I've managed to get NextcloudPi up and running, now I'm wondering if it's the right solution for me

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It may sound ridiculous, but I’m not sure nextcloud is the right solution for what I’m looking for. I apologize for what will seem like rudimentary questions, but I can’t really find the answers. I tinker, and can find my way around most of the time, but I’m stuck. I’ve set up multiple OSMC, and retropie boxes. I’m also working on a controller for my charcuterie chamber that is Pi based.

I’m running NextcloudPi with the latest version (downloaded yesterday) on a stock PiZero W without overclocking. I’ve got an official power supply. I’ve hooked up a 2TB WD drive to it.

I’ve been able to run the desktop client off my MBP, the web client and the app on my iPhone 6s.

A few, stupid-ish questions:

  1. Is there a way to use the desktop client so that I can store files remotely on the NCP and not have a duplicate on my HDD, i.e. cloud side only storage? The main reason I’m asking is that I’m looking to have cloud style access to files across multiple devices from anywhere without storing them locally. My wife’s macbook only has a 128gb drive and I would like her to be able to access things without storing them locally (i.e. all our family pictures). As far as I can tell, I’m not sure that can be done with NCP. If not, is there a good solution for something like that?

  2. Why is one-way syncing not possible on the desktop client, but it is possible on the iOS app?

  3. Is a Pi based NAS what I really need? If so, any good tutorials?

Not with the Nextcloud desktop client. You can directly mount webdav storage (native Linux support, native Windows is not very reliable you could use net drive, web drive or mountainduck, all are not free), or just cyberduck or winscp (no drive is mounted).

It not bidirectional in the mobile apps because of storage limitations on these devices. You could use other software to push files via webdav directly. Not sure how easy it would be to extend the desktop client to do that.

You only want to store data? Nextcloud is great if you not only want to use it as a storage, it is more interesting if you want to share data with others or sync other different devices. If it is just a large data storage on a local network, a simple NAS solution might be the better choice (FreeNAS, openmediavault).

Thanks!

The question I have about NAS though is whether or not I will be able to access it from anywhere on any device, or if I have to be on my local network. Is that possible with port forwarding?

It is. But it’s borderline suicidal to do so.
Consider a local VPN instead of port forwarding.

http://www.pivpn.io/

Thanks for your input! In this scenario, would I need to have two separate Pi boxes set up? One for PiVPN and one for a NAS?

Would it be possible to run them together on a single pi?

That wildly depends on your workload. In theory, absolutely.
In practice, I’d put that on a machine that has not to deal with 4k-video files being streamed.

Possibly one that has a processor with AES hardware acceleration as well.

Some routers have a feature to run a VPN server, so you don’t need an extra device.

The router would the best place to put your VPN. BUT.
Most of them do a crappy job of providing VPN as well.

Crypto is hard. 0-days happen fast. Most vendors don’t care what happens after you bought their fancy router doohickey. Chances are that your device uses an flawed implementation.

Best case? You get to use an VPN implementation that’s outdated.
Worst case? You’ll get autopwned by some automated botnet patrolling the Internet in search for new members.

Alternative firmware could be a solution (not available on all routers). For a single clients it’s probably enough, for more simultaneous clients, the performance is probably too bad.

1 Like

What’s the advantage to PiVPN over a commercially available VPN service, like Windscribe (which I have) other than cost?

You can use Lychee, and this Lychee Nextcloud storage script, to easily self-host the photos in an attractive web interface.

Is a Pi based NAS what I really need? If so, any good tutorials?

Your setup sounds limited in multiple ways… My .02

  • Pi Zero W is basically the slowest Pi available, so Pi 3 will perform much better.
  • Wifi is not very fast on the Pi Zero W, even for 1 user.
  • Wired connections are more dependable for an NAS
  • Pi has a shared bandwidth issue when connecting to the internet and running a USB hard drive
  • USB 2.0 is notably slower than USB 3.0 or SATA

I’d recommend just using an old tower computer for NextcloudPi and the photo hosting. It will much faster. At the very least, upgrade to a Pi 3.

You want to do the exact opposite of what your fancy schmanzy VPN provider does.
They “direct” traffic from your device over their network into the internet, thus hiding your IP or whatever.

What you want is to “direct” traffic from your device over the internet into your network.
So that the device can communicate with your NAS as if you were at home. Without NAT (a.k.a the reason why you need to forward ports) interfering. If that makes sense…

Think of the VPN (f.ex. PiVPN) as WiFi over the Internet. Which is also the reason why I did argue that you’ll probably want something that get’s updated regularly.

I also largerly agree with @just on his 2 cents.
RPi’s are not a good choice for storage. But we all have to start somewhere :wink: