Nextcloud introduces Virtual Drive in Desktop Client to simplify desktop integration

Strangly i got some really bad performance with the virtual drive of Mountain duck.
Even in local network.
So either it was the first release of Mountain duck so it needed more work on it, or my nextcloud wasn’t optimised for that

If it’s really available for multi-account, ten would be nice have as separate disk mounted.

whats the updates on it , any new releases coming soon ?>

No still in delayed mode.
No news for the moment.

So, is there a test version for Mac as of now, or Windows only?

Is the Virtual Drive implemented as an App, as an update to the Desktop Client, or as a full install of a new version of Nextcloud?

Just a windows client software for the moment.
You need to install the test version and uninstall the stable one.
But don’t go inside, it’s not in active development for the moment.

Since I was searching for an alternative to this (since virtual drive seems to be stuck a little bit here on nextcloud side) I found a good working alternative for me I wanted to share: https://www.airlivedrive.com/en/
The free version is limited to 1 drive per cloud and 3 clouds in total, but for personal use I find this is good enough. And it works, already seen files are cached (you can define the max cache size). But seems to be windows only.

I’m a bit worried. Been relying on the desktop client for my small business for 5 years now.

I use the files on the cloud on my home pc and my business laptop. I hardly use the web interface for the files part as I use MS Office for all the documents.

Besides the syncing feature, I rely on the fact that if my cloud messed up, I have copies on the pc AND the laptop so business wouldnt be affected whilst the server is down.

I think the virtual drive is good idea but it must be ADDED to the current features, not replacing the syncing thing. Unless we got the option to have the full account as available offline but isn’t that just then complicating the current way.

If you go to the virtual drive option as a replacement, it would be nice to keep the last stable desktop version going to work with all nextcloud versions so we have the option which client to use.

Just my view.

3 Likes

It seems there is still so much confusion about the virtual drive.
You totally have the choice there.

The only difference the new client (=the new virtual drive) makes: you see the complete folder structure on your devices and not only a few selected folder/ files.
So (I believe) the only downside with that virtual drive is, that you can’t have a “tidy” NC folder on your client with only the few important files/ folders that matter to you on the client device; you just see all files.

Now regarding your requirement to have a few files offline available on all your devices: you can still have that. I’ll try to illustrate that, so imagine you have your virtual drive and see three folders there:

V:
|-- unimportant_stuff
|
|-- unimportant_stuff2
|
|-- very_important_folder

By default you will see these folders (just like the files in there) as only online available, meaning the files will be downloaded from the server and cached on your client device only for the time you are viewing/ editing the files. When you close the files, the cached files on your device will be removed (maybe not immediately but with next restart probably; don’t know).
That way you save a lot of disk space and you don’t need to open the browser to access your files. Just navigate through the (hard disk) drives on your system with the file explorer like you would with locally stored files.

Now for your specific use case with important folders, which you want to store on all your devices as well:
You right-click all these important folders (and files) and select “available offline”. Within the next few seconds the new NC client will download all these folders and files and actually really store them on your hard disk (the folder/ files on your virtual disk are then some kind of softlinks to the actual data on your hard disk).

V:
|-- unimportant_stuff
|
|-- unimportant_stuff2
|
|-- very_important_folder :white_check_mark:

The folder is visually marked so that you can see, this folder actually exists on your device for offline availability. Doing the same on all your other devices (just like setting up the old client), will leave you with pretty much the same result as before.
If you lose the internet connection: no problem; offline available.
Server hard disk died: no problem; offline available (and you have a backup, right?! :wink: )

Summarizing: the new virtual drive is already only an addition to the already available sync feature. It is only a different approach to make files available and browseable for you; actually easier.

I hope this explains a bit.

1 Like

There is just a little thing that worried everyone is that @jospoortvliet talk about : removing the old sync methode to keep only the virtual drive one. That is a bad idea in the opinion of a lot of people who wrote on this topic.

For the moment the virtual drive isn’t ready at all so the question is postponed. But i hope Nextcloud will listens their users.

5 Likes

I get it, that some users have their reasons to prefer the old client. It just seems that the majority of concerned users understands the new virtual drive as not capable of providing offline files as the old sync client did. And this fear is unfounded.

There are very good points/ ideas to take into considerations when developing the new client though. Like the folder/ disk where “offline available” files are actually stored. This needs to be configurable.
Users who don’t want to see all “only online available” files, should have a button to hide them (and see offline available files only).

But I think if these valid suggestions for improvements are integrated into the client (and it is still in development), it is a complete replacement for the old client anyway and (I hope I didn’t forget anything) is missing not a bit of the old client’s features.

What we have to remind ourselves: resources are limited. Already for the current desktop client developers are missing. How can there be enough resources to develop and improve two clients?
Being open-source, I think everybody who really needs the old client’s development to continue can start working on it :slight_smile: With only one or two developers I can understand that NC devs need to make a decision.
I hope you understand what I mean. :slight_smile: (english is not my mother tongue unfortunately.)

2 Likes

I hope they will make the development transparent and give out test versions early enough to be able to react to feedback from the community. For those who can and are interested, there is the Nextcloud conference next month in Berlin, it’s a good way to get in touch with the Nextcloud team and community, you see current status of NC and future plans.

3 Likes

Any update on when we get a Mac version?

I was recently sold on the idea of hosting my own cloud stuff at home - I already have a home server, just needed to add a VM and Cloudron to it. The promise was that Nextcloud had “files on demand” parity with OneDrive, which is why I switched from Dropbox (which doesn’t support files on demand) to OneDrive (which does). I have a few hundred thousand files, a bit over 500 GB, in OneDrive… lots of accumulated clutter and crap.

And absolutely NO intention of syncing it all to all my PCs all the time.
Nor would I want to lose access to it by deselecting whole folders for visibility/access in the client. (what’s the point of even storing the files, then?)

This “virtual drive” feature is absolutely essential. I downloaded the preview build that has the feature, set it up, and it promptly just crashes - new install, blank server. I see the X: drive there, and my (default) files are in there, but if I open the “Nextcloud.mp4” file, the Nextcloud app just blinks out of the taskbar, disappears, and leaves me with a “the directory name is invalid” error message.

Not off to a great start. If I could vote for a feature, I’d put this at the very top of the list - to get it right (preferably using Windows and Mac’s native “cloud file” infrastructure like OneDrive does, not add-on software like Dokan).

further crash details: I have “2.5.0techpreview (build 20190128)”, installed over (by uninstalling) the current release version. It would start up with a “pause” icon, no way to unpause it (???). I cleared the %appdata%\Nextcloud folder, and it asked me to sign-in again (so I did, yay). Now it’s just stuck at “waiting to start syncing”. Oof.

You can’t for the moment install the virtual drive test for nextcloud. Read some answer more upper to see why.

You can download the OwnCloud client and use the virtual drive. It’s beta but you can try it.

There are now 120 replies in this thread. I’ve tried scrolling around and reading, but it’s a lot of noise of “wahh I don’t understand how this concept works and I’m scared” and “but MaH FiLeS”, not any actual conversation about the preview build. Some maintenance by OP on the first post would be welcomed.

Looking at OwnCloud, it looks just as bad - a wishy washy “here’s something we cobbled together” virtual file system client. I mean, OneDrive has its ups and downs, but it’s extremely reliable (it does a hash check & server-side validation before removing any local files, and it only removes local files if I tell it to), and for $10/mo, I’m probably better off, for my sanity, just keeping that.

Maybe Nextcloud will have this feature ironed out next year and I can try again :wink:

Stay tuned because after the nextcloud conf we will have some news.
I’m confident that the virtual drive will have some delay/postpone but it will be out for Christmas 2019 i think.

3 Likes

So I have read through the comments here and I explicitely state that I do understand the concept of the virtual drive and the option to force files as offline available in the cache.

Like many others here, I’m very skeptical about the idea of completely replacing folder sync with virtual drives. For me, I really appreciate the existence of a physical copy in the correct directory structure placed on the local hard disk. I can do anything with this directory I can also do with normal directories (because that’s what it is). A few examples:

Even in the case of computer emergencies (e.g. linux single user mode), I’d be able to access the files and copy them to a different device, if needed. I just can’t do that with virtual drives and I loose a lot of flexibility.

I can easily move this directory easily to a different partition in case I run out of disk space.

I can easily spread different synced directories across different local hard disks, just using native file system operations.

4 Likes

If you have tested prereleases and found problems, report them to the developers, there is even a label for the virtual drive feature:

There is a timeline for features and versions as well, might be interesting once the development is getting more active and you want to follow up:

@ings I’ve worked with Virtual Drive systems before, and you can replicate what you already have by just “pinning” or “making available offline” your root folder. The Virtual Drive feature is nice if you have Terabytes of data and you only need a few parts locally. If you want everything local like you do now, just make everything “available offline” and it is the same thing as the old client.

@tflidd I tried the Virtual Drive preview for the first time. It errored during install and I wasn’t able to download any files afterwards. =(