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Cloud Data Storage Hardware Linux

Ask Slashdot: Linux Mountable Storage Pool For All the Cloud Systems? 165

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-raid-to-bind-them-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Many cloud systems are available on the market like: dropbox, google, sugar sync, or your local internet provider, that offer some free gigabytes of storage. Is there anything out there which can combine the storage into one usable folder (preferably linux mountable) and encrypt the data stored in the cloud? The basic idea would be to create one file per cloud used as a block device. Then combine all of them using a software raid (redundancy etc) with cryptFS on top. Have you heard of anything which can do that or what can be used to build upon?"
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Ask Slashdot: Linux Mountable Storage Pool For All the Cloud Systems?

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  • The first, and most interesting, is Tahoe LAFS [tahoe-lafs.org]. It does come with a FUSE driver [tahoe-lafs.org], so it can be mounted like a regular filesystem. It is cloud-based and redundant to a degree you choose yourself. All copies stored are encrypted, so the only person who can read them is you. I'm not sure though if fetching from more nodes than you strictly need to reconstruct your original file actually buys you anything with that system, but I think it does.

    You could also use something like a mountable version of Google Drive and then layer fuse-encfs [arg0.net] on top of it. That's not quite as secure as encrypting at the block layer. The overall shape of your directory hierarchy is available, even if the individual file names and their contents are obscured. That should probably be good enough for most purposes.

  • GlusterFS (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @06:23PM (#42577243)

    It has optional encrypted transport if you use the native (fuse) mount. Encryption on the back end is on the road map for a future release. It's available for Linux, there's a NetBSD port, and has had working Solaris and OS X support in the past, it probably wouldn't be too hard to make those work again.

  • spideroak (Score:4, Informative)

    by characterZer0 (138196) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @06:36PM (#42577329)

    Spideroak (http://www.spideroak.com) does what you want. It encryptes data on your machine before sending it to the cloud.

  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @06:42PM (#42577365)

    preferably linux mountable

    You'll find a userspace script solution to be infinitely simpler. A script that clones such and such directory onto such and such other directory while encrypting is simple, another script to clone that encrypted directory into some other directory (basically just rsync). Run it periodically outta crontab, etc.

    90% your effort will be expended on error detection / correction / reporting, 9% of your effort on key management for the encryption and keeping the individual services up and running, and probably about 1% on the actual nuts and bolts of copying stuff around while possibly encrypting.

    There are more failure modes than you'd think... consider giant files, for example, which don't fit. Or running it outta crontab and somehow having two copies running simultaneously. Or your scratch directory is on a device that suddenly got remounted RO instead of RW due to developing hardware issues.

    Bidirectional sync is ambitious but possible. You'll burn a seemingly infinite amount of bandwidth trying it (think about the next quote for a second)

    The basic idea would be to create one file per cloud used as a block device

    Thankfully you're just mirroring instead of requesting some kind of raid-5 like technology. Also you're just dumping "a big ole backup file" rather than individual files.

  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (eilrigyag)> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:22PM (#42577903) Homepage

    OK, just fess up - it's your pr0n collection, right? 1TB of images at a gargantuan 20MB apiece is over 50000 images; at a more reasonable 5MB that increases to 200k+. "Hobby photographer" my foot.

    You've clearly never heard of RAW-images. 20MB RAW-image is actually still on the smaller end of the scale.

  • by WalrusSlayer (883300) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:25PM (#42578797)
    Uh, methinks you haven't really used tool chains designed to maximize the value of RAW files. The camera's built-in processor does way the hell more stuff than just compress raw pixels into JPEG. White balance is a huge one, along with level curves, sharpening, and a bunch of other stuff. Much of it either one-way or very hard to unwind. And as others have pointed out, most RAW *is* compressed, just lossless.

    So yeah, you can fix white-balance in a JPEG, but it's way simpler and more accurate to set the white balance if the pixels haven't already been misbalanced in the first place. Ditto for exposure. Most tools that deal with processed JPEG's don't even have an exposure adjustment---quite often the same tool that does both file types will have an exposure slide if it's RAW but not if it's JPEG. Sure, you can futz with brightness, contrast, levels, gamma, etc to correct an under-exposed shot. But sliding over to +2/3 for a slight underexposure is one click and you're done.

    As a guy who has deep-drilled many a software engineering discipline in his 25 year career, and shot tens of thousands of frames as an amateur enthusiast, you can pull me out of the "photographers who don't understand the tools" pool thank you very much.

    I have gone back and forth between JPEG and RAW over the years. There have been periods where, with two small children, I simply didn't have time to invest in RAW processing. And I was pleased the neutrality of the DSLR's processing anyway. Other times I knew I was shooting in challenging conditions, and set the camera to RAW+JPEG as a safety net. I've rescued many a shot that way. Recently I've been putting mileage on Lightroom and can extract an immense improvement out of the RAW's that would take me 4x the time to do if they were JPEG, and probably not end up with the same result. I now have more time to invest and the payoff is real and significant.
  • OwnCloud? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RanceJustice (2028040) on Monday January 14, 2013 @12:17AM (#42579025)

    I too have been looking for a solution for "denyable-they-don't-have-the-encryption-key" secure, remote storage, back ups and the like. Platform independent and standards compliance is important; I don't want to get locked into a proprietary ecosystem Its even better if there's a nice GUI and usability that doesn't require guru-level knowledge to access, and pricing isn't insane. Thus far I've found a handful of tools that seem to be the best of their breeds - CrashPlan for instance allows encrypted, secure multi-site backups (your own PCs, friends PCs, their servers), unlimited bandwidth/storage space etc... but it is only meant for backups, not sharing or accessing the data frequently. SpiderOak is a fantastic Dropbox alternative, Linux-friendly (both GUI and CLI for those interested) and seems to be amongst the best of the "Cloud (tm)/ Dropbox" type file-hosting/sharing services. However, as the OP specifically notes that they are looking for a unified solution to bring most or all of those remote hosted/"Cloud" stuff under a single mantle, there seems to be one project that has that goal in mind - OwnCloud

    I've been watching OwnCloud (www.owncloud.org) since I heard of it, happy to see an open-source, standards-compliant, "installable on your own hardware as well as rented hosting etc.." universal, modular data storage/sync operation that can be totally under your own control. It has a ton of features, but most notable in this case is exactly what the OP wants: the ability to mount your Google Drive or Dropbox share and have your OwnCloud install interact with them. It looks to be a really promising project and I really hope that a lot of coding gurus join and take notice; if my skill was sufficient, I'd be looking to contribute. It is a relatively new platform and I am sure it will have some growing pains (ie. I do not know if it supports ALL "cloud drive" shares, for instance SpiderOak...), but it supports everything from a built in media player, Card/CalDAV, backups, LDAP, and seems to have amazing potential. I am told that Version 5.0 will be the next big leap forward in terms of polish. Check it out and those that can contribute, please do so. It seems the best option to have user-friendly, open source, secure "cloud" services without bolstering hegemony aspirations by Google, Microsoft, and many others.

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaPERIODhoo.com minus punct> on Monday January 14, 2013 @01:26AM (#42579409)

    > Easy to throw a web interface? I had installed Apache and looked at the kilometer long configuration file and was horrified. I

    That's much like whining about the size of a Windows application's registry hive.

    You must also be frightened by any fully featured modern video transcoder.

    No, there's a smidge of difference.

    The overwhelming majority of Windows applications can be configured using a series of dialog boxes, typically either in the "tools->options" or "edit->preferences" menu. These applications may incidentally store the results of those dialog boxes in a registry hive (or in an ini file in the %appdata% folder or similar), but it's infrequently the only way to make such changes. With Apache, they don't give you a tabbed, categorized dialog box in which to manipulate the options. Similarly, someone who "installed Apache...and was horrified" is probably not well-versed in working with HTTP server software, and thus, editing the Apache config file is going to be a mountain of guesswork as to what you'd really want in the first place. On top of that, there's the "you can usually fidget around to get Apache to do what you want it to do, but be really really careful because the easiest way to get it to work is also usually the most hackable, so if it works right with your instinct, you'll probably have to go back and change it later once you do end up getting it to work".

    As for video transcoding, unless you're a masochist who prefers using FFMpeg on a command line instead of the myriad GUI options, video transcoding CAN be as easy as "choose your source video, pick the general format you want it to end up in or the type of device you want it to go on, and click 'transcode'". In those cases, most of the advanced options are optional, and the defaults are generally close to what you want unless you know specifically that you need a particular non-default option somewhere. This is different than trying to get a web server up and running, especially since there's no security consideration to the video transcode.

  • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Monday January 14, 2013 @05:06AM (#42580147)

    1) For a reasonably well-exposed photo where the white balance is roughly correct in the camera, are you able to produce a significantly better end result from RAW than from JPEG? (I definitely agree on using RAW+JPEG when you know exposure could be a problem)

    Short answer : No
    Longer answer : It depends on the light, the sensor, the image processor in camera and your RAW workflow.
    From personal experience, I'd say that Canon JPGs are pretty good out of camera, Nikon JPGs lack a bit of sharpening, and Fuji X sensors have very good JPGs that are still impossible to match with RAW+Lightroom.
    I use RAW as a safety net during events or weddings, so that if I get a picture with good expression, focus and composition but wrong exposure or WB, I can still save it and print it instead of having to delete it.
    RAW is also interesting for scenes with high dynamic range, such as landscapes or concert.

    Do you have any rough idea about the bit depth the RAW photos need to be at before you get a significant advantage over JPEG? My old camera produced 10 bit RAWs, and at that time I was almost never able to out-perform the JPEG. My new camera has 12 bit RAW, and I haven't really had much time recently (small children here as well) to play around with RAW. But maybe it would be worth it?

    I think it has more to do with dynamic range than with bit-depth. Just find a contrasty scene, take a RAW picture and try to retain details in both shadows and highlights with your RAW conversion software.
    http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glossary/Digital_Imaging/dynamic_range_01.htm [dpreview.com]
    http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glossary/Digital_Imaging/tonal_range_01.htm [dpreview.com]

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