Set up a multipurpose home server

Sync Files

Another popular use of the Amahi server is to sync data from a mobile device. For example, if you take a lot of photographs from your mobile phone, you can configure it to automatically upload the photographs from your phone to an Amahi Share. The Amahi Sync app from the developers of the server is designed for this very purpose. However the app, unlike the server, is a paid app and is available only to Pro ($7.95/month) and Ninja ($15.95) users [4].

The premium accounts offer other benefits as well, but if you're just interested in the sync facility, you can get it for free using the ownCloud 10 and Pydio apps. Both of these apps are available for free in the Amahi app store and come with the ability to sync data. To begin the process of syncing files, log into the Amahi server and click the Apps link in the top bar. Browse the list and install either the Pydio or ownCloud app [5]. Once the app is installed, make a note of their respective default login credentials. Now log into the app and create a folder that will house the synced images. Let's use ownCloud 10, which by default displays a handful of folders. Click on the + icon at the top to create a new folder where you want to keep the uploaded images.

Next head to the Play Store in your Android device and install the Synchronize Ultimate app [6]. The freely available ad-supported version of the app lets you sync data between your Android device and several data hosting servers including Pydio and ownCloud. Fire up the app and tap the Remote accounts option to connect the app with the ownCloud installation on the Amahi server. Tap on the + icon to bring up a list of supported services. Next, you can browse the list and tap the ownCloud option. The app will then ask you for the ownCloud host and authentication information. The host is the short-name for the ownCloud service running atop Amahi. After entering the information, tap the floppy icon at the top to save the details and return to the main menu.

Now tap on Profiles to define the sync task. Again, tap on the + icon to set up the profile. First, is the General tab, which prompts you for the name of the profile. Next is the Sync Type, which defines the direction of the synchronization. The default left-to-right option will sync data from the source defined in the left tab to the destination defined under the right tab. There's also a right-to-left sync option and a two-ways bidirectional sync that will make sure the content under the source and destination folders are mirrors of each other.

For our task, we'll first define the left-to-right profile with the left tab being our Android phone and right tab being the ownCloud folder on Amahi. After defining the general parameters, switch to the Left Side tab and use the Account pull-down menu to select the Internal option. Tap the Browse button to navigate to the folder that stores the images you've clicked, then switch to the Right Side tab, and again bring up the Account pull-down list. This time, tap the ownCloud option.

When you now tap the Browse button, the app will establish a connection to the ownCloud instance on the Amahi server and fetch a list of folders on the remote server. Navigate the filesystem and tap on the folder you created earlier to house the images. Tap on the floppy icon to save the changes and return to the page that lists the sync profiles. You'll find a Play icon adjacent to the profile you've just created. When you tap the icon, the app will connect to the remote ownCloud installation and save all the images from your phone to the Amahi server (Figure 8).

Figure 8: The ad-supported version of Synchronize Ultimate lets you create a maximum of two sync profiles.

Explore the app and create other types of tasks to keep a folder synchronized with the data on the Amahi server. We've only looked at a fraction of the things you can do with your Amahi home server. You can explore and flesh out the server with several other apps (see the "Other Useful Apps" box) to put the server to creative use.

Other Useful Apps

Besides the ones already mentioned, several other apps can enhance the productivity of your Amahi home server. Disk Stats visualizes the disks connected to Amahi. If you download Linux distributions via torrents, install the qBittorrent app to manage your downloads using its excellent web interface. For a bit of nostalgia, you can install the ArcademSX Game Pack 1 & 2, which are collections of classic arcade games, such as Pacman, Mario Bros 2, Sonic the Hedgehog, Treasure Chain and more.

Advanced users should install the HDA Troubleshooting Tools app, which adds the ifconfig, nslookup, and netstat command-line utilities to the Amahi server to help troubleshoot networking issues. If you are running Amahi on a headless server, install the Shell-In-A-Box app, which is a browser-based terminal emulator and saves you the effort of firing up a terminal and initiating a SSH connection for remote administration. Finally, if you are using Amahi to dole out DHCP addresses to the computers in your network, you can use the Wake-On-LAN server app to remotely boot and power down any connected computer on your network.

Infos

  1. Amahi: http://www.amahi.org
  2. Download Fedora 23 ISO: https://tinyurl.com/f23iso
  3. Backup tools: https://tinyurl.com/linux-backup-tools
  4. Amahi Premium plans: https://www.amahi.org/plans
  5. ownCloud for Amahi: https://tinyurl.com/amahi-owncloud
  6. Synchronize Ultimate: https://tinyurl.com/sync-ultimate

The Author

Mayank Sharma is a technology writer. You can read his scribblings in various geeky magazines on both sides of the pond.

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