Setting Up a TeamDrive Personal Server

TeamDrive Overview

If you’ve heard of DropBox, then you understand the paradigm of TeamDrive. It provides a central repository for your files that can be shared across multiple computers and platforms. TeamDrive offers a couple of advantages over DropBox: 1) encryption before uploading to the server, and 2) a personal server that you can have “in-house” on your own intranet. The major disadvantages thus far is the limited storage (10 GB) even on your own server and the lack of support for mobile devices with iOS and Android operating systems.

Why was I looking for this type of file sharing solution? See this blog entry.

TeamDrive Personal Server
TeamDrive provides a personal server (TDPS) that you can run on your own network that will do essentially all things that their servers will do for your TeamDrive clients. They provide it for all three of the major OS variants: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

I could have run the server on my Mac desktop, but I really wanted to be able to have it all on my Synology DiskStation. That is when I ran into my roadblock.

The Problem
The DiskStation’s OS is based on a Debian Linux, which on the surface seemed to be an easy target for the TDPS software. The problem is the CPU in the DS1511+ is an Intel Atom and the OS leverages it with an amd64 (64-bit) build. The TDPS is 32-bit based and needs i386 (32-bit) libraries.

After weeks of searching for the right libraries, I finally gave up. TeamDrive support was not much help either. I gave up looking and was going to abandon TeamDrive all together. I came back after almost as much frustration trying an open-source project, SparkleShare. SparkleShare has promise, but is in its infancy and I needed a more stable solution.

I finally found the solution after exploring all types of avenues. The solution lies in Linux’s ability to host an OS within an OS via the chroot command. Using a somewhat dated and slightly incorrect guide, I was able to be create a 32-bit environment inside my DiskStation’s main 64-bit OS. After a bit of ‘tweaking’ and searching for a Debian package repository for ‘aptitude’, I was able to get TDPS running on the DiskStation.

TeamDrive Client-Server Model
Whether you use TeamDrive’s server or your own server, the model is essentially the same. The client on your computer creates “Spaces” on your hard (or solid state) disk drives that are mirrored on the server. Each Space is represented on your computer as a folder that you can manipulate like any other folder. The client software does all the work syncing the Space with the TeamDrive server’s repository.

Initially, when I was connected via my dated aDSL ISP service to the TeamDrive server, the syncing process was intolerably slow. Even after I upgraded to a cable connection with almost 10 times the throughput, I was still underwhelmed.

However, since I moved my central repository to my own server, the sync time, even over wireless, is negligible. I’m quite happy with the results so far.

The client has crashed a couple of times without obvious consequences (at least no yet). I’m continuing to test this and will update this blog entry with comments.

4 Responses to “Setting Up a TeamDrive Personal Server”

  1. Grant Nakamura Says:

    TeamDrive has finally published a 64-bit version of the personal server. I just installed it on the DiskStation and it seems to work well. This means I don’t need to use chroot to run the 32-bit version in a separate environment.

    Still working on starting the server on boot of the DiskStation. It should be much easier now. Also, I haven’t setup DNS and redirection within my intranet.

  2. Grant Nakamura Says:

    Well, I spoke to soon. The 64-bit version has been VERY unreliable to the point where I had to switch back to the 32-bit version in the chroot environment. I did update the 32-bit to the latest version (ver. 1.0.045) and it seems to be quite reliable.

    Still, having problems starting the chroot server at boot, but I’ll get that figured out. I just hope I don’t have to because TeamDrive gets the 64-bit version fixed.

  3. Grant Says:

    The TeamDrive Personal Server has been problematic on my Synology DiskStation. It runs, but is not very robust. I need to kill all the processes about once a day and restart them. The server just seems to stall and becomes unresponsive.

    I’m really looking forward to Synology’s native DSM 4.0 being released (currently in beta) which will have it’s own version of a cloud server.

    I’m tired of paying for this TeamDrive software and poor support.

  4. Grant Says:

    I’ve created a “jury-rigged” solution to the server’s frequent stalls: build a cron job that runs daily restarting the server. It seems to work fine. Still waiting for Synology’s DSM 4 CloudStation for Mac solution to mature.

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