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I have a lot of files. A HUGE Aperture library, lots of design work from Photoshop, and a rather large iTunes library too. I really want to get a Drobo FS, the networked one, to store all of my stuff on, so that I can get to it from my MacBook Air (which obviously with its minuscule 64GB drive can't hold my Aperture library by itself) and my iMac which is my main powerhouse.

The dealbreaker for me is that I NEED to be able to access my Aperture library, and especially my iTunes library from across the internet. I understand that it will probably be slow and everything, but there's nothing else I can do besides hauling around a huge hard drive with me.

So, is there any way I can somehow share my Drobo across the internet, on a VPN or something? My other alternative is to upload everything to my web host, FatCow, which offers unlimited disk space (something I hope to make them regret) and then access it using Expandrive. My only thoughts with this are that with the Drobo, any work that I do locally will be much snappier than if I have to work everything off the cloud. Any suggestions about alternatives would also be welcome.

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You want to be able to "access your data" or you want to be able to "mount the Drobo FS as a drive" across a WAN? Important distinctions. Also: how is your Drobo FS networked? On a router? What kind? Home grade? Small business grade? Behind a firewall? Firewall with rules for punching holes? Router with a DMZ? – Ian C. Jan 6 '11 at 21:14
Like I said I don't have a Drobo. They are very expensive and I don't want to buy one unless I can be sure it will work. I've got a linksys router WRT610N. I want the drobo to be on my local network like a network drive, so I can fast access the data over my Wireless-N system, but I also want to be able to remotely access the data (mounted like a regular drive, because that's the only way apps will work with it) across the internet. – SeniorShizzle Jan 7 '11 at 9:18
In leu of the $600+ drobo and VPN solution, I decided to go with a Strongspace account and ExpanDrive instead. I got the 45GB solution which should be big enough for at least my iTunes library. As for Aperture, I think I'll keep my library on my WD passport because RAW files are huge, and they take long enough to load as it is. – SeniorShizzle Jan 9 '11 at 6:16
up vote 3 down vote accepted

A VPN setup is probably the easiest to do both simply and securely.

A lot of places block CIFS connections because it is commonly seen as a major security hole to allow such traffic out to the public Internet. AFP might make it out of most firewalls simply because a lot of firewall admins don't think about AFP when constructing their outbound block-lists. Even so, poking holes in your router to allow either protocol in to the Drobo without some kind of network-level authentication is a Bad Idea.

A VPN represents a set-once-and-forget kind of solution. Once you get it running, all you need to do is fire it up when you need access; no need to twiddle firewall settings to reflect your current incoming IP address.

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Do you think that a VPN and filesharing the networked drobo