Ups and downs running a self-hosted private cloud connecting to public clouds

Probably old information for some of you – but maybe of interest for others 🙂

Recently I found some time to do some stuff on my @Synology box at home. The box is running a domain via DynDNS, contains all our music at home, of course stores a gazillion of pics, secured areas for my data and connects to the world via @Vodafone LTE.

Over the last couple of years I started to use quite a number of cloud services (dropbox, company internal one etc) and used a couple of tools to consolidate all that data.

In the recent update I did install Cloud Station on my Synology and connected it to the main cloud providers I use. Now the box is collecting all information I store somewhere and (now we get to the real good part) the apps on my devices allow me to choose which of the subfolder(s) should be replicated to the (mobile) device the app is running on.

Naturally I got a full replica on my MacBook but I e.g. do only replicate selected private stuff to my business iPad.

So basically CloudStation is a Cloud in itself collecting stuff from other clouds and users can decide what to replicate to devices – that’s the cool upside.

Downside of running this @home is of course the connection mentioned above.

About a year ago Vodafone approached me with “Chris, we now got LTE@Home in our area without the need for an external antenna!” – I had been waiting for this, so I signed up, after VF promised me to:

– Cancel my old phone line
— A few weeks after signing I got a mail that my phone contract can only be cancelled in May 2014
– Cancel my old broadband contract
—  Same as with phone contract
– Provide a reliable service

Status right now:

– After a couple of bad months the service is now stable for about 80% from Monday-Friday
– Weekends suck
– The router delivered (EasyBox) is a disaster – when you have to reboot (you almost always have to when connection was dropped due to unavailability of service) the box hangs for minutes to hours – sometimes need to reboot up to 10 times. I actually think that thing looks for connectivity before finalising boot process – works as designed…just bad design
– My old phone line got disconnected as promised (the day before my wedding)
– After 3 hours of rebooting (again – on the day before my wedding) phone worked again with my old number
– This week I got notice from my old broadband provider that the service had not been cancelled and is now automatically extended by another year – of course I can’t use it as the phone contract (ISDN) had been cancelled….Thank you VF !

If anybody of you suggests to call Vodafone helpline – don’t do, I might get mad. I spent hours with the guys – i.e. up to 2 hours in waiting line, then usually get greeted with “I hope you do have an external antenna” (I actually did buy one and it really helps – but the suggestion to use one because coverage in my area is so bad is at least kind of contradictory to the contract I have with the guys. 

My favourite discussion with VF helpline:
(1 hour waiting, 5 reboots, discussing the external antenna topic)…and then:
– VF: You need to reset your router
– Me: It has been working for 5 days, then one of your antenna masts failed (they had admitted already), so if this is up now – what you claim – why should I reset?
– VF: After failure of a mast it can happen a router needs to re-associated
– Me: But if you can see my router – you just confirmed – isn’t it more probable that your antenna mast is still not really doing what it should?
– VF: No, all working fine – and you just need 3 minutes to do the reset
– Me: No, I need an hour to do all my security settings again – I am not using the SSID and security settings that came with the box
– VF: ?
(the last two sentences continued for a while until I gave in and did the reset – followed by a new call)
– Me: Describing the  last hours
– VF (new person): Oh, that won’t work – that antenna in your area has been down for 2 days now…..

Anyway – just my evening rant….message should have been: If you have a reliable network provider, the synology cloud station really is fun and makes a lot of sense.

/Chris 

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