Amahi 5.3: Storage pooling & replication, UI improvements, …

Konnichiwa!

The team has had a busy last few weeks with a small surge in growth from the FLOSS Amahi 5.3, Storage Pooling, Replication and Greyholeweekly interview and our award from Linux Format magazine, along with new features. We are proud to bring you Amahi 5.3! There are so many new features to this release that this announce should be for a 6.0!

First up, we have a wide beta release of a new disk pooling and replication technology brought by Greyhole! Amahi is the very first to integrate and release Greyhole widely and we’re proud of that. See the first of the two videos embedded below (less than 3 minutes)!

Then we have a new one-click automatic VPN tester in the Amahi control panel, a new VPN configurator for Mac OS X, deb packages for Ubuntu, plus dozens of new apps in our app store!

… and we have a little teaser video for you at the end of this post, for a new HOT app called Videos5 (also from the very prolific Guillaume, the author of Greyhole!), to encode and stream videos to your iPad, iPhone, Android devices and other HTML5-enabled browsers.   :)

Disk Pooling and File Replication using Greyhole

Disk pooling is the hottest new function to Amahi. Disk Pooling uses Samba to create a storage pool of all your available hard drives. It also allows you to create redundant copies (from 2 to whatever the max-number of disks you have in the pool) of the files you store. This can help prevent data loss if part of your hardware fails. Configure as many hard drives as you’d like to be included in your pool. You’re storage pool size will be the sum of the free space in all the hard drives you include. Your hard drives can be internal, external (USB, e-Sata, Firewire…), or even mounts of remote file systems, and you can include hard drives of any size in your pool. This is very exciting technology in Beta, so please use only with non-critical data. Hit the first video below for a short overview!

We’re Making Things Easier

  • Localization/translation improvements to 10 languages and new in this release we have the first bits of Japanese (Thanks Shingo!). This makes Amahi available in 20 languages!
  • New, much easier to install, Mac OS X VPN configuration package
  • Multiple UI improvements across the setup pages, for usability and consistency. See some eye candy
  • Installer improvements for stability and reliablity as well as usability (it suppresses some of the loud warnings)
  • App dependencies! One click installs all apps needed for one app to work!
  • A lot of updates related to building .deb packages for Ubuntu support (Thanks anzenketh!)
  • Improved calendaring, create an empty calendar on the HDA for an easy link to publishing or subscribing to calendars.
  • Get the details in the Amahi 5.3 release notes!

As usual, if you are on Amahi 5.x, you should have received Amahi 5.3 already via automatic update (unless you turned them off).

Cheers!

The Amahi Team

Video: Storage Pooling and Replication with Greyhole

Teaser for the Videos5 app in beta

Encode and stream videos to your iPad, iPhone, Android devices and other HTML5-enabled browsers.

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15 comments

  1. Michael Guldhammer Apr 27

    I’m still waiting for a Standalone version of Amahi.

  2. Krowbar Apr 27

    Groovy! I really do have to try and set up an Amahi server some time this summer. Trying to get it to work in a VM just wasn’t working. :(

  3. sc4s2cg Apr 27

    Ecstatic for the new html5 app! Streaming vids to iPhone and out of network laptops is a great, great function!

  4. Fred Thompson Apr 27

    Can drives be hot-swapped with GreyHole? It seems to say all drives must be present. Static non-essential files would be more efficiently stored on files which are connected when needed. Why not incorporate FlexRAID http://www.openegg.org/FlexRAID.curi and get both approaches?

  5. Jon D. Carson Apr 27

    Wow. You guys rock. Amazing selection of options for replication. I think that you folks should be promoting Android compatibility ahead of iStuff (Open Source vs. Lock down proprietary) Keep up the great work.

    JC

  6. Tim Fehlman Apr 27

    Once again, WOW! Greyhole is going to make life a lot easier.

    Now, my assumption is that Greyhole will work with any mounted volume, not just drives present in the system, including mounted NFS & SMB shares connected via a VPN. This way, I could create an on-the-fly offsite backup solution!

    Thanks for all the work!

