L1 Community Colocation (Raspberry Pi's, Mini PC's, Virtual Machines, Data, etc)

I’m wondering if anyone else has had an idea like this, or wants to try make it work.

Cloud storage is always kind of a pain, you have zero control over how that data is stored, and have limited access to it, and its expensive and could at any moment increase in price. I don’t have any family or friends in far away places to host things for me and even if they did, they would not be technical enough to help fix problems hundreds or possibly thousands of miles away over the phone.

So, I would love to setup something where we can colocate items for other users. For example if someone wanted an off-site backup, they could just mail me a Raspberry Pi and 16TB disk, and I could have it powered up here at my house, and they could do the same for me. Now you have 16TB of “Cloud storage” you have complete root access to, with zero monthly cost. Better yet, if you have poor internet upload speed, you can just do the first backup over your local network, and THEN ship it. And if you have poor download speed an need your data ASAP, I could just ship it back, etc.

It can be even easier than that for some, I for example have plenty of free space on my second NAS, and plenty of room for more small linux VM’s. I could easily give someone a small VM with an NFS volume mounted

We can also then do things that are really not possible without spending a TON of money on cloud compute. For example if you use Veeam to backup VM’s, you know how much of a pain it is to get it into the cloud because the Scale Out Backup Repository is junk. Well, if you have a second Veeam server somewhere, you can do a simple backup copy. It would be trivial to set this up.

I’ve tried to bring up this idea in the past on reddit, and everyone suddenly becomes a legal expert and says what a bad idea it is. I really don’t see any issues as long as you just use reasonable judgement. Some new user makes a brand new account and 1 post wants you to host something, well maybe don’t do that until you get a feel for the person. Sending lots of secret data to be backed up? Make sure its encrypted. Worried someone could use your internet connection for something bad? Throw them over a VPN. etc

Anyone interested in something like this?

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I think this works among family and close-ish friends, but falls down in larger groups.
Like lottery syndicates.
Presumably some work, but they mostly fall down as people flake out on bills, or dispute differences?

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I think as long as you don’t go too big, it can work. For example I’m not going to host someone 2u VM host. Sure I might be on-board now (I’m not) but then energy costs rise and suddenly you don’t want it, and you need to get a lot of equipment back to them

But if you do it with something like a Raspberry Pi, it doesn’t really affect me. Its small, it uses no power, it makes no heat. Its just something that can sit in my rack for years and not bother anyone. And if you do like for like hardware, the risk of them ghosting you isn’t really there either, as you have identical hardware at your side

Plus, I really think multi-location homelabs are cool. You get a really good experience doing site to site VPN’s etc, and you have free “remote hands” on the other end when you screw it up and lose access

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Oh, it is for sure cool.

And it is a great idea…

I only have an offsite box at my parents with a pi +2 HDD’s
But I trust them, and pay a few quid towards bills.
If they trashed my stuff by accident, I would be fine.

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There is always Judhinators data centre if one wanted just a machine, but it would probably cost more for 16 tb.

Oh, or maybe ask Him if he will host as a co-lo for a few, as he is doing data-centre stuff anyway?

Yeah, ask him!

@judahnator

Hey bub, have you considered co-locating boxes as proposed? Or just wanna host VM’s at the moment?

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Hmm, Amazon has already done that, but for a pro and for a large $.

But hardly anyone will spend $ on sbc and 16TB hdd and will send it to an unknown person to the other side of the world. Even if trust was not a problem, the cost of shipping would be high, plus the risk of damage / theft / loss. another thing is you have to provide some guarantee when someone else’s equipment is in your hands. Probably you will not agree to it, and even if you do, you may end up missing $ on your part.

The next step is legality and criminal liability. I am not a lawyer but depending on the country where you are probably you will be guilty of breaking the law if something forbidden is on the disk or is in / out by your connection.

From the technical side, you would have to provide a good electrical installation that would not burn the equipment during a storm, plus a UPS. The stable and wide uplink should also be mentioned. Without absolutely minimum 1Gb/s upload, it doesn’t make sense. The problem is that on a home ISP it can quickly end up with some limitation on your side as you start generating a lot of TB of traffic.

Not only you. I also had ideas of this type more than once. But it ends poorly in a confrontation with reality.

If you do, then… the sd cards and you provide the hardware to host them.

Or make a private torrent tracker and don’t send hardware but host each other’s encrypted files. Provided that you like your data fly around the Internet, even in encrypted form, it leaves a slight disgust. :slight_smile:

One of the latest ideas was to build an optimal machine with a good uplink. Lots of free space. Connect people with tailscale, give them a samba share account and a veracrypt container there. Lack of rights to operate behind the file and the file itself mount at home and as a result I have no technical ability to ever have access to this data.

The speeds will be beautiful! :smiley:
I do it in lan but to add the whole race through the world it would be massacre. :slight_smile:

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Appreciate the input, I’ve got some holes to poke in your points though

But hardly anyone will spend $ on sbc and 16TB hdd

I have like 5 spare Pi’s and a bunch of disks, don’t even need to spend money. And if you need lets says 10TB of data in the cloud, its a MUCH cheaper route even if it is more risky. It also doesn’t have to be a 16TB drive, or a Pi. It could be a 1TB drive, or it could be no drive if you agree to swap existing space or existing hardware

to the other side of the world. Even if trust was not a problem, the cost of shipping would be high,

No one said it has to be the other side of the world, shipping a hard drive within the US (Or within whatever country a person is in) isn’t very expensive

Also, there is nothing saying you have to ship from your address to theirs. I could easily go on Amazon and order a new hard drive to their address, and it would be free to do it

plus the risk of damage / theft / loss. another thing is you have to provide some guarantee when someone else’s equipment is in your hands.

I don’t see this being very high risk. If both members are active on the forum and clearly not complete aholes, I think the risk is very low. and I personally wouldn’t even worry about it

you may end up missing $ on your part.

Then just make it an even swap, if you both ship a Pi4 and 8TB disk, they can’t steal your stuff, because you have their identical stuff.

The next step is legality and criminal liability. I am not a lawyer but depending on the country where you are probably you will be guilty of breaking the law if something forbidden is on the disk or is in / out by your connection.

A lot of people would always point this out, but I really don’t see the problem. Why would I decide to host a bunch of illegal stuff on equipment at someone elses house? I’d much rather do it through a VPS purchased with cryto/whatever. I just don’t see this as much of a risk. I would just throw any traffic over a VPN anyway

From the technical side, you would have to provide a good electrical installation that would not burn the equipment during a storm

No different to your own stuff, if a hurricane hits their house and it gets destroyed then its just kind of something that happened, its not like you’d need to beef up your electrical connection to host a Pi. Hell, send a small battery bank with UPS functionality if you’re worried about it

Without absolutely minimum 1Gb/s upload, it doesn’t make sense

Why? That seems like an odd thing to say. People back stuff up t to the cloud all the time with garbage internet. In fact, its quite the opposite. Even if I was on garbage Comcast with 1Gb down and 40Mb up, they would be using the download to backup their stuff. So they would be able to upload to you at 1Gb

The problem is that on a home ISP it can quickly end up with some limitation on your side as you start generating a lot of TB of traffic.

If you have a data cap, this clearly isn’t something you’d want to participate in

I think you may be missing the idea here, the idea isn’t to start a hosting company, it would be to pair up with 1 person and just do cross backups, or whatever you wanted. The very idea is to get away from the cost of VPS’s and cloud storage providers that have to solve those issues and therefore charge you more

There would be no SLA here, if they need to turn off your stuff for a few hours for whatever reason, that should be fine. Its why its free

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I meant buying and shipping to an unknown person. Knowing a lot of people’s lives won’t do it. Your situation is a little different because you have stock. :slight_smile:

Cost is a relative concept. USA-EU or in / out Australia, however, will cost a bit.

