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Personal Cloud Storage

As long term readers and followers of this Blog will know, I really like Dropbox but there are issues with it; especially around security and potential access of others to my data and I have stopped storing confidential data in it. What would be ideal would be for me to host my own Dropbox server but unfortunately, they’ve not gone down that route.

However, I have been introduced to a promising contender; Teamdrive are a German software company who have developed something similar to Dropbox but with the added advantage that you can host your own Teamdrive server on your own hardware.

My friend Rose is doing the PR for them and kindly got hold of license for me to play with so that I could set up my own environment (note: there is a free server license which is limited to 10Gb, the unlimited license appears to be €99 per year).

One of the nice things about the Teamdrive server is that they provide a version which will run on a Synology Home NAS; so I downloaded that and I installed it, quickly VI-ed the configuration file and fired it up. The Windows and Mac versions of the server appear to have a nice GUI so that you don’t have to edit configuration files but there are few options and the lack of GUI for the Linux version is no hardship.

I downloaded the latest Teamdrive Client for my MacBook; installed that and pointed it at the newly installed Teamdrive server. The process of getting it attached was painless and worked quickly and easily.

Teamdrive allows you to configure an existing directory as a Teamdrive share or in Teamdrive terminology, a ‘Space’ or you can create a new ‘Space’ and start from that. Once you have created a ‘Space’, you can invite other users to the share. Please note, it appears that they already need to have registered with Teamdrive to be invited. Not entirely sure why this should be the case if you intend to run an entirely private service.

Running your own server is interesting because it allows you to see how the files are stored on the server; they are encrypted and hence even if someone manages to get access to the server; the files should stay secure. I haven’t looked too closely at the encryption yet, so I can’t really vouch for how secure it is. However storing the files like this does mean that they cannot be shared using another protocol such as NFS or SMB from my Synology.

All in all, Teamdrive appears to be a solid shared storage implementation with the added attraction that you can run it privately. There are iOS and Android clients in development but I’ve not tried them, this is a bit of a hole in the Teamdrive story at present. The other advantage is that you can scale a lot more economically than the hosted competitors

p.s Matthew Yeager has recommended a product called Appsense Datalocker which works with Dropbox to provided an encrypted solution. I’ve just started to have a play and it looks most promising.

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