How to set up a home network for file synchronization?

I’ve got a bit of a networking problem, and can’t seem to find anything that addresses it. I have several machines at home, and at different times will use one or another. That is, I normally work on laptop A because it’s quiet, but sometimes need to work on compute/graphics intensive stuff on the quad desktop (which isn’t quiet :-(), or test stuff on the ATI GPU in another machine… What I want is to set up a small network so that

  1. If I turn on one machine, it has my internet connection (cable modem) up.

  2. If I have two or more machines up, they will talk to each other and I can use e.g. rsync to make sure my source files, mail, and so on are the same on all.

  3. It would be nice if all running machines had outside internet access, but that’s optional.

What I do NOT want is to have any of the machines running all the time. Usually I would have two running only when I’m switching, so if I start on A, I would boot B, wait for synch to complete, then shut down B.

This seems like something that ought to be fairly common - e.g. synchronizing files between laptop and desktop - but everything I’ve found seems to assume an office-type network, with at least file server running all the time.

Anyone have any ideas on where I should be looking?

Thanks,
James

Hi
You may want to look at a router/switch combination to take care of the
internet connection. Then get a small NAS (I have an ADS tech with a
200GB drive) to put your files on and share via smb (samba).


Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel 2.6.25.16-0.1-default
up 1 day 17:16, 1 user, load average: 0.02, 0.19, 0.30
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 173.14.12

Maybe I’m being dense, but what’s an NAS?

Otherwise, your suggestion sounds like what I DON’T want, which is to have a bunch of machines running all the time. I only use one at a time, and might only use this file-synchronization a few times a week, when I need to move to a different machine to do a different job.

Hi
Network Attached Storage, basically a hard disk with a network
interface running a samba server :slight_smile:

Hmmm, so do you connect the cable modem ethernet cable to each machine
your using to access the internet?

I would look at using a USB drive then and syncing to that (rysnc) and
then just attaching to the machine your using at the time, if you don’t
wish to run a router/switch (eg linksys wrt54g wireless router/4 port
switch)


Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel 2.6.25.16-0.1-default
up 7:48, 0 users, load average: 0.20, 0.62, 0.50
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version:

At the moment. That’s another thing I would like to get rid of: the need to swap cables around when switching machines. Keyboard & mouse are ok, as they’re USB off a hub in my large display, but I have to do the ethernet and sometimes the display.

I would look at using a USB drive then and syncing to that (rysnc) and then just attaching to the machine your using at the time, if you don’t wish to run a router/switch (eg linksys wrt54g wireless router/4 port
switch)

I had thought of that, using a Creative Zen media player as the external USB drive. However, OpenSuSE doesn’t seem to see the part of the player that’s formatted as removable disk storage (though it does see the player itself as a USB device…).

I’ve no objection to running a switch/router, the problem is that I don’t know how to set it up to do what I want. As I said in the beginning, all the info I’ve been able to find seems to address the “everything on all the time” setup.

jamesqf wrote:
>
> malcolmlewis;1875716 Wrote:
>> Hmmm, so do you connect the cable modem ethernet cable to each machine
>> your using to access the internet?
>
> At the moment. That’s another thing I would like to get rid of: the
> need to swap cables around when switching machines. Keyboard & mouse
> are ok, as they’re USB off a hub in my large display, but I have to do
> the ethernet and sometimes the display.

Get a KVM switch so that you can use one keyboard, video, and mouse on
multiple machines. Get a router and switch so you can connect all of your
machines on your own LAN so that you never have to switch the ethernet
cable around.

>> I would look at using a USB drive then and syncing to that (rysnc) and
>> then just attaching to the machine your using at the time, if you don’t
>> wish to run a router/switch (eg linksys wrt54g wireless router/4 port
>> switch)
>
> I had thought of that, using a Creative Zen media player as the
> external USB drive. However, OpenSuSE doesn’t seem to see the part of
> the player that’s formatted as removable disk storage (though it does
> see the player itself as a USB device…).
>
> I’ve no objection to running a switch/router, the problem is that I
> don’t know how to set it up to do what I want. As I said in the
> beginning, all the info I’ve been able to find seems to address the
> “everything on all the time” setup.

Maybe you are thinking that you have to have a “server” to have a LAN, and
that “server” would have to be ON all the time. No, what you really want
is simply a peer-to-peer LAN, where all of the members are equal. Perhaps
that means they are all servers, I don’t know, but we are merely talking
about semantics in this case. You can set up a LAN with nothing more than
a hub or switch, but to make it more practical, you want a router with a
builtin switch (or is that actually a switch with a builtin router?) so
that your entire LAN is also connected to the Internet.

From what I’ve read, it sounds like I am already doing exactly what you are
wanting. My system starts with a router. Since it did not actually have
enough ports for my whole LAN, I added a switch. You just keep adding them
on until you have a wired connection for every machine in your house
(assuming you can run the cables from here to there). Since my router did
not provide wireless access, I added a wireless access point. Eventually,
I even added a second one to extend the service range.

You can run as many computers at the same time as you want. Or not! In my
case, only the router, switch(s), and access point(s) need to stay ON all
the time. (Well, in reality, they do not, but it is certainly more
convenient that way!) And guests can even connect their computers to the
LAN either by wire or wirelessly (if I give them the security code).
Welcome aboard!

To that, I added a KVM switch so that I can control the 4 computers at my
work center using a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse. Again, I can have
them all on at the same time, or not, and there is nothing to configure.

Oh, and I synchronize my desktop(s) and laptop(s) using “unison”. It’s a
piece of cake!

Thanks - I guess that “peer-to-peer” was the term I was looking for. At least on a quick scan it seems that including it comes closer to finding relevant information.

jamesqf wrote:

>
> Thanks - I guess that “peer-to-peer” was the term I was looking for. At
> least on a quick scan it seems that including it comes closer to finding
> relevant information.

Sometimes you can help someone in mysterious ways! Good luck!