    Tim

  7. julian Mejia Apr 28

    ya man! my respects! thats cool. I’m loving the video presentations. I hope to see more of that .-)

  8. Guillaume Boudreau Apr 28

    @Fred Thompson:
    Not sure what’s your use-case exactly, but it seems you want to store some files on a hard-drive that will sometimes be offline?
    This is far from the focus of Greyhole, but I guess you *could* use it this way…
    There’s a ‘sticky files’ options that allow you to decide on what hard drive you want to store the files found in a particular directory, so you could say all files in your “Backup” shares should be stored in /media/usbdrive1, for example.
    Then, if you disconnect that drive, Greyhole will complain, but will offer you the option to not-recreate the file copies that are gone because of that (using the –gone-ok command line option).
    But then, even if you use that drive for the files in your “Backup” share, there’s nothing stopping Greyhole from storing other files in there too (if there’s available space).
    Like I said, this is far from what Greyhole was created for, so there might be other solutions that are better for your needs.

    @Tim Fehlman:
    Yes, you could in theory use remote filesystems in your Greyhole pool.
    But there is a problem with using remote SMB shares in the Greyhole pool at this time:
    Symlinks to remote SMB shares are unreadable when access through a Greyhole share.
    This means you could backup to remote file systems, but you won’t be able to read those files through your Amahi shares; though you’ll be able to read them from the HDA itself.

    I filed a bug in the Samba bug tracker, but didn’t receive any response yet regarding that.
    Details are here: https://bugzilla.samba.org/show_bug.cgi?id=7293

    I didn’t try with remote NFS mounts, so I’m not sure if those are problematic or not.
    If you try, please report back. Thanks.

  9. Robert Apr 29

    While it is interesting to see people trying to duplicate the windows home server file system and a working implementation of such a file system would make life a lot easier it seems a bit strange to include this project in the current release. As the project page states, this is a PoC and not production ready. If that is the case, it seems like people are jumping the gun by making this feature immediately available to “ordinary” users. I don’t know if I would trust my precious files (that I want stored multiple times) to something that “should” work…..

  10. cpg Apr 29

    @Robert

    Good point.

    – We have been careful to label it as the first “wide beta” availability
    – We put it under advanced options, and
    – We also put a strongly worded warning on the “main entrance” to the pool management page.

    In addition, the core team and some testers have been using it for a while, reporting bugs and seeing the fixes implemented.

    When we originally looked at Greyhole, it seemed like a stretch to bring it to Amahi, because it seemed less mature than we really could take on. Since then, we have been very pleasantly surprised at how it has been simplified in the following ways:

    – packaged nicely for release (as an rpm)
    – handles updates nicely
    – no dependencies with MySQL (uses sqlite now in Amahi by default)
    – daemon is run as a service
    – etc. etc.

    The two issues we have are a) runs in PHP and b) migrations of it’s data structures. For a) I personally looked through the code and did some changes to it and it looks OK. For b) we decided to go with this, because it’s not expected to have data structure changes in a while.

    As to “duplicating” things from other systems, not only Greyhole is better than others (it can do N-replication, not just duplication), it actually has not been known to corrupt user data (which others had).

    We do need to get some mileage under Grehole to leverage how great it is, but yes, do not use it with precious data.

  11. Bruce May 19

    While it is interesting to see people trying to duplicate the windows home server file system and a working implementation of such a file system would make life a lot easier it seems a bit strange to include this project in the current release. As the project page states, this is a PoC and not production ready. If that is the case, it seems like people are jumping the gun by making this feature immediately available to “ordinary” users. I don’t know if I would trust my precious files (that I want stored multiple times) to something that “should” work…..

  12. Jeff Jun 2

    Any idea when Greyhole and VideOS5 will be out of beta? Really amazing stuff, guys. This makes Amahi even more powerful. It’s a Drobo+VPN+iTunes server+movie streamer+……..you get the idea. Amazing stuff!

  13. cpg Jun 3

    Greyhole continues improving. We have one minor issue, which is when a new pool is set up, it seems it can overload the queue with requests.

    Videos5 is looking good. We need a bit more feedback from testers :)

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