New to Linux/OpenSUSE: Creating Private Cloud - Project Help

Good afternoon everyone. I am an infant in the world of Linux. My experience is limited to downloading and installing Ubuntu onto an older Win XP box (dual boot). However, I have exposure to some older Sun Solaris and IRIX/Unix as well as SUSE installation where I work. My talent is in IT management and my goal is to learn more about networking with Linux by experimenting at home.

I thought a good first project would be to build a ‘iCloud’ type service at home (private cloud) and use OpenSUSE or RedHat as a OS foundation (which I already possess). The vision is to have a protected file sharing service where everyone in our family (only authorized users) can access and backup videos, music or files. The primary requirement is that the files must be accessed via Wi-Fi within my home. The second requirement is the ability to access the files via the internet from anywhere in the world without having to subscribe to any particular ‘service’. I want to manage this from home (to include auditing, access lists, restrictions or creating a DMZ if need be) and if that means building in physical security appliances or fire walls, that is fine (again, limited experience here).

Some statements and questions to get things kicked off:

  1. We use Windows 7 on most laptops
  2. I have one older desktop running Windows XP (I have an old Maxtor OneTouch that I cannot find Windows 7 drivers for). This PC would be used for the initial file share experiement with the hope of upgrading to a 4TB RAID box for obvious reasons.
  3. I have COMPTia A+ credentials so I am hardware savvy, just not network or Linux savvy (this is where I need the most help)

Thanks to everyone in advance for helping me get this experience.


Are you primarily going to use Linux as a file server and simply want remote access to it or are you thinking to creating an entire Linux infrastructure?
My first thought was to suggest you use Open SUSE, setup an NIS and NFS server so that you have a central means to authenticate users and provide file sharing. This would work well on a LAN. Where I think it fails is trying to access it remotely using credentials because you would need to establish a VPN connection to your network before attempting to authenticate to NIS. That is if I’m correct. So the next solution is to setup an LDAP service for authentication. Then you would be able to setup OPEN VPN for your remote connections (I think). I’m not sure but I believe your windows clients could authenticate with LDAP.

You might wanna take a look at the owncloud project, check out these links:

ownCloud in a box – SUSE Gallery | Your Cloud, Your Data, Your Way!

The first is a ‘ready to go’ appliance running your very own cloud that can be installed to a hard drive, virtual machine or run as a ‘live’ system, the second is the owncloud project’s homepage

If you were looking for a quick and easy way to set up a private cloud the owncloud in a box appliance from susestudio would probably be ideal, but if you wanted to get a bit more ‘down and dirty’ with a view to setting everything up yourself and maybe learning some stuff in the process it might be better to download it from and set the whole thing up yourself on whichever operating system you end up going with

Best of luck

aldistick - dont know enough about it quite yet to determine whether I will use Linux as a file server but setting up an entire Linux infrastructure would be something I wouldnt mind learning. Thanks for the tips on NIS /NFS, OPEN VPN and LDAP. I will look into those. Much appreciated.

Excellent! Looks right up my alley and precisely what I might be looking for. Thanks for the links.

A note:
Re your talent is “IT Management” – If it’s truly in Network Administration, then deploying your own private cloud should not be too big a project.

  • You should use whatever virtualization technology you feel comfortable with.
  • All virtual hosts should behave, operate, communicate and be managed just like “Real” hosts
  • If you deploy only on LAN servers without access to the Internet, the additional security issues should be minimal unless you really want to be security concious.
  • Beware virtualized hosts with direct exposure to the Internet. Although this can be done safely, it can require a higher level of security conciousness and understanding of lower level architecture on the machine. You should understand principles of isolation, shared memory spaces, and how “messages” are passed within the machine (requires OS understanding) as well as between the machine and external Hosts and LAN hosts.
  • If you already are expert in any network security system like Active Directory, OpenLDAP, Samba and more, you should be able to simply apply what you know and do to your virtual and machine cloud hosts as well.