in Windows, but to use it properly, it’s better to use a different software (netdrive and others, I mean to remember that earlier this year someone wrote about a free program, you might want to search a bit).

Jep desktop and mobile sync clients behave differently here:

  • Desktop clients keep a local copy, I don’t know a possibility to load them on demand there. For this, a webdav drive on Windows should work, as mentioned.
  • Mobile clients on the other hand do not keep local copies natively. You can mark favourites to keep them downloaded/available offline, but this needs to be done per file/dir. You can enable automated camera image uploads and for this can enable to automatically remove the local image on the mobile after upload is done. But it is no two-way sync client, like desktop clients. 2-way sync can however be achieved on mobile via 3rd party apps, e.g. FolderSync.

Nextcloud offers a group folders app which enables a shared folder for a certain user group. You can as admin configure precise permissions/quota for each user on each file/dir then to have the shared folder work as desired.