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

Exactly, and there is nothing stopping us from having some kind of reputation system much like the sales subreddits on reddit have. If you’ve hosted 10 peoples backups for 10 years, clearly there is very low risk. Now if some guy joins with a Russian IP address and wants as much hardware sent to him as possible… Hmm, maybe he’s a little off and we use our judgment to not use him

Personally for me, I don’t care. I’ll rate limit you on a VLAN to not interfere with my work in the day, but if you wanted to push TB upon TB every night, I don’t care. I can also throw you on my second WAN, in which case you could max it out 24/7 for all I care unless I need to use it, in which case I just rate limit you. Very easy to setup limiters in pfsense

Also, I generally know how much data I’ll be transferring. So if I need to push down 2TB a night, a discussion can be had if that’s okay or not with the people involved

I wouldn’t give anyone a dedicated IP address, they could have a port number for SSH, and then the rest is up to them. I’d assume most people would just have their device VPN back, in which case you don’t even need an open port on my end

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I’m kinda interested in this concept as well, having the same problem of not really having tech-savvy friends who self-host things as much as I do. I’d probably tend more towards a software-only approach where no hardware exchanges hands, but we exchange IPs/hostnames and SSH pubkeys and transfer encrypted backup images across the internet. Disk quotas can ensure that size limits don’t get exceeded. I’m not really in a position to do this right now, as my ZFS NAS on my server is over 80% full and I don’t have enough free space for reciprocation of someone else’s data.

Linus Tech Tips explored this backup reciprocation concept in a sponsored Synology video a few years ago: Backing Up Your Life is THIS Easy - YouTube

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I’d be interested in something like this myself. I do have 2 locations or potentially many more, across the globe that I can use by myself, the only problem with that is potential debugging across the globe via phone, in different time zones, without remote control, with non-tech savvy people. Trust me, I’ve done it and it ain’t pretty.

But there are a few problems with the colocation approach you propose mostly involving trust. But I’d be down for it on this forum.

Normally you cannot guarantee a few things:

  1. That the other party will not use the NAS as a VPN and use your connection to pirate stuff and get you in trouble.
  2. That the hardware you colocate will be well maintained, like on a UPS and in a room that doesn’t get a lot of heat or dust, or if it does get dusty, at least that it gets cleaned up from time to time.
  3. That the other party will not just steal your hardware, or allow you to use his connection a week or two, then ghost you.
  4. That you get the same in and out bandwidth, unless you agree not to dispute this too much.

Some of those issues can be fixed. For the purposes of this discussion, party A = you, party B = the other party. We could have each party set up their box to connect to a VPS via wireguard. Everything is plug and go, to make it as trustless as possible. Box B on network A is only allowed outgoing to the internet to the VPS, only on the wireguard port and nowhere else. Same for box A on network B. Both parties back their data through the VPS to their colocated boxes, only through the wireguard IPs.

This way, we insure that the home connection won’t be used for piracy. On the VPS, you don’t allow the IPs from the wireguard tunnel to access the internet either, they will be basically blind to the outer world. This insures that:

  1. The data cannot be exfiltrated even if the box is hacked by other parties, unless they gain access to the network A or B firewall as well.
  2. That one party does not misuse the network connection of the other party.

We still don’t get around the potential of the party stealing your hardware, but that risk should be assumed from the start anyway. You have to put trust in the people you are going to collaborate with anyway when it comes to colocation. Besides, you should expect your hardware to burn down and party B should expect the same to theirs. But the chances of both places burning down around the same time or in quick succession are close to 0. So you would both benefit from this security for backups.

One other thing. In the same country, it may be easy to ship stuff, but to other countries, it is not as easy and it’s also potentially more expensive due to tariffs and other stupid politics. So, easiest thing to do would be to make an account with a local shop there, use your own debit or credit card, or something like privacy . com and buy stuff in your name or pseudonym and ship them to party B. Party B can do the same to party A.

I’d be down for something like this, but I’m short on money, I’d like to get a nice backup location to someone’s house for some important files.

I would not really do it in the real sense as a colocation for backup services, like say, DR site where I would keep a replicated DB and HA servers. I would only use this option as a backup location.


Not at all. I have no emotions about this solution. :slight_smile:

I get the impression that you are a bit too personal and negative. :slight_smile:
I only have casual discussions and exchanges with you. I do not negate your concept, I only express loose perceptions… brainstorm… :slight_smile:

As I mentioned before, you are not the only one, I also had similar ideas and there is nothing wrong with them, :wink: which does not mean that sometimes someone cannot look at the matter from the side perspective and express his opinion. :wink:

So let’s focus on the specifics then…

How much bandwidth could you allocate per person? And the other party has to give exactly the same?
How much hardware are you ready to accept, just sbc or some rack server?

Instead of Pi, I would see Odroid HC1 / HC2 in this role, only that they are already EOL, unfortunately. :confused:
One sata disk, 1Gb eth… just right for such a project. :slight_smile: Or zeropi and larger sd cards instead of hdd. :wink:

What access to this sbc could a person have … the question is whether I can do what I want or whether it must be traffic limited to backups. How with public IP / NAT will you agree to p2p?

I have a lot of questions and please don’t take it negatively because no one is trying to deny your idea. But if you can’t even ask about such mundane matters, I see a lot of problem on the horizon.

After all, we need to explain some ABC scope and not just exchange equipment and… and what next? Since no aspects of the project can be established because you perceive other people’s discussions as something negative. :frowning:

I try to be as polite and friendly as possible … so don’t take it the wrong way because there’s no reason. :slight_smile:

About bandwidth concerns, I’m half way through my billing cycle

I wonder how much would cause concern


What about a simple storage swap over plain FTP, and allow the other person to decide how they want to allocate it? Pick a protocol that won’t grant shell access, or heck an S3 endpoint.

For example, say I want to store X TB offsite. Instead of buying the hardware and shipping it elsewhere, all you have to do is allocate that amount of storage locally for trade.