• Home
  • Help
  • Search
  • Login
  • Register
Pages: [1]
Author Topic: CAN SHEEVA PLUG DO THIS ??  (Read 7332 times)

Karma: 0
Posts: 17


View Profile
« on: September 19, 2009, 09:34:31 AM »

Hi all,

Wow!  All sort of interesting project and story here.  I am brand new to “community”, this is my first ever participation, but excited to start.  Looking for some specific features for a NAS and backup solution, I initially found the SimpleNet adapter, then the Pogoplug, then the Addonics adapter, and then discover the Sheeva Plug was the backbone of the Pogoplug.  I got thrilled by all the potential of this nice little thing.

Trying to do my home work first, I read many reviews, product pages, forum posts etc… to answers my many questions.  I found a lot of good information, but no clear confirmation my exact plan would work with a SheevaPlug.

The 3 main specific features I am looking for are the following :

1- Use of a “hot swappable” usb drive that can be NAS when at home, and simple USB when on the go for week end and vacations.  USB drive to be disconnected and reconnected to the plug without any setup to do on the plug.  (can take couple seconds or minutes to automatically re set up, but don’t want to “tel net” in the plug each time…)   

2- Keeping same “drive letter map” in both connection mode if possible would be important, for iTunes and ACDSee to keep finding music and photos without having to rescan the “new” drive every time I swap.  I have 200 GB of music, and 200 GB of photos, and it does take quite long for those two apps to scan and rebuild there database.  I don’t think the swap from NAS to USB is a problem, but is there a way to make the drive keep the same “map letter” without manually mapping the drive after every swap?

3- Automatically backup my main USB drive to a remote location where no pc is available, only a WD MyBook World edition (a single drive nas) with a router and high speed modem.  I read a lot about rsync and rdiff-backup, and both sound really appealing for my needs, but in everything I read, it seems that the app must be installed at both local and remote location.  But I have no pc at remote location… and would not want to buy two Sheeva plug… Can I still do automated backup to remote location with the application installed only on the SheevaPlug in my local network?  I would like to be sure before buying it.

You can find below a more detailed list of requirements and my humble network diagram, but I think the main show stopper risks are explained above (1 and 3).

So.  Should I make the jump and buy the thing?  Will I be able to make it fulfill my needs?

Thanks for any help, and be sure I will be glad to keep my project posted.

Best regards to all, its fun to read your stories,




•   Working daily from the USB drive through local wireless network.  Practically no data will be kept on laptop.  Everything will be on the USB drive. Photos, music, excel files, etc…  Only OS and applications will be kept on laptop drive.
•   Use NTFS for main USB drive
•   Support NTFS, FAT32 and other most common file system for temporary additional USB drive connected to the local network
•   Add temporary additional USB drive to local network, on the go, and have immediate access from all pc on the network
•   No installation of application, agent, driver, client, etc… on guest’s laptop to connect to USB drive (main or temporary) through the local network.
•   Use Main USB drive with sleep mode
•   Remote Ethernet drive to be WD My Book World (already owned)
•   Control user access (read/write) to multiple private portions of the USB drive
•   Control user access (read/write) to multiple private portions of the ETHERNET drive
•   Automatic Backup / Synchronisation from LAPTOP to USB DRIVE
•   Automatic Backup / Synchronisation from USB DRIVE to offsite ETHERNET DRIVE
•   Automatic Backup / Synch requirements
          o   Without laptop being involved (for USB to ETHERNET)
          o   With no manual entry for user name and password to also backup/synch private portions
          o   One way only  (Main USB to Remote Ethernet)
          o   “Differential” only
          o   2 step deletion on the USB drive (placing deleted file in a temp directory during auto backup/synch, for later manual confirmation)
          o   Email notification of backup/synch failure
          o   Protection against data corruption or lost if power and/or connection failure happen during backup / synch.  Routine can simply
                wait for next scheduled execution, but don’t want to have corrupted files or match between Source and Target
•   USB drive to be disconnected and reconnected to the plug without any setup to do on the plug.  (can take couple seconds or minutes to automatically re set up, but don’t want to “tel net” in the plug each time…)
•   USB drive to show with same drive map letter (i.e. “X”) on laptop when connected through the network or directly to laptop via USB
•   Secured remote connection to USB drive from anywhere with my laptop as if in home (drive to show with same usual drive letter)
•   Secured remote access to USB drive from anywhere with any pc (could be mine but not necessarily) to read and write files.  No need for specific drive map letter in this case.
•   Bring Ethernet drive back home, connect to laptop through the network, and connect USB drive directly to the Ethernet drive for “first time high volume data transfer” from USB to Ethernet drive. (i.e. when back from vacation with 10GB of photos, or back from weekend with 20GB of new music, don’t want to copy that over inthernet)
•   Simple disconnect and reconnect of USB drive to the network, without any command to do via terminal, setup or config
•   Auto reboot after power failure or plug being disconnected

NO NEED FOR  (unless you think I would really gain from it)
•   Media streaming  (no media extender or player, all media will be played by laptop)
•   Bit torrent
•   Web server
•   Mail server
•   DNS server

•   Hack the Ethernet drive
•   Use web site to access my USB drive (like pogoplug)
•   Reformat drives (currently NTFS for mine, but could other common file system)
•   Install application, agent, driver, client, etc… on guest’s laptop to connect to USB drive (main or temporary) through the local network

* My Home Network Diagram.jpg (55.1 KB, 960x720 - viewed 2142 times.)
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 09:38:23 AM by BP » Logged


Karma: 0
Posts: 12

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2009, 08:49:44 AM »

First of all, you're planning to hook up a USB hub to the plug, and hang a bunch of drives from that. This assumes that the hub works with the plug, and that the drives work with the plug when hooked up to a hub. With a PC I wouldn't think twice about those assumptions, but since getting my plug I've had nothing but trouble with USB drives and hubs. Search for posts referencing the specific drives/enclosures you are thinking about connecting, to see if somebody has reported good results. Same with the hub.

The hub you have in your diagram looks like a 7-legged USB squid I didn't think th. The USB output on the plug is listed as 780mA, and my multimeter shows about half of that current coming out of mine, so stick to a 4-port hub, or use a self-powered hub. YMMV.

Secondly, you shouldn't need to install extra software on your PC, with the exception of a SSH client like PuTTY. This gets you command-line access to your plug. If you find the linux command line daunting, then this is not the box for you. Wait until somebody comes out with a NAS+backup solution with web administration.

Also, consider that the plug is just a linux server, and your WD My Book can already be used as a linux server. Consider whether what you want to do on the plug can be done just by installing new software on the My Book.

To feature (1), if you want to disconnect a USB drive under linux, you should 'umount' it first. This is like "safely remove" under windows, but more so - Linux keeps a lot of stuff in the internal cache. You can force the issue by mounting the filesystem as synchronous, but that hits your performance under normal conditions. Here are your options:
* Set up a web front-end that did the umount (and any other preparations you need to do) just from you clicking a button on your browser. Setup and security issues abound, but are not insurmountable.
* Run 'sync' as a cron job every minute or so.
* SSH into the box to umount manually.

For feature (2), you seem to be talking about sharing the drive using SAMBA as a windows share. So decide on a directory structure, setup SAMBA to share the top level of that directory structure, and then mount the drives you're actually using over sub-directories. Then you have one drive letter, but when you remove the drives you'll find that some directories just disappear. I can't guarantee that iTunes won't rescan on its own, find the directory empty, and discard all its data, but as long as it doesn't you're good to go.

You do need to be careful about which drives get mounted over which directories. Once you've set it up, run 'blkid' to get the UUID of each mounted drive, and then put those UUIDs into /etc/fstab instead of the /dev/sda* device names. Google for info on how to do that. FAT and NTFS are both well supported on linux. If you want to mount a drive with 'public' and 'private' locations in different shares, mount the drive once and then use the 'rbind' mount option to put your public area over a directory in the public share, and your private areas can have their own shares.

For feature (3) set up a cron job to rsync the drive, or use rdiff-backup or similar. Try 'apt-cache search backup' for a list of options. Setting up email notifications for failures should be possible. I suspect that the hardest part will be finding your brother's IP address. Unless he has a static IP address, you need to get him to go to dyndns and register (and automatically update) a host name with his IP address. Then you can use that hostname as the place to send your backups. He still needs to be set up to receive said backups, but you can post another question if you get that far!

Hope this helps.


Karma: 0
Posts: 17


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 06:29:52 PM »

Many thanks adpated !!

I took note of the usb hub limitation, will stick to 1to4. Anyway, 99% of time there will be only my main USB drive connected. The 2nd and 3rd would be rare occasions.  I was planning on buying a WD Mybook Essential 1TB (usb) for my main, will verify if it works fine with the plug.

For feature 1, ssh to unmount sounds ok to me.  Will not do that every day anyway, so couple clics and command line will not be a problem.  Hopefully the plug will remount the drive automatically when reconnected or worst case a reboot should do the thing. (correct me if I'm wrong)

For feature 2, not sure I got it Smiley  Will read more about samba and how to mount drive and come back to it later.  Worst case, I will remap it after each swap from NAS to USB and vice versa.  Again this feture #2 was not really a show stopper like 1 and 3.

For feature 3, thanks for the good advice.  I found a MyBook hacking community and a step by step hacking process to do almost the same I hope to do.  (see here :  http://mybookworld.wikidot.com/tutorial-setup-2mbwe-with-rsync-over-the-internet  )  The difference is that they use 2 Mybook World, one at both end, and hack both to run rsync.  But for my set up, I need a drive I can leave with for week ends and vacation, so must be usb.  But anyhow, it did provide good tips for the point you raised about finding the IP of the remote (using a dns).  My biggest fear was that i need a "PC" at the remote location.  Every backup solution always refer to rsync (or alike) running on both end...  I would have prefer not to hack the mybook, but with all the readings, and these forums, I am now willing to do it if necessary.

So I ordered my plug last nigth, thanks again for the little push ;-) 

Will see how long it takes to get here via normal ground shipping...

More to come,



Karma: 0
Posts: 12

View Profile
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2009, 03:51:05 PM »

Mine took a while to be shipped, but then was very quick. I had to send a couple of query emails. Other folks here have had a lot worse, so I think that the back-order problem is getting better.

Once you list the filesystems and where they are to be mounted in /etc/fstab, the plug should remount automatically when you get back.

For feature 2, what I was talking about is basic UNIX (and hence Linux) filesystem operation. You can have this sort of layout:

/media/Shared/dir_1          (mounted as /dev/sda1)
/media/Shared/dir_2          (mounted as /dev/sda2)
/media/Shared/dir_3/subdir_1 (mounted as /dev/sda3)
/media/Shared/dir_3/subdir_2 (mounted as /dev/sda4)

To the user, they all look like a seamless filesystem, but they're actually on separate drives. Under Windoze, each would have its own drive letter, and you couldn't possibly create something like this. What you're looking for is something like this:

/media/Shared/           (this area is persistent, contains local plug files)
/media/Shared/mountpoint (mounted as /dev/sda1 - this area is empty when drive is disconnected)

Then you can share /media/Shared as a Samba share, and it will have its own drive letter which persists regardless of whether the drive is mounted.

For rsync, as for any backup, you absolutely do need to have something at the other end that you can connect to. If you don't have a computer at the other end, what do you have? Do you have a NAS that you are able to remotely access over the internet? If so, mount it as though it were a local drive, and rsync/copy files across. If you connect to it via some other protocol, look for a backup application that speaks that protocol natively. Obviously getting the remote end to speak a protocol that has broad support for backup applications is a good idea, which is why the guides you speak of use rsync at the remote end.

Remember that at the remote end, the router needs to know that this kind of traffic goes to the NAS, and not to any other hosts on that network.


Karma: 0
Posts: 17


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2009, 11:04:28 AM »

Hello adapted,

I just recieved my plug Friday pm (2 days ago). Since then I am trying to succesfully complete the 'installer process' but with no luck so far.  After many attemps and readings I am running out of hope ;-)   I already posted a question about what I thought was my problem, (in the General Discussion | Sheevaplug installer - version 1.0   discussion)  but later discovered it was something else... I think...

Anyhow, not to waste everyboy's time with mutiple questions and troubleshooting 1 step at a time, I am now trying to prepare a summary of my various attemps, findings, combination of options I tried, my set up, etc...  Hopefully this could be usefull to someone more knowledgeable than I am to pin point where my problem is.   Being long at this kind of task, I hope to be able to post it late today on the  Sheevaplug installer - version 1.0   discussion.  Of course, feel free to send in any clue or solution :-)

Otherwise, thanks again for your good advice, I will come back to it later for sure.  In a nutshell, I plan to use a MyBook World edition at the remote end, and hack it to autmotically "publish" its IP and run rsync more or less as explained in this tutorial : http://mybookworld.wikidot.com/tutorial-setup-2mbwe-with-rsync-over-the-internet

Have fun !


Karma: 0
Posts: 12

View Profile
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2009, 04:30:01 PM »

I just recieved my plug Friday pm (2 days ago). Since then I am trying to succesfully complete the 'installer process' but with no luck so far. 

You do know that your sheevaplug already has an operating system on it, right? Just turn it on, wait a minute, and then SSH into it. username=root, pw=nosoup4u

You can also connect in with the serial cable to get a serial console.

If that works for you, then don't bother with the latest uboot until the kinks have been worked out of the installer. I didn't use the new installer - I used alpha 6, and that worked fine for me. This installer is very new.

If it doesn't work for you...several people reported better luck with linux. Try downloading an ubuntu desktop live CD, booting with that, and then running the installer from there.

Pages: [1]
Jump to: