Drobo

How to access my drobo from a remote location?

Ok, so this is the situation:

I have a 2nd Gen Drobo with 4x2 TB that is connected to a DroboShare, which is connected to my router/cable modem. Now, I want to be able to let my father get movies from the drobo to his place. He isn’t very techinally inclined, so using ftp isn’t really an option. The best would be if it was possible to somehow mount the drobo, or at least a directory on it, in windows explorer. I guess it should be possible to set up an VPN tunnel from his LAN to my LAN to join them together. The problem is, i barely know what I’m talking about, and even less do I know about how to actually do it. :slight_smile:

So, is it possible to do it the way i want? We have identical routers/modem (cable modem with built in router) Netgear CG3100. How would one go about to do it? Is there a way to configure the modems/routers to get a tunnel between our networks, or must it be done via the client computer on my fathers side?

Edit: I just remembered that I have a WRT54GL running dd-wrt. I think dd-wrt have support for vpn tunneling? So I could put the modem in bridge mode, and use the WRT54GL? Would I need one WRT54GL in either end?

VPN tunneling can be tricky to set up, and the router may or may not support forwarding certain parts of the VPN protocol. (Almost all routers support forwarding UDP and TCP but GRE is not as widely supported (if even your ISP lets it through)

There is software for windows that allows you to mount an ftp site as a drive. This is probably going to be the easiest to set up.

Keep in mind that FTP is not secure since passwords are transmitted in plain text.

I don’t know what the droboshare supports, but if possible use SSH instead of FTP and a program like Expandrive to mount this remotely as a drive on your dads computer.

Depending on your internet connection this may not be particularly fast, but it should work.

Oh, expandrive might be exactly what i need! I have SSH access to the droboshare, after i installed DropBear SSH on it.
So then all I would have to do is to somehow set up a new user on the droboshare, and use expandrive to connect to the droboshare using sFTP/ssh. I’m gonna look into that right away, thank you!

Seems like there is no way to add an extra user to the drobo share. The command useradd is not available, i even tried installing BASH and GNU Core Utils. I guess he’ll have to use the root account then :slight_smile:

Edit: I found useradd :slight_smile: Had to go to the /bin directory to use it :slight_smile:

Another edit: I got a new user added for my father, with the home directory set to /mnt/DroboShares/Drobo/Shared. Logging in with that user works as supposed, exept for the fact that I can CD my way out of the shared directory and to the root of the drobo (even to the root of the file system). Another issue is that Expandrive hangs every time i try to connect. Doesn’t matter if I connect as the new user or as root.

I use Zumocast

mattlach is right - VPN tunneling can be tricky to set up, and even trickier if you don’t have static IPs (which most home broadband doesn’t).

One thing I’d do regardless is set up dynamic host name, so you father can access your public IP without having to actually know what it is. DynDNS is a popular one. This will give you a domain name that your father can use.

Your Netgear router might have a configuration option to automatically log in to a dynamic DNS provider and automatically sync its public IP with your domain. That’s preferred, as it doesn’t require updates from a computer on your network.

So that’s step 1… Having a consistent named location for your father’s machine to connect to.

Step 2, depends.
You could…
a) Do what you just tried with Expandrive

b) Do what I do, which is a little trickier to set up, but works good for me. I use SSH port-forwarding from a local private IP (on the client’s end, so this would be on your father’s machine) and port-forward to the DroboShare (in my case it’s not DroboShare, but it’s the same either way).

Unfortunately the majority of the configuration needs to be done on your father’s computer, as he’ll be the client… Remote Assistance is your friend. :slight_smile:

  1. Install a Microsoft Loopback Adapter (this is a virtual network card)

  2. Assign a private IP to the loopback adapter. I use 10.20.30.40

  3. Install PuTTY (I actually use PuTTYtray since it lets me minimize and also has an experimental auto-reconnect function)

  4. Create an SSH connection to your dynamic DNS name that you set up earlier with SSH tunnels as follows:

  • for simplicity, I am using 192.168.1.100 as the DroboShare’s IP address on your network (not your father’s network!)
    Local 10.20.30.40:139 - Remote 192.168.1.100:139
    Local 10.20.30.40:445 - Remote 192.168.1.100:445
  1. Now save the PuTTY connection and log in with your (father’s) SSH credentials. Leave the console window open, because killing it will disconnect the session. If it eventually times out, you might need to enable keepalives in PuTTY.

  2. Open Windows Explorer and go to \10.20.30.40
    After a while, you should get the share. Use what you’d normally use on your network if you’re prompted for username and password.

  3. And that ought to do it… Now to make it easier, you may want to set up a shortcut for PuTTY that automatically connects and logs in without opening a shell window. Add that shortcut to your father’s machine’s Startup folder and he’ll be connected each time his machine starts up.

Essentially you’re “exposing” your DroboShare as a SMB server local to your father’s computer.
The advantage of doing it this way is that your father is kept in the standard shares defined on DroboShare… and it’s free.
The disadvantage is if he (or someone else) goes monkeying around in the SSH console session, but that’s why you want to not start a shell. Expandrive’s method is a bit more elegant, but the hanging and ability to get out of the defined root is concerning, especially for a commercial application.

bhiga: Oh my, thank you!

Since Expandrive seems to bug out on me, I will try your method! I have PuTTY, but I’m gonna go ahead and get PuTTYtray. I think I just head over to my fathers place, I can connect to my home router remotely, as well ssh to my drobo with PuTTY (I just tried it out from the laptop in my car, and it worked like a charm).

I’ve googled a lot before I wrote the first post, but all info I’ve come across have seemed so complicated. The way you described it, it doesn’t sound all that complicated! :slight_smile:

The loopback adapter’s a little tricky to install - you have to do the “advanced/manual” install where it gives you a list of devices, then you tell it your device isn’t there and you want to choose from a list. But that’s Google-able. :slight_smile:

Hope it works as well for you as it does for me!

