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Tutorial Doctor

Networking for cheap from a Personal Cloud Device?

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Okay, so I recently learned of a personal cloud device by Western Digital named myCloud. It is like a personal dropbox server. It allows access anywhere and everything. 

 

I am wondering if you could do local game networking using it. It has all the features it seems. And with the access anywhere feature, you should be able to access it even when you are not at home. 

 

Anyone think this could work for gaming? Imagine a game that only you and your friends can play, multiplayer online, but running from the mycloud which acts as a server. 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=078xdmH1DiM

 

How would you go about setting something like this up on such a device? Anyone can think of any useful hacks to such a device?

 

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They're basically just tiny, low-power PC's running Linux.

I have a Synology NAS (basically the same thing, but more flexible and you can put 5 of your own HDDs into its bays) at work, which is designed to just be a file hosting box, but because it's Linux I use it to host some simple HTTP content and the internal instant-messaging server too wink.png

 

These boxes have the bare minimum hardware required to do their job though (file hosting), so complex games would probably max out the CPU on them and not perform very well at all... You're better off just building your own small linux PC instead.

Edited by Hodgman
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Ah, okay! Thanks! I might get one for basic file transfer, but I would like a powerful device that could handle more complex things. The wi-drive by Kingston can stream simultaneously to 3 devices, but the max storage capacity is 64GB I think. Best part about it is that it fits in the pocket though. 

 

I guess this would appeal to not so techy consumers though, as it doesn't require much special knowledge to get things done. 

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I personally think that building a tinier PC with just the minimum amounts of processing power you need for a game server would be cheaper than getting a cloud storage system in itself. Well, maybe not, but you can easily get a very good server for 400 USD or less. The lower the power (the lower the heat) and the less the noise of the fans the better. On this you can trust me (that less noise and less heat is a blessing), sitting in a room with 10 nodes at the moment with super silent 65W Hashwells. 

Edited by jbadams
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I've got a MyCloud box, and I had the previous version before that (MyBook World Edition), which used a similar technology.

 

The MyCloud system is more than just a little server in the NAS. They operate a web service that does all the tasks of punching through your NAT and dealing with dynamic IP addresses. You log in to the wd2go web site and after providing credentials, provides a secure tunnel to your NAS device.

 

There are many NAS devices that allow you to telnet/ssh to the box. You can also download and run whatever programs you want, adding it to the startup chain as a regular unix-style script, compile directly on the box, and so on.

 

I added quite a few features to my MyBook NAS from several sites that offered a wide range of software. The steps were simple to pull down my favorite editors and compiler, then build and install the various servers that were supplied. In addition to a better media server, modified the settings to give me a self-signed https web server with php support. I also used it as a SVN repository for a while. They are versatile little devices, despite their slow CPU and limited memory.

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First:

a personal cloud device


There is no such thing. The whole point of "the cloud" is that it is redundant, it is ubiquitous, and it is remotely managed and provisioned through software. Your local NAS box with remote access is neither of those. But it's cute marketing :-)

if I could use it as a web server with PHP support


Anything you plug into your network is a small computer. Most small computers *can* run a HTTP server and perhaps PHP or another scripting language, if there's enough RAM and storage space available. Personally, I would not try to hack that into a task-specific device like that WD Cloud or a router or whatever (check out the DD-WRT project for how to hack routers!)

Instead, if I wanted a cheap server to run at home, I would plunk down $40 for a Raspberry Pi model B and a small SD card, and install whatever server software I need on it. It draws very little power, and is easy to plug into any available Ethernet port. To make sure that it's accessible from the outside of your router/firewall, set up port forwarding.
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