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Old 04-21-2018, 11:36 PM   #1
mr.travo
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Talking Questions running NextCloud / OwnCloud from a SBC


This is something I have been looking into for the last month. I could really use some direction with this build.

What I am looking at doing is running NextCloud on a single board computer that is plugged into the internet. Something clean, simple, and independent. I can't seem to find a good straight answer regarding what works best, in 2018. I can find about 10,000 videos and blogs on how to install the OS and setup NextCloud. The few sites I did find talking about hardware was from 3+ years ago, and we know how a lot has changed in the SBC realm since then.

What I am looking for:

Low cost- total cost under $175
Low power consumption
Reliability- running 24/7/365

*I was thinking about running a 256GB SSD drive because it would also help with the low power consumption and low heat compared to a traditional HDD. I know the disadvantage with the write cycles with a SSD. I do also know that those are being increased with each generation of SSD technology releasing. I can pick up an Intel 256GB for under $80 now. For cloud storage, I *think* it would suite me fine as far as space is concerned. I am pretty sure a USB 2.0 will kill the drive transfer speed, but I believe the SSD will make up for some of that speed loss.

*My internet speed is pretty consistent with 100 - 120 down and anywhere from 15 to 25 up. What will be transferred and stored on the drive are invoices, pictures, and some video that is taken on the job site (not often though). I will use NextCloud to also sync my contacts and calendar across 2 cells, 2 laptops, and a desktop.

*I am worried about reliability when it comes to the operating system being stored on a micro SD card. I have read about people have problems with this confirming my suspicion. I used to use MicroSD's for my dash cam and I was buying a new one every 4 months or so. I am sure a dash cam throws a lot more R/W than an OS though, but it's still on my "reliability radar". I see that some of these boards are coming with eMMC slots and I *think* that would be the better way to go. What are your thoughts?

*From what I have researched Ubuntu Server is the way to go for the OS. Most of all the videos I see has them installing that for NextCloud to run on.

*Do I need my own domain name? I know those are about $15 - $20 a year, but that cost is acceptable if it makes life easier or expandable.

What am I not thinking of or have forgotten about?

I have never done this but know that it can easily be done. I just want to have all my ducks in a row and get the most bang for my buck. I decided to go this route vs a VPS because at least with this, I am getting something for my money. Also, after the initial cost for the board, drive, and supplies, all I am out is power consumption. I did the math on running 5v @ 4a and I get a yearly cost of $23.08 per year of 24/7 use (my KWh is a hair over $0.13). That will of course slide either direction by a couple of bucks depending on CPU and drive usage etc etc...

Please throw me any tips or point out things I am not thinking of.

Thank you for your help guys!

~T
 
Old 04-22-2018, 05:29 PM   #2
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Looks like there is plenty information about running Nextcloud on a Raspberry Pi. NextCloud has images for the Pi as well as running from an oDroid C2.

Nextcloud will be running off a USB drive so I don't think you need to worry about the SD card.

https://nextcloud.com/box/

You do not need your own domain name. You can use a free dynamic DNS service like no-ip.
 
Old 04-22-2018, 07:09 PM   #3
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SD cards are fragile. But I use a pi3 as router/firewall and it gets all the logs - systemd journal included. So far, so good, but one of the 2 cards I bought when I first got it was DOA.
The pi3 can now boot from USB directly, so there is no need for the SD at all once configured.
 
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:11 PM   #4
mralk3
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I am running my home gateway on a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (Slackware ARM 14.2). It serves DHCP, DNS, and also as a WiFi access point using hostapd. I also have a Pi 1 B+ (Raspbian Jessie) that has been happily acting as a print server on my LAN for a few years now. Additionally, I have a Pi 3 B that (recently retired from the role of my home gateway running CentOS ARM 7.4) that acts as a Git server, File server, and Slackware mirror (now running Slackware ARM 14.2 as well). I soon plan to add music player daemon to the Pi 3 B, among other services. The way I see it: If there are spare CPU cycles and free RAM, it can do more.

You do not need to spent more than $85 (including rush shipping) to get a Raspberry Pi 3 B+, its power supply, a case and an ethernet cable. It should be able to run NextCloud and have additional system resources available for further use. You really should purchase a USB stick or external hard disk to store your NextCloud files. A solid state disk is a waste of money because you will never reach read/write speed capacity with any SBC using a USB connection.

As a side note:

If you plan to run everything from the SD Card, you should mount the root partition using the noatime option. Here is what it looks like in my /etc/fstab:

Code:
/dev/mmcblk0p3   /                ext4        defaults,noatime         1   1
Notice the bold. This disables recording of file and directory last accessed times. It increases the longevity of the SD Card by telling the operating system to read/write to it less. This may or may not be enabled by default in Raspbian (the official Raspberry Pi OS), but it deserves a noteworthy mention.
 
Old 04-23-2018, 12:29 AM   #5
mr.travo
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Thank you all!

Yes, I was looking at the Pi 3 B+. The disappointing facts of the 3 B+ is the lack of a USB 3.0 and eMMC. The Ethernet port is over USB 2.0 so it's rated for 300 Mbps.

I have read a little on the Pine Rock64 and it seems pretty good but not as much support as the Pi series. They had a very rough start but seem to be doing better now. What I liked about their boards is they had a USB 3.0, eMMC option, and different RAM options. The downside is you lose a USB port and the support isn't as good as it is for the Pi's (from what I have read).


Regarding the SSD vs HDD-

If I don't have a USB 3, the SSD will not be worth the extra cost due to the transfer rate suffering. I fully understand this point.

After looking into drives more tonight I was able to lookup power consumption on three different drives I am considering:
WD Red 2.5 HDD (5v drive)
R/W power- 1.4W
Sleep power- 0.2W

WD Red 3.5 HDD (12v drive)
R/W power- 3.3W
Sleep power- 0.4W

Intel 545s SSD
R/W power- 4.5W
Sleep power- 0.05W

The SSD does well when sleeping, but shockingly does seem to pull quite a few watts when working. I could jump up to a 3.5" HDD, but then I would be spending double the money on electricity, plus more heat, and takes up more space. WD Red drives come with a 3 yr warranty and the Intel has a 5 year. I am now currently considering the WD 2.5" drive as I can get a 1TB for $73 shipped.

So, I guess the final dilemma to solve is the MicroSD card. I understand that a USB is a better choice (and I agree) however, what kind of life should I expect out of a USB drive? I know there are different grades and quality. From what I understand, flash memory is less resilient than SSD memory. Once the OS is installed, there should be little writing to the flash drive. I can disable a lot of the log writing for non-essential processes. With that being done, I wonder what the life of a USB will be. From what I know about SSD drives, you always want to leave 20% of the disk free to allow for memory leveling. I would imagine that a USB drive would be the same way. So if I was to spring for a good quality 64gb, that should give me PLENTY of extra space, right? Experienced advice could really be used here.

Well, those are my thoughts for tonight. Do you guys think I'm on track?

Thank you for your help and advice with all of this!


Sources for performance and specs:
https://www.pine64.org/?product=rock...board-computer
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products...-model-b-plus/
https://www.wdc.com/content/dam/wdc/...879-800002.pdf
https://ark.intel.com/products/12502...A-6Gbs-3D2-TLC

Last edited by mr.travo; 04-23-2018 at 12:35 AM.
 
Old 04-23-2018, 01:25 AM   #6
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.travo View Post
I have read a little on the Pine Rock64 and it seems pretty good but not as much support as the Pi series. They had a very rough start but seem to be doing better now. What I liked about their boards is they had a USB 3.0, eMMC option, and different RAM options. The downside is you lose a USB port and the support isn't as good as it is for the Pi's (from what I have read).
i own a pinebook; that's a laptop built from this chip.
it has troubles in the graphics department, but if you use it as a server (media server, whatever server, doesn't matter) you're not interested in that, so it doesn't matter.
all you need is a stable command line distro running on it, and that it definitely does have support for.
there's a long list of distros on their wiki pages; i'm using armbian.

i guess the emmc is slightly better than an sd coard...
 
Old 04-23-2018, 01:45 AM   #7
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Slightly off topic, but refer the WD RED ...
I have an old Seagate GoFlex Home that had been left unloved in a cupboard. Has a Marvell kirkwood chip and 2TB drive. ssh'd into it and installed an ArchARM system (no DE) as the shipped system was junk. Had to toss the disk away, so stuck a RED in it. Works a treat as my backup for the house. Quiet, cool, sits in the kitchen and you'd never know it was on.
 
