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In this mini series our goal is two-fold: We want to take back control of our own data and at the same time enjoy the plethora of benefits the cloud provides.

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What is this all about?

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In this mini series our goal is two-fold: We want to take back control of our own data and at the same time enjoy the plethora of benefits the cloud provides. The cloud storage system we have come up with and use for the last couple of months, comprises:

  1. BitTorrent Sync, for fast and secure file synchronization between computers, laptops, devices and cloud servers
  2. ownCloud, for easy and secure access to our files, from wherever we happen to be and even from devices which are not our own
  3. The Amazon S3 compatible StorageQloud system of GreenQloud. With StorageQloud we can have as much storage space in the cloud as we want, and at the same time pay only for the space we really use
  4. A cloud provider with data centers in a country with strong pro-privacy laws

One cloud provider that meets criterion 4 is GreenQloud, which is based in Iceland.

Disclaimer: Parabing is a member of GreenQloud's six-month Startup Program. But even before that we were customers and from day one we were extremely satisfied with the services and the support they offer.

There is one more little thing. Every data center on the planet has huge energy requirements and that means it also has a huge impact on the environment. That is not so with GreenQloud’s data centers. They use 100% recyclable, clean energy, so there is zero impact on the environment. That is the norm in Iceland, where the primary sources of energy are geothermal and hydroelectric.

So, to sum it up, the cloud storage platform we are about to build is:

  • secure, thanks to BitTorrent Sync
  • friendly, thanks to ownCloud
  • NSA-proof, thanks to the pro-privacy laws in Iceland
  • scalable and cost-effective, thanks to the Amazon S3 compatible StorageQloud
  • environmentally friendly, thanks to the 100% recyclable and clean energy sources in Iceland

In this first episode we begin by setting up a so-called GreenQloud instance, which is effectively a VPS in the cloud. We configure it, make sure it’s protected from the Internet, bring it up to date, install OpenVPN on it and make sure we can remotely connect to it via OpenSSH and via OpenVPN. Then we move on to installing s3fs, a FUSE-based filesystem. Thanks to s3fs we can mount one or more buckets from StorageQloud locally.

In the next episode of the Hacker Next Door show we move on to installing and configuring BitTorrent Sync and ownCloud.

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Show notes

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  • Detailed instructions on how to setup OpenVPN on Ubuntu Server.
  • PuTTY is a free SSH client for Windows. Get it here.
  • FileZilla is a free yet feature-rich FTP client, available for all major operating systems.
  • Don’t have a domain to point your VPS to? Maybe you should take a loot at the free, dynamic IP service NoIP offers.
  • Amazon S3 is an online storage system by Amazon which uses the object storage architecture. GreenQloud’s StorageQloud is an online storage system compatible to Amazon S3.
  • FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) is a mechanism for UNIX-like operating systems which allows unprivileged users to mount filesystems without having to load the corresponding kernel drivers. Some examples of FUSE-based filesystems are NTFS-3G, EncFS, SSHFS and s3fs, which is officially backed my Amazon.

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