gource-graph-sept-2017

Rockstor Git Gource – project visualization

Gource is Git shiny.

Gource is an open source GPLv3 licensed OpenGL visualiser of Git/SVN/Mecurial, and Bazaar repositories over time and so serves well to indicate a project’s growth / activity.

gource git snapshot showing many names
Family Code Feeding

Wikipedia’s “A picture is worth a thousand words” page has the following:

The actual Chinese expression “Hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once” (, p bǎi wén bù rú yī jiàn) is sometimes introduced as an equivalent, as Watts‘s “One showing is worth a hundred sayings”.[6] This was published as early as 1966 discussing persuasion and selling in a book on engineering design.[7]

Rockstor’s 5 git repositories visualised in just over 1.5 minutes.

The essence of Gource’s use, at least on a linux desktop, is to initially build from the code and then point the resulting binary at a copy of one’s repository. The wrinkle here is that Rockstor, akin to many projects, consists of multiple repositories:

  • rockstor-doc – our docs in their original restructured text format.
  • rockstor-core – the main code repository.
  • rockon-registry – our docker based ‘rock-on’ plugins repo.
  • rockstor-iso – code / artifacts concerning the creation of our stable release iso images.
  • rockstor-jslibs – the collection of js libraries we use to do what js does best.

But fear not as the now 29 strong developers of Gource have us covered in their appropriately named: Visualizing-Multiple-Repositories.

“Sometimes it may be interesting to show the history of multiple projects in the same Gource animation.”

Thanks people.

This mini HowTo is essentially a re-telling of that page as applied to Rockstor’s 5 repositories. The hope is that this ‘telling’ might aid other multi-repo projects and save us all some time; at least on mass.

Building Gource

As of 8th September 2017 v0.47 was released which is the version I used here. Be sure to visit their releases page to check on availability of any newer releases. As always it’s best to resource the original text on install matters: please favour the projects own INSTALL doc over what I state here. But by way of completeness I’ll indicate how it worked for me:

Using a Fedora26 desktop:

sudo dnf install git freetype-devel pcre-devel glew-devel SDL2-devel SDL2_image-devel boost-filesystem boost-devel glm-devel
mkdir ~/Downloads/gource
cd ~/Downloads/gource
wget https://github.com/acaudwell/Gource/releases/download/gource-0.47/gource-0.47.tar.gz
tar xvf gource-0.47.tar.gz
cd ~/Downloads/gource/gource-0.47
./configure
make

We refrain from ‘make install’ to keep all our gource activities confined to our Downloads dir. (snap / flatpak suggestions anyone?)

Now we jump up a directory and grab a local copy of Rockstor’s repos:

cd ~/Downloads/gource/
git clone https://github.com/rockstor/rockstor-core.git
git clone https://github.com/rockstor/rockstor-doc.git
git clone https://github.com/rockstor/rockon-registry.git
git clone https://github.com/rockstor/rockstor-jslibs.git
git clone https://github.com/rockstor/rockstor-iso.git

then we resource Gource’s ability to create a custom-log of activity spanning all the above repos. For this we jump back into our gource build directory:

cd ~/Downloads/gource/gource-0.47

and point the binary at each of the rockstor repos in turn with switches requesting our needed custom logs.

./gource --output-custom-log ../doc-log.txt ../rockstor-doc/
./gource --output-custom-log ../core-log.txt ../rockstor-core/
./gource --output-custom-log ../rockon-log.txt ../rockon-registry/
./gource --output-custom-log ../iso-log.txt ../rockstor-iso/
./gource --output-custom-log ../jslibs-log.txt ../rockstor-jslibs/

Then back up to our new logs:

cd ~/Downloads/gource/

Next we make our repos more distinct by putting them on separate branches via multiple stream edits (sed):

sed -i -r "s#(.+)\|#\1|/doc-repo#" doc-log.txt
sed -i -r "s#(.+)\|#\1|/core-repo#" core-log.txt
sed -i -r "s#(.+)\|#\1|/rockon-repo#" rockon-log.txt
sed -i -r "s#(.+)\|#\1|/iso-repo#" iso-log.txt
sed -i -r "s#(.+)\|#\1|/jslibs-repo#" jslibs-log.txt

Now we combine our custom activity logs in a single “all-rockstor-repos-log.txt” thus:

cat doc-log.txt core-log.txt rockon-log.txt iso-log.txt jslibs-log.txt | sort -n > all-rockstor-repos-log.txt

And finally, at least for now, we can move back to our binary dir:

cd ~/Downloads/gource/gource-0.47/

Gource Plays Rockstor Repos

Rockstor dev at 20 days a second = 1m 37s:

(Less than fair as major contributions / contributors flash by but serves as a quick test run.)

./gource -1280x720 --seconds-per-day 0.05 --highlight-users --highlight-colour E76545 --hide filenames --hide-root --multi-sampling ../all-rockstor-repos-log.txt

And if you liked that, try the slightly more sane speed variant of:

Rockstor dev at 5 days a second = 5m 43s:

./gource -1280x720 --seconds-per-day 0.2 --highlight-users --highlight-colour E76545 --hide filenames --hide-root --multi-sampling ../all-rockstor-repos-log.txt

Note the following abstract of the interactive controls:

  • (TAB) key to switch user highlight
  • (Space bar) pause / resume the animation
  • (V) center camera on above user (if selected) – bit much on the brain
  • (F12) Screenshot
  • (Alt+Enter) Fullscreen toggle – a winner this one
  • (+-) Adjust simulation speed
  • (ESC) Quit

There’s also a nice selection of mouse interactions such as jumping to any time point; although this does reset the graph. While paused one can inspect the details of individual files and users, and dragging with the left mouse button manually controls the camera. Centre button toggles tracking / entire tree view.

Building the Bling Vid

To capture the raw video we use Gource’s “-o” switch.

Entire dev history in 1.5m (earlier video):

./gource -1280x720 --seconds-per-day 0.05 --highlight-users --highlight-colour E76545 --hide filenames --hide-root --multi-sampling ../all-rockstor-repos-log.txt -o ../rockstor-dev.ppm

We then encode to x264 via ffmpeg from Negativo17’s multimedia repo: https://negativo17.org/handbrake/ (Elrepo dependency) Thanks.

sudo dnf install ffmpeg

ffmpeg -y -r 60 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm -i ../rockstor-dev.ppm -vcodec libx264 -preset medium -pix_fmt yuv420p -crf 20 -threads 0 -bf 0 ../rockstor-dev.mkv

And 16.2 GB becomes 33 MB.

Entire dev history in just under 6 minutes (slightly less manic):

./gource -1280x720 --seconds-per-day 0.2 --highlight-users --highlight-colour E76545 --hide filenames --hide-root --multi-sampling ../all-rockstor-repos-log.txt -o ../rockstor-dev-long.ppm

ffmpeg -y -r 60 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm -i ../rockstor-dev-long.ppm -vcodec libx264 -preset medium -pix_fmt yuv420p -crf 20 -threads 0 -bf 0 ../rockstor-dev-long.mkv

57 GB via a similar ffmpeg command (differing file names) becomes 60 MB: bargain.

And finally the last 90 days at the rather more sedate 1 second/day = 1m 31s:

./gource -1280x720 --seconds-per-day 1 --start-date $(date -I --date='-90 days') --highlight-users --highlight-colour E76545 --hide filenames --hide-root --multi-sampling ../all-rockstor-repos-log.txt -o ../rockstor-dev-last-90days.ppm

ffmpeg -y -r 60 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm -i ../rockstor-dev-last-90days.ppm -vcodec libx264 -preset medium -pix_fmt yuv420p -crf 20 -threads 0 -bf 0 ../rockstor-dev-last-90days.mkv

Where 15 GB via ffmpeg becomes 9 MB.

Note that as with the mouse ‘time jumps’ in the interactive mode covered earlier, using the “–start-date” option, as we have just done, results in no previous activity being displayed. That is, only files changed after the given date, and their respective repositories, will appear in the resulting Gource graph.

And thus we have our thousand words.

 

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Creating a Rockstor USB install drive on your Mac

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to create a Rockstor USB install drive on your Mac. You can then use it to install Rockstor on a computer system of your choice. As you might have noticed, Rockstor runs a variety of hardware such as the Intel Nuc or ASUS VivoPC. Anyways, lets get started! Firstly, instead of following this tutorial to create a USB installer drive of your own, you can buy one from the Rockstor shop and support our efforts. Secondly, make sure you are on a Mac, because this is a tutorial for Mac.

Make sure you have downloaded the Rockstor ISO – it can be downloaded from here. In this tutorial, I will save the ISO under downloads but you are free to save it anywhere on your Mac. My only advice is that you try not to save it on a high-level folder since you will need to access the root through the command line.

 

USBMountMac-07

While the ISO is downloading, we can get started on formatting the USB stick. Insert it and check that it is being read by your Mac. You can do this by opening the Finder and looking at the left panel under devices.

USBMountMac-11

Make sure your USB is erased and journaled. This is to make sure that nothing that was previously on your USB interferes with your Rockstor installation. You can do this easily through the Disk Utilities that come with Mac.

This can be found under:
– Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utilities

USBMountMac-08

Select your USB Drive from the side panel. Make sure to select the right drive as all data will be wiped from the drive you select to erase. Once you have selected the USB Drive,
– Click on Partition
– Select 1 Partition from The Partition layout drop down menu.
– Click Apply

This will erase everything from your USB.

USBMountMac-06

There are many articles on the web showing how to mount OS X onto a USB drive using disk utility. This does not work, you will end up getting an error “Could not validate source – Invalid argument” because Apple has pretty much built this feature to only comply with their software – as they always do. Thankfully, this tutorial will help you get around this quite easily.

USBMountMac-03

Open your Mac Terminal. You can find this in your applications by opening
– Finder > Applications > Disk Utilities > Terminal

USBMountMac-09

In your terminal, type:
> diskutil list
This comes standard with Mac. A list of all disks accessible by your mac will show up. Look for your USB drive. A key indicator is the size – In this example, my USB is 16GB so it would be disk 2

USBMountMac-10

Make sure your disk is unmounted. Type:
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/<Your Disk #>
Make sure you get a success message.

USBMountMac-12

Next step is to copy over the ISO you downloaded to the USB (Download the ISO here). We use ‘rdisk’ instead of disk because it is faster Type:
sudo dd if=/Users/Nam-Storm/Downloads/Downloads/Rockstor-3.8-0.iso of=/dev/rdisk2
Entering the sudo command will require your admin password (due to the sudo – Super User do command). It will then take some time to copy your data and you won’t get any feedback from the terminal.

USBMountMac-04

If you are unsure of the location path to the ISO then you can cd into the folder you saved the file and do a pwd.
> cd Downloads/Downloads/
> ls
> pwd

 

USBMountMac-02

Finally, you should get a message of the transfer that has taken place. This can take up to 20 minutes.

USBMountMac-01

You can now check your USB to make sure the Rockstor is loaded on
That’s it – you now have a mounted USB and can use it to install your very own Rockstor.

To see how to install Rockstor, you can watch this short video.

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Backup your iPhone with BTSync and Rockstor

I’ve been looking for an alternative to back up my iPhone 5S 16GB (iOS 8.4) in order to free up space to upgrade to iOS 8.4.1 that wouldn’t install as it needs 691MB of additional storage.  The biggest storage suck on my phone is the ‘Photos and Camera’ folder (7.1 GB). The alternatives for additional storage are to upgrade my iPhone, delete unwanted pictures and videos, or put data onto the iCloud. A quick search revealed some other options but none of these alternatives seem appealing, because :

1) My iPhone is in perfect working condition

2) Deleting unwanted data and videos is too much of a hassle

3) Backing up the iPhone to Google Drive or Dropbox or an external hard-drive is not an option as I have a Rockstor powered NAS box at home

4) Backing up to a computer (Macbook for me) is not attractive either, as I prefer my photos sync to backup daily

5) Buying more storage on iCloud is its own beast.  It involves recurring payments (that I despise as these appear innocuous upfront but then sneakily add-up).  Take a look at the monthly iCloud plans in the US.

iCloud plan cost (per month) in United States (USD)

20 GB: $0.99

200 GB: $3.99

500 GB: $9.99 

1 TB: $19.99

(Source : https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201238)              

Even though it does not apply to my use-case, it is worth noticing if there are 4 users in a household, it would cost approximately $48 a year (assuming $0.99, 20GB plan per year for each of the users), and if you are a small business and you and your employees need to share photos on iCloud, it comes with its own restrictions and limit. Click here to know these restrictions.

6.  Another reason to not upgrade to iCloud or Google Drive or Dropbox is privacy.  While it is not important to me at this point, as my Camera folder contains everyday photos, but could matter to certain users.  Apple manages encryption and there have been news about recent iCloud hacks into celebrity photos and articles about hacking into iCloud.

So, it was time to look for another solution and I found the solution right up my alley – a Rockstor powered box with Bittorrent Sync Rock-on.  In this blog, I describe the process of setting up backup for your iPhone.  (Note : I’ve used free version of BTSync 2.0 for this use-case. When you first install BTSync rock-on, the trial version of BTSync Pro is automatically turned on. I am still under free-trial, but will test the behavior once the trial period expires. I understand that there are restrictions like, folder limit to 10, that apply to free version and BTSync Pro is pretty expensive, $39.99 per year, per device, so it would cost $79.98 to use Rockstor + BTync + iOS for backup, and iCloud plan up to 200GB is cheaper compared to BTSync 2.0 Pro.).

First step was to download and install Sync app on my iPhone (search for ‘BTSync’ in App Store).  The app looks something like this :

IMG_2752

Once the Sync app was installed on my iPhone, the next was to start configure the Rockstor box and start BTSync Rock-on and then sync iPhone to Rockstor box using BTSync.

1. I am assuming your Rockstor box is already setup. If you are new to Rockstor, read the Quick start guide. I created a 100GB share called ‘vinima_iphone_backup’ in the ‘rockstor_rockstor’ pool.

2. Installing the BTSync Rock-on is pretty simple. Just follow the install wizard with defaults as documented here with screenshots. After the initial Rockstor settings, its time to start the BTSync service.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.01.14 PM (1)

 

3.  Now, it’s time to configure the BTSync Rock-on.  In BTSync Install Wizard, choose “vinima_iphone_backup” for Data Storage.  This folder (share) was created created in step 1.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.39.29 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.39.16 AM

 

4.  This share shows under ‘Resource Type’ under BTSync Install Wizard.  Click ‘Next’ and then click ‘Submit’ to finish installation.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.39.40 AM    Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.39.58 AM

5.  Proceed to start the BTSync service on Web-UI.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.06.50 PM (1)             Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.07.26 PM

6.  I tried to link iPhone to Rockstor backup by scanning the QR code on iPhone and manually (by copying the key) to ‘ BT Sync’ app on my iPhone.  You may need to scan either the QR code or enter the key manually.  For some reason, scanning QR code didn’t link the iPhone and Rockstor backup for me, so I copied the key. Once the code is accepted, BTSync Rock-on detects the ‘Sync’ App on my iPhone.  I pointed to “vinima_iphone_backup” share.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.55.54 AM          Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.08.57 AM

7.  Once the iPhone and Rockstor box are synced, you can see the file transfer.  You can look under ‘History’ in Web UI to see the individual files uploaded.   After syncing, a random name ‘8079baf89ba’ was assigned to the BTSync rock-on on Rockstor box.  I changed this random name to ‘BTSync-Rockstor’ under “Preferences” in the BTSync Web UI.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.20.37 AM     Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.33.07 AM

7.  This is how things look on my iPhone.  BTSync app identifies the BTSync service on Rockstor box and starts backing up my files from my camera.  According to BTSync help you can only backup your iPhone camera roll, which was actually consuming most of cloud storage for my use-case, but yes, it may not work if you have music or other data on your iPhone that you want to backup.  Quoting from BTSync documentation  “While Android can back up data from virtually any location the device can reach, iOS applications cannot read files outside the application folder. So the iOS version of Sync can only back up Camera Roll as it is can be accessed by any application if user grants permissions to do it”) 

 IMG_2746 IMG_2749  IMG_2761IMG_2760

8.  Once the file transfer starts, go to the command line, to check the status of file transfer.  The status of transfer-in-progress and completed transfer are shown below.  You can also check the status by clicking “History” on the BTSync WebUI.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.16.37 PM          Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.17.46 PM

According to the BTSync help documentation, have the backup option always turned on “When backup is enabled, even if you delete the backed up files from your mobile device, their copies will remain intact on the computer you’ve backed them up to.” The initial set-up for backup was done within my home network.  It is a good idea to have your phone fully charged as syncing drains out the battery fast.  I was able to sync my phone outside of the home network when I was connected to Wi-Fi. Synching outside the home network happens due to a protocol called uPnP (Universal Plug and Play) which works pretty well with the Sync app.

My next step will be to empty the “Photos and Camera” folder.  My next blog will discuss that process in addition to the behavior of BTSync beyond the trial period.  Also, I will be investigating the possibility of seeing thumbnails of backed up images.

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Rockstor on the Intel NUC

Here at Rockstor, we’re always looking for new devices to test our storage product. This round, we settled on putting the compact, powerful Intel NUC to the test. It seems like a great choice for running a Rockstor based personal cloud. Intel offers a wide variety of products in the NUC lineup ranging from the NUC with an Atom processor, which is a small business storage solution, to the NUC with an Intel Core i7 processor, boasted as a home theater PC as well as an immersive gaming solution. We decided to test out a lower end model (found here) which is described as a home media cloud storage solution which is exactly the use case for my needs.

Visually, it’s a pleasant looking, sleek piece of hardware. Measuring 4.95″ x 4.41″ x 2.03″ (or 12.57 cm x 11.2 cm x 5.15 cm) with 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, as well as a 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN jack, this device has plenty of connectivity as far as home media is concerned.

DSCN0663
The front of the device.
The rear of the device
The rear of the device
Banana for scale
Banana for scale

It should be noted that you’ll need to pick up your own hard drive as well as memory as the device doesn’t come with them. Have no fear, Intel has made putting these components into the device incredibly easy. For our box, we chose the Crucial SSD 250G hard drive and a 4 GB card of RAM for the memory. To install the hardware, opening the box required just a simple screwdriver.

The bottom of the box taken off, exposing where the SSD will be inserted.
The bottom of the box taken off, exposing where the SSD will be inserted.

You quickly notice that Intel made the box with hardware customization in mind as the connectors are neatly wrapped to the side and safely soldered. To put our memory card in, we simply lift up one side of the metal shelf that separates the SSD from the rest of the components as you see below.

DSCN0668 DSCN0669

 

The NUC comes with pictures describing this entire process. For the memory card, you push the card in at an angle and then just push down and the card latches into place. I struggled with this for a few minutes until I realized how much engineering went into easing my pain.

 

DSCN0670

The SSD is then inserted as seen directly above. At this point, I need to transfer the Rockstor iso to a USB drive. The directions for this are available in the Rockstor quick start. I’m on a Macbook so I had to find my disk namespace by using diskutil list. After this task was completed, I plugged the USB stick into any one of the USB ports on the NUC and started up the box.  The installation steps for Rockstor can also be found in the Rockstor quick start. It’s a straightforward process which ultimately results in a simple command line prompt with the IP of your device to navigate to from your favorite browser in your local network. Pictures of the installation process are found below.

thumb_DSCN0677_1024
Rockstor splash screen
DSCN0673
The view after after the splash screen showing the operating system installing
thumb_DSCN0680_1024
Configuration dashboard for Rockstor
thumb_DSCN0681_1024
Part of the required Rockstor setup – choosing your time zone
thumb_DSCN0682_1024
What success looks like. You can see the IP address for my home network followed by a command line

And we’re off to the races! Start to finish the whole process takes about an hour. Just insanely easy to put together. Since I had a spare 1 TB drive lying around I figured I would attach it, create a pool within Rockstor to partition into shares for me and my roommate to use as time machine backups.

The finished product
The finished product

To accomplish this, I plugged the SSD into the NUC, navigated to the Storage tab, clicked on Disks on the left hand side, pressed the blue Rescan button and the drive appeared under the NUC drive. Pictures of this process are found below.

rescan-for-disk
There’s our disk!

After this, I navigated to the Pools tab on the left, clicked the Create pool button, and filled out the appropriate setup boxes for my pool (choosing only the new disk as it was my only disk to select).

creating-pool
Now let’s create that pool.

 

Success!
Success!

Overall, the NUC was a surprisingly painless experience. There is no OS that comes with the device (since there isn’t a hard drive), so the assumption is that people that purchase the hardware have some idea about what they’re doing when it comes to jumpstarting a home cloud network but have the desire to customize the pieces of the puzzle. This device really is excellent for a Rockstor box for this reason.

My plans with this box, as I mentioned previously, is to create shares that will be converted into Time Machines for our Macbooks for both me and my roommate (details on how to set up a Rockstor box as a Time Machine). Ultimately, this will be my personal cloud server set up for access from anywhere our newest feature, Rock-ons. If you are a prosumer, please read the overview of Rockstor as a Open source Personal Cloud and NAS server.

In my next posts, I’ll demonstrate personal cloud features of Rockstor using BTSync, Plex, and Syncthing, connecting to your personal cloud using the OpenVPN Rock-on, streaming movies from your Rockstor box, and much more. Stay tuned.

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Time Machine backups with Rockstor

With Rockstor’s recent addition of support for AFP, its quite easy to use it for Time Machine backups from Mac

I’ve been using it for my Time Machine backups from my Macbooks, and things have been running fairly smoothly.

To setup Time Machine backups to Rockstor, you have to configure a Rockstor share for Time Machine backups, and then set that share as the Time Machine disk in the TIme Machine preferences. Here are the steps to do that.

Rockstor setup for Time Machine backup (Steps to follow on Rockstor Web-UI)

  • Start the AFP service. Login to the Rockstor Web-UI and make sure the AFP service is started (System -> Services).
  • Create a share for Time Machine backups. From the Rockstor webui, create a share that you will use as your Time Machine backup disk. (Name the share with an easily identifiable name since Time Machine will see that name in the list of available disks when you configure Time Machine). Make sure that the share is large enough to hold your entire Time Machine backup.
  • Create a user for Time Machine to connect as. Create a Rockstor user that Time Machine will be accessing the share as, and change the ownership of your share to that user.  time_machine_share_perms
  • Export the share through AFP. Navigate to the AFP menu section and export your destination share through AFP. Select ‘yes’ for the ‘Time Machine’ option. The image below shows how I export my share, called ‘TimeMachineDisk’ through AFP.afp_export_share

 

Time Machine setup (Steps to follow on your mac)

  • Enable Network Volume support for Time Machine. On your Mac machine, you will first have to enable Time Machine to support network volumes. In your terminal, enter the following command
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
  • Set the Time Machine disk. Next, set the Rockstor share as the Time Machine disk. To do this, open the Time Machine preferences, and click ‘Select disk’. You should be able to see the Rockstor share that you created above, in the list of available disks. Select it as your Time Machine disk. In the image below, you can see that Time Machine shows the ‘TimeMachineDisk’ share that I created above as one of the available disks.

time_machine_select_disk

  • Connect as the Rockstor user. When you select the disk above, Time Machine will popup an authentication dialog asking for a username and password. Enter the username and password of the Rockstor user that your created above(Don’t forget that in addition to creating the user, you need to change the Share’s ownership to that user). Time Machine should be able to connect to the disk. If not, go back and check your username and password, and the Rockstor configuration steps above.

time_disk_auth_popup

The setup is now complete. On the next backup, Time machine will prepare and then use your Rockstor share as its backup disk.

The following tips are not specific to Rockstor, but general information that I’ve found useful while using Time Machine:

  • First time backups: The first time you backup data using Time Machine, it has to copy all the data to the disk, so it is preferable to do it over a wired connection. I’ve experienced much better speeds using a wired connection than WiFi.
  • Incremental backups: Once Time Machine has made its first backup, it only copies the differences since the last backup on subsequent backups, so these should be much faster, assuming you’re backing up fairly frequently.

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Access your data on RockStor from a Mac

Using a RockStor appliance, its really easy to create a shared folder that can be accessed by a Mac computer on the same network. To set this up, these are the steps you have to follow

(Note: these instructions are for a Mac running Lion OS X Version 10.8.5)

The following steps assume that you have your RockStor appliance up and running. If you need help with installation, setup or any of the steps below, the RockStor documentation should have all the information you need.

Share Setup on RockStor

  • Create a user on RockStor.  (you will use this user to connect to your shared folder from your Mac). I called my user macuser.
  • Create a share on RockStor. (I called my share music since I use it to backup my music)
  • Now export the share using Samba. This will make it visible to all the other computers on your network.
    • In the Admin Users field, enter the username that you created above.
    • Set Browsable to yes, 
    • set Guest Ok to no,
    • and make it writable by setting Read only to no

Connecting from your Mac

  • On your Mac, open the Finder, and select Go -> Connect to Server
  • In the Server address field, type in the address of the shared folder as shown below.
    • smb://ip-address-of-rockstor/sharename
    • For example, on my Mac, to connect to my share called music, on my RockStor appliance which has an ip address of 192.168.1.124, the address is smb://192.168.1.124/musicScreen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.15.50 AM
  • Click Connect
  • The Finder will connect to RockStor, and pop up an authentication dialog.
  • Enter the username and password of the RockStor user you created, select Remember this password in my keychain, and click Connect                    

 Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.19.44 AM

  • Your Mac will now attempt to connect to the share, and if successful, it will be visible in the Finder.Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.20.18 AM
  • The share is also accessible through the Terminal at /Volumes/sharename (or in my case, at /Volumes/music)

Using the shared folder

You should now be able to drag and drop files to your shared folder, and they will be visible and accessible to all the other Macs on your network that have connected to the share using the above procedure.

In my next post, I’ll describe how I use this shared folder to back up my iTunes music.

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