Then what is the point of sending anything? :slight_smile:

Let everyone buy locally for themselves and just share the space. Moreover, it does not matter whether you are buying or you already have and what equipment it will be. You give 100GB, someone gives you 100GB … just that doesn’t require buying and shipping anything. :slight_smile:

In that case, the initial concept misses the point… unless you want to make some server / vm out of it and do something more than a backup. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense. And data can be exchanged today also on the basis of what you currently have. :slight_smile:

I understand your idea perfectly, but I doubt that it has a wider application.
One-to-one pairing hmm, I see concepts and ideas from the passion for IT, but I don’t see any sense in using imho. :slight_smile:

Personally, if I had to choose something so crazy, I would go in the direction of SD cards instead of hdd even despite $ to the disadvantage of sd.
You put the hub and X cards plug it into your little server and share it as a friendly backup. :slight_smile:

An even more interesting solution from my perspective was the torrent and the cumulative concept of data dispersion.
Every participant has to seed everything in order to have the same right to his data, such a collective Borg. :slight_smile:

In this case, we achieve greater reliability in both accessibility and data storage. We are not limited to one host … this kind of Level1Borg data cloud based p2p storage. :slight_smile:

It sounds like you are just not interested in the idea…

This doesn’t have to work for everyone, if you do live in the middle of nowhere in Australia, perhaps its not for you either

I just express my thoughts out loud. Not everything is for everyone. Some people smell glue and others… But sincerely wish you good luck! :slight_smile:

I think this exists already, see

Raspberry Pi Colocation

If you already have a Raspberry Pi that you would like to collocate, LightWave Networks will need to see if your device meets certain requirements. If it does, we will provide you with an IP address. Utilizing that IP address, configure your Raspberry Pi and then ship it to one of our data center locations. Provide us with the tracking information and within two days you’re Raspberry Pi hosting server will be online. Raspberry Pi colocation is only $8 per month!

100 Mbps Network Port
Public Static IP Address
Remote-Controlled Reboots
No Setup Fee!
12-month Term

Raspberry Pi

We support Australian Raspberry Pi users by providing a highly secure and redundant home in the Micron21 Data Centre – free of charge.

Those services all cost though, I’m not looking to re-create regular colocation here, the idea is that it doesn’t cost you any money

Australia is free but only 10GB :slight_smile:

Nothing is for free… theoretically, if I send you something small and in return start something up for you, I have to pay the cost of the electricity. Some places in the world, especially now, have more and more electricity bills, so compared to those DC you also pay something, the question of a possible difference in scale. :slight_smile:

If I give you $10 of electric per year, and you give me $10 of electric per year, how much cost have we really incurred? $10 - $10 = $0

Man, I get it, you hate the idea. This really wasn’t a thread for people to tell me to just use a conventional colo. The entire idea is to NOT to that…

It’s not a bad idea.

Like I said, I do it (kinda) with my parents.
Because I trust them.

Would have to be quite an acquaintance for me to allow them unfettered access to the internet from my home IP. And for me to give them even an encrypted box of goodies.

Like, you could have a bunch of mates from school, or work, or even an online D&D game, but I would suggest you build a relationship first.

But, I only say that because I want you to send me a new pi and a bunch of HDD’s, before I ghost ya…

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I’m on board with this idea.

I want to explore it a bit more. Initial thoughts: I’d be on board with hosting a few Pis and maybe an S3 endpoint. (I’d have to do some thinking on that one)

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I don’t really have a problem with anyone thinking its a bad idea, but when people start bringing silly points to try and get their point across, its frustrating

No, you don’t have to ship your stuff around the world, no, you don’t have to have a minimum of 1Gb up, no, you don’t have to upgrade your power

For a lot of people, this may very well be a bad idea. Some countries are a lot more strict with internet crime for example. I’m not totally up on the law, but if you live in the UK, this may very well be a very, very, bad idea

Heck yeah, I would love this kind of stuff. My only real condition is it has to be rack mount because I am not about having piles of computers on the floor. A quick google search pulls up a bunch of results for raspberry pi cases, so one of those and a few disks would get you up and running quick.

Prime example. I would happily stake my forum reputation on this.


@FunnyPossum lets keep rolling this idea around in our heads. I really like the idea, but I don’t know how well it would work without some commercial ($) overhead.

For example, I host your backups and you host mine. How would things shake out if bandwidth usage was asymmetrical? Say I push a few dozen GB worth of data per month and you push a few TB. How would that be handled?

Another potential problem, what about IP space? Would NAT get in the way? What if someone can only offer an IPv6 connection?

Ill be following this topic closely!

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