Ok, I tried this out from my laptop, but I must have missed something :slight_smile:

Got the loopback adapter installed and IP set to 10.20.30.40 (Do I have to set a gateway as well)?

Connecting with PuTTY to port 22. Under “tunnels” i have:
L10.20.30.40:139 192.168.0.12:139 and
L10.20.30.40:445 192.168.0.12:445

I connect and log in (tried both as root and as my fathers user), no problems so far.

Then I bring up an explorer window and type \10.20.30.40
What I get then is “Printers and faxes”, but not my share. If I do that while not connected via PuTTY, I just get an error, so the tunnel seems to be working.

The only port I’ve opened through my router is 22, which is forwarded to 192.168.0.12 (my DroboShare), I wouldn’t need to open up for 139 and 445, since they are tunneled through port 22, right?

Will I have to alter some settings/parameters in my DroboShare? I’m thinking about file permissions, e.t.c?

Edit: I just tried to go to /mnt/DroboShares/Drobo and to a ls, but that doesn’t seem to work all that well, I don’t get any data back from the DroboShare. I guess maybe the Drobo have powered down the drives, and won’t power them up. It is however not turned off, and I haven’t manually put it in standby mode. I guess I’ll give it another try once I get home.

Edit again: If I add another tunnel, L10.20.30.40:8080 192.168.0.12:8080, I should be able to reach the DroboApps Admin (listens on port 8080 on 192.168.0.12 on my home network), right? That doesn’t seem to work.

OK haven’t had coffee yet so not sure if this is relevant, but try also doing a search for search term “pogo” on these forums and “pogoplug Drobo” via general Google search… haven’t used on myself (I’ve got a DroboFS without a USB connection) but seems people have had experience combining the two and might make it available for your without too much tech if works as advertised.

Yay! bhiga, you are the man!

I got it working from my laptop (Connected with 3G-modem) to my Drobo! Now I just have to set it up on my dads computer!

I disabled the “file and printer sharing” for my loopback adapter, Disabled NetBIOS over TCP/IP and changed the netmask from 255.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.0, and now it works like a charm! :slight_smile:

Now I just have to figure out how to make PuTTY log on to the SSH automagically :wink:
Edit: And that wasn’t so hard…putty.exe -load Drobo -l user -pw password -N (Drobo is the name of my saved session) The -N argument disable the shell, so even if my father open up the shell from the tray, he can’t mess with anything :slight_smile:

Btw bhiga, I didn’t fint PuTTYtiny, did You mean PuTTY Link?
Edit: Haha, I remembered it wrong…PuTTY tray it is, nothing else :slight_smile:

Sorry - I forgot about the disabling the protocols on the loopback adapter and the subnet mask. Glad you got it sorted.

Hehehe, yes, it’s PuTTYtray - works like standard PuTTY, just has a few extra options and the ability to minimize to the system tray (I like to keep the console - I need to ping stuff every now and again - also reminds me that I’m connected).

Have fun!

BTW: Since it seems you’re the mobile type like me…
You can use the same technique to tunnel RDP through SSH, but you’ll need to use a local port other than the standard 3389 (Windows blocks you from RDP-ing to yourself), along with an RDP client that supports specifying a different port. I prefer Terminals as it supports multiple simultaneous sessions and lots of options.

For example, if your home machine’s internal IP was 192.168.1.1, you’d set a tunnel from local 10.20.30.40:3390 to 192.168.1.1:3389 then have Terminals RDP connect to 10.20.30.40:3390.
If you had another PC at home with internal IP of 192.168.1.2, you could set an additional tunnel from local 10.20.30.40:3391 to 192.168.1.2:3389 and open an RDP connection to 10.20.30.40:3391 for the other machine.

This way I have access to all my home machines while I’m on the road, just in case something breaks, I want to schedule a download direct to home, etc.

Well, actually I thank You for that too! Otherwise it would have been too easy :slight_smile: Fiddling around with the settings for a bit made me remember every step in detail, so now I can set it up without having the instructions written down somewhere! :slight_smile:

Oh I’m gonna try that out! I’m most certainly are the mobile type, just like you! I’ve discarded the idea of opening the RDP ports in my router…tried that once years back. Found the computer trying to log in to my bank account! Won’t try that again! :wink: Tunneling in through SSH feels a lot safer!

Combining this with the WOL app could be neat!

Edit: Are there any crucial settings to do in Terminals, except IP, port and credentials, to get it to work? I have opened up a tunnel from 10.20.30.40:3390 to 192.168.0.10:3389 (one of my PCs with RDP activated). Will it work to go “through” the DroboShare, even though it’s on “the same level” as the PC I’m trying to connect to?

IP, port and credentials the critical ones in Terminals. For slow/mobile connections, you probably want to disable theming and a bunch of other things on the RDP tab.

Also, if you rather connect to the local console (equivalent of /CONSOLE in old mstsc or /ADMIN in new mstsc), make sure “Connect to Console” is enabled at the bottom (also on the RDP tab).

Terminals will/can store credentials if you have a Master Password set, though not sure whether you want to do that - depends how safe you feel I guess. :slight_smile:

Here’s what I usually do with Terminals:
View > Lock toolbar (uncheck)
View - Hide Favorites, Shortcuts and Standard toolbars (I don’t use them)
Tools > Options > More - un-check Enable Groups Menu and un-check Enable Favorites Panel

That results in a “clean” blank interface with just the menu bar.

BTW: I started using Evernote to keep track of this type of info. It’s really helping me organize my life and avoid those annoying “I know I had…” moments. Gone are the days of emailing myself. Plus it works on my phone too, so I have (and can take) notes wherever I go.