Cloud Storage System

My project was to make a Raspberry Pi (a low cost, credit card sized computer that is used to teach computer science) Dropbox-like cloud using a service called Owncloud. This will allow me to store and retrieve my files using the internet.  I had originally used this website:

but some of the software seems to have been updated and the links don’t work anymore.  Instead, I have the websites I used linked below and they worked fine for me. Basically, you’re taking a very small computer and creating a place where you can store information on the internet.

You will need a Raspberry Pi, a monitor and keyboard (mouse is not necessary), HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) cable, ethernet cable, a poweredUSB (universal serial bus) hub because the RaspPi only has two unpoweredUSB ports, a SD (secure digital) card (This is memory for the Pi. You will only need a few gigabytes [GB] of space but get a SD card larger than two GB, just to be safe. My card was 16GB), a micro USB charger (you need this to power your RaspPi), and a portable external hard drive (the RaspPi doesn’t have one built in, so its necessary to attach one, this will allow you to store your files and send them to the cloud).  

Note: The RaspPi has an HDMI port so I would suggest finding a monitor that has a HMDI port, or you can find an adapter cable that will convert the HDMI port to a VGA (video graphics array) port. Most old computers have VGA ports, so it might be easier to find a monitor that has VGA ports and just go out and buy an adapter.  I got a monitor with HDMI ports and will probably find other uses for it after this, so it might be worth it to buy.  Some monitors come with both, so you can choose if you want to buy a new monitor or a new cable or adapter.

If you would like to connect wirelessly to the internet, you will need a wireless network adapter. This is slightly harder, and I am still working on it. Also, if you would like something to keep your RaspPi in, you can get an enclosure. The enclosure is not necessary.

For the first part of the project you do not need to set up your RaspPi, you just need the SD card.  Plug that into your computer and download two things onto the RaspPi:  : use this to download Raspian Debian Wheezy, this is your Linux-based operating system, which manages all of the hardware and allows all of the components of the computer to work together. : download the owncloud server for your computer, this is the softward that will hold your files when you upload them to the cloud.  This updates sometimes so check to make sure you’re using a recent version. : this will allow you to take any zipped files and put them all on the SD card

You will need the Win32 Disk Imager once the other two have downloaded. First format the SD card, this will erase anything on the card and makes it able to hold anything you download onto it.  Then use the Disk Imager to put the files onto the SD card; this copies the files onto the card without changing any of the setup and allows you to access whatever you just downloaded.  Then eject the SD card SAFELY, use the eject button, don’t just pull it out.  Pulling it out can mess the things up on the SD that you just formatted, and then you’d have to do it all over again.  This is annoying and it takes a while to reformat it.

Note: You do NOT need to partition anything, if it needs to be partitioned, it will do it on its own. If it does partition itself it may tell you that the SD card only can hold a very small amount of memory compared to what it says on the SD card, this is only showing you the bootloader and it is correct, don’t try to mess with the partitions. I did this and they were correctly set up before I messed with them.  Also don’t delete anything thats in that small portion of memory that may be appearing on your computer, this is the bootloader which tells your RaspPi how to start up when you plug it in. You’ll have to redo the downloads if you delete that. I had a lot of trouble with these, and basically just leave them as is. If the card needs to partition itself, it will. If you try to change it you’ll have to redo it like I did.

Now that you have everything downloaded onto your SD card, you will need to set up the RaspPi and its components.  Connect everything, but DO NOT plug the RaspPi into power until you have inserted the SD card.  Plugging in the RaspPi will cause it to boot up and search for a card.  If you plug in the card after you turn the RaspPi, nothing will happen, and there could be nothing wrong with your code, but you won’t be able to tell.

Once you get the RaspPi working, get the IP address and enter it into a browser of another working computer.  Depending on where you set this up and whether or not you connected directly to a router, you should be given an IP address that you can access from another computer.  If you aren’t getting a working IP address you may need to use a wireless network adapter which is slightly harder and you will need to tell your computer how to recognize the card and connect to the internet.  It should be easy to get to your router at home, but at work or other public places it might be harder to get access directly to the router, and security won’t be happy.

Once you set up an account you can then get any files, pictures, music etc. that you want to store on the cloud and upload them.  You do not need to keep the keyboard and monitor connected for the cloud to work, only the RaspPi and external hard drive need to be connected as well as the ethernet cable and any power sources.  You can leave the RaspPi anywhere and as long as it is on and connected to the internet you can store and get files from your personal cloud.


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