The purpose of this post (series of posts!) is to gather information about how you, the community, use your home lab and home server(s). That’s a huge topic. So I’ve broken it into a bunch of sub-topics, linked to below. Put the reply in the most appropriate sub-topic but if you don’t see something, say something.
I’d like to start and maintain a guide, both a wiki of sorts and a curated list, of all the available software one could add to a home server to do a lot of common ‘home server’ tasks.
My vision of The Ultimate Home Server is basically a non-cloud AI that Does Everything. But down here in reality, we aren’t there yet. There is no One Program to do everything. So let’s talk about what we like, and dislike, about a lot of popular purpose-specific open source programs.
Eventually we might be able to package some of these up into an add-on for something like TrueNAS; packaged commercial systems like what Synology provides is also kind of close to this. I would say those systems are adjacent to the ideal system in my mind – lot of in-common features – but we can do better by designing the system with different goals.
What might you want in the ultimate home server?
Home Automation (link to thread)
– home assistant
– link to IoT series
Home & Cloud PC backups
– full disk imaging of PCs
– maintain “retired” PCs at bootable VMs “just in case”
– synchronize cloud services for offline backups
– functionality for offline backup (i.e. usb disk rotation?)
Music & Media hosting
– what’s good
– what doesn’t require cloud services
– things like NextCloud can tick a lot of boxes here
– Organize all your Adulting Stuff like bills, taxes, retirement, etc
– host your own VPN to connect back to home resources
– perhaps the most important aspect of my home server is that it is my brain outside my brain. I need a wiki to store stuff and keep track of things. I need something to store and keep track of my books BUT ALSO my notes in books.
– love something that integrates with all my old written notes that have been digitized. Used LiveScribe for almost a decade. The new pens don’t do it for me anymore, though.
Things that would be nice to have:
– for things like secure online banking or one time use
Easily create disposable VMs that are fully patched up
Wifi Portal Landing Page
– offer guests access to… the printer? The media server? The remote coffee pot? Not a captive portal per se, but just a landing page letting home guests know how to interface with the TV in their room, the network resources, etc.
What platform makes sense to host this? Obviously a robust platform that supports not just virtualization, but also containers for automation.
In an ideal world all of these components would also support federated login/user accounts.
Sure TrueNAS can install Emby and NextCloud… but can I manage users from one control panel? No. Commercial solutions such as NAS units from Synology go some ways to address this kind of thing, but often the actual implementation is a bit hacky.
One would hope that, after enough traction, we could just provide a pluggable auth module for the open source projects that are most popular with our community.
Someone brought this to my attention; it is awesome: