This post is somewhat different but it does show that some cloud services can be easily utilized for personal needs. I will show you my personal home network setup, how I utilize Synology storage and what else can be done with little bit of time and effort.
My home network is product of pure anger during one of everyday tasks, such as copying files from NAS to laptop via WiFi. As everybody else, I had some crappy router that my ISP provided to me. Every time I tried to copy large files over WiFi, everything else on network dies. So I decided to separate all functions of network and circumvent ISP router for local traffic altogether.
I decided to go with Ubiquity and its Unifi range of equipment. I purchased the following:
ISP router is now configured in bridge mode and USG is dialing PPOE connection over FTTH with 200/100 speed.
Storage and multimedia
After setting up network part and tweaking it to my needs I initially purchased Synology DS216play NAS, which after some time proved to be bad choice since it was under performing so I upgraded to DS918+ (setup as RAID 5 with four 4 TB disks). Main purpose for this device was to backup data on it, stream multimedia in local network and stream multimedia to remote locations. Multimedia players that would connect to NAS where ranging from Android TV and its Kodi application, native Synology DS Video app, Plex player and various versions of Chromecast device. Also, NAS was serving as Surveillance station for multiple Hikvision cameras.
Some devices are connected over Ethernet, some over WiFi and some over external Internet connection. Synology NAS is published securely to Internet so I can access it any time. It utilizes SSL cert, username and password and 2FA code.
Sync and backup
On the software side I am using Office 365 Home for syncing my wife phone and my own, directly to OneDrive. O365 gives me 1 TB of storage for 5 users and Office licences for multiple devices.
For backup purposes, I am using AllwaySync software on my computers to do one way sync of data to Synology NAS.
Sync and backup workflow works like this:
- Both Android phones are setup so they sync all photos from local storage to OneDrive
- On each PC I have AllwaySync software that syncs one way to NAS on scheduled basis and manually
- Synology NAS pulls OneDrive data locally as items arrive in OneDrive
- Synology creates backup every day in Azure Cool Storage. Besides OneDrive and PC backup data I also backup some additional folders from NAS
- From time to time I manually backup Synology data to external USB (this is to be automated by attaching disk directly to NAS and setting up schedule for backup)
Price and conclusion
Besides one time NAS and disks cost, there is additional cost which is monthly or yearly reoccurring. Azure Cool Storage in West Europe, LRS, cost is $17 per month for cca. 500 GB of data. I am using 30 days retention. O365 Home subscription costs cca. $100 per year.
Besides these devices, I have also connected Playstation 4, Sony BD player, Netatmo smart thermostat, Air Condition and Roomba.
Main idea of this setup was to easily have backups of multiple devices (mainly images). Also, regarding multimedia, I wanted to manage everything with one remote and to be able to stream my multimedia files anywhere (bedroom, hotel rooms, apartments and so on). One important need was ability to circumvent ISP router for local network and network to be managed (in this case via Unifi controller that is running in Azure as Linux VM). At some point, controller will be moved to Azure Container Instance.
Feel free to comment below or contact me if you need more detailed setup instructions for any of these components.