Old 04-23-2018, 06:20 PM   #8
mr.travo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
i own a pinebook; that's a laptop built from this chip.
it has troubles in the graphics department, but if you use it as a server (media server, whatever server, doesn't matter) you're not interested in that, so it doesn't matter.
all you need is a stable command line distro running on it, and that it definitely does have support for.
there's a long list of distros on their wiki pages; i'm using armbian.

i guess the emmc is slightly better than an sd coard...
NextCloud will be installed on Ubuntu 16.04 Server. I guess you could call NextCloud a server because it will be in charge of my cloud storage, contacts, and appointments. The Rock64 has more of what I am looking for with this build. I think it would give me a little bit more "future proof". I will look into it some more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
Slightly off topic, but refer the WD RED ...
I have an old Seagate GoFlex Home that had been left unloved in a cupboard. Has a Marvell kirkwood chip and 2TB drive. ssh'd into it and installed an ArchARM system (no DE) as the shipped system was junk. Had to toss the disk away, so stuck a RED in it. Works a treat as my backup for the house. Quiet, cool, sits in the kitchen and you'd never know it was on.
Yes- I have been told that WD really has their stuff together. I used to use Seagate all the time, but heard they went down hill pretty bad. I have always had good luck with hard drives (where's that wood to knock on...) but I want to take no changes with this one as it's for my small business. I will give WD a run for their money.

I have the Intel 545s in my desktop and love it! The SSD is really quick and 256gb turns out to be quite a bit with Linux. I am not into movies and song downloading so I don't need anything monsterious.

Last edited by mr.travo; 04-23-2018 at 06:22 PM.
 
Old 04-23-2018, 09:30 PM   #9
mr.travo
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I went ahead and pulled the trigger on a Rock64 board by Pine64. After doing the research about what works with what, I couldn't help getting a USB 3 and 4gb of RAM. I ordered from their site and it should be here in ~ a week to 10 days.

I am looking more into the hard drives again. I am trying to find out other people success with powering the 2.5 HDD straight off the board. They say the USB 3 pushes 950mA. I know everyone is reporting that you have to use external power on the 3.5 drives. I would imagine because it requires 12v instead of 5v?

Anyone have any experience playing the power game with the numbers?

Thanks!
 
Old 05-15-2018, 01:27 AM   #10
mr.travo
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I ended up successfully running a Nextcloud server off of the Pine Rock 64 SBC. I installed a headless Ubuntu 16.04 with Armbian on a 64GB eMMC card and have a 1TB WD Red HDD (hooked up through USB 3.0) for my cloud data and webmail. The eMMC is a lot faster than the micoSD card and MUCH more dependable. 64GB is overkill, but I decided to get the biggest they had (at the time) in case I end up re-purposing it for something else.

It took me about a week to get everything setup and working correctly. Once I got Armbian working properly the install of NextCloud went pretty smooth. I followed something similar to this: https://linuxconfig.org/how-to-insta...-stretch-linux

I went ahead and got my own domain address and set it up with 1and1.com. I also setup an admin email address under my new site (for Nextcloud registration). You don't HAVE to do it that way, but I get OCD about that sort of stuff for some reason. I also ended up using no-ip because my provider has me on a DDNS and I am too cheap to give them another $10 a month for a static IP I also went the Let's Encrypt route and it was super simple to setup and get running, just follow the guide. I even set Nextcloud up to ONLY allow https://.

I really can't think of any other struggles or extra stuff that I had to purchase/do. I really enjoy Nextcloud alot and love all the features. It has done everything (and more) of what I set out to do- replace Google. The real test will be to see how long this board will last left on 24/7/365. I am creating accounts for other family members and friends and running this thing through the ringer. Everything (to include the HDD) was ordered brand new. I wasn't able to get any discount, other than free shipping from WD. WD does charge you tax though, so it's a wash. All in all I have apx $170 in everything. The Rock64 has an even better version out now, but this one is plenty powerful for what I need. What I was really after was the eMMC and USB 3.0 and the 4GB of RAM helps out too!

I hope this helps someone else!

~T
 
Old 05-24-2018, 01:25 AM   #11
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.travo View Post
I ended up successfully running a Nextcloud server off of the Pine Rock 64 SBC. I installed a headless Ubuntu 16.04 with Armbian on a 64GB eMMC card and have a 1TB WD Red HDD (hooked up through USB 3.0)
so the SBC is hooked up to a power source 24/7, no battery?
May I enquire what sort of power source, do you think it's suitable to keep running for years on end?
do you need another power source for the HDD, or does it work reliably on the power it gets from the SBC?

(i'm asking because i'm thinking of getting a similar setup evtl.; my current 10-year-old laptop server is very dependable, but intel ME...)
 
Old 05-24-2018, 01:42 PM   #12
mr.travo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
so the SBC is hooked up to a power source 24/7, no battery?
May I enquire what sort of power source, do you think it's suitable to keep running for years on end?
do you need another power source for the HDD, or does it work reliably on the power it gets from the SBC?

(i'm asking because i'm thinking of getting a similar setup evtl.; my current 10-year-old laptop server is very dependable, but intel ME...)
Hey there Ondoho,

Yes, my device is hooked up and running 24/7/365. I do not have a battery backup plugged into it as of right now. You can use a regular UPS battery backup or I have seen people make a simple battery supply out of two rechargeable 18650 batteries.

The power supply for my board is a simple 5v 3a supply. I did the math to run mine 24/7 and at my rate ~.13 cents per kWh it comes out to $16.85 per year. That's also figuring it running at full 3a capacity (which I know it's not).

I used a 2.5" laptop HDD. I bought a brand new WD NAS red drive directly from WD (for warranty purposes). The 2.5" drives draw their power off the USB 3.0. I have not run into any problems running it this way. I have seen others that will still run a separate power source to help power the 2.5" drive. I don't think it's needed, but it's your power. If you plan to use any 3.5" drive, you WILL have to use an external power source for that drive. The 3.5" drives require too much power to be run off of a 3.0 port. I was looking at using a SSD instead of a HDD and the power consumption on read and write cycles is actually higher on an SSD. The idle power consumption is a lot lower on the SSD though. Seeing that you are running off a laptop, this would be a lot more energy efficient, as well as less heat, quieter, etc etc etc. To start out you could even use the drive out of your laptop if you wanted to.

I enjoy having my NextCloud server. It has helped me delete big G completely out of my life and take back the control of my own data. 1TB of cloud storage and email for about $160 is well beyond a good deal- especially when you remember that no one else is going through your stuff, building a profile on you, and seeing what they can sell you. I am sure you can build one cheaper but for my test I went all brand new. I do plan on doing a simple battery backup once I get a chance. I will do a write up as I dive into it.

I hope this helps you out!

~T

Last edited by mr.travo; 05-24-2018 at 01:43 PM.
 
Old 05-25-2018, 11:46 PM   #13
ondoho
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thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.travo View Post
The power supply for my board is a simple 5v 3a supply. I did the math to run mine 24/7 and at my rate ~.13 cents per kWh it comes out to $16.85 per year. That's also figuring it running at full 3a capacity (which I know it's not).
i know you're saving energy.
i was asking if you think the power supply is solid enough to run reliably 24/7/365.
otoh, most routers also use very normal- and flimsy-looking power supplies, and they also run 24/7/365...

about the HD: ok, so it works for non-powered USB hard drives. good to know. just be aware that this sort of thing is known to have caused problems, difficult to troubleshoot because seemingly random and intermittent.

i guess only time can tell, so do come back to report in a few months! (only joking)
 
Old 05-26-2018, 05:14 PM   #14
mr.travo
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
thanks.

i know you're saving energy.
i was asking if you think the power supply is solid enough to run reliably 24/7/365.
otoh, most routers also use very normal- and flimsy-looking power supplies, and they also run 24/7/365...

about the HD: ok, so it works for non-powered USB hard drives. good to know. just be aware that this sort of thing is known to have caused problems, difficult to troubleshoot because seemingly random and intermittent.

i guess only time can tell, so do come back to report in a few months! (only joking)
Sorry about that! Yes, it seems to be reliable enough. You are correct about router power supplies, they can sure look pretty cheap and crappy.

I too had read about that causing a problem (powering the HDD off the USB 3.0). That's why I went with a brand spanking new HDD I am wanting to throw this thing through the ringer (within reason) to ensure it can hold up to a family. I am not willing to make the IP and login public for the world to abuse though, LOL!

I will absolutely keep this thread up to date with any problems, issues, warranty work, etc... Sometimes the most awesome internet finds are in forums from a few/several years ago. You never know...

~T
 
Old 01-02-2021, 05:14 AM   #15
Mrbenji
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Hi,
This thread is kinda old but I'm interested to know how it is going with your setup.
 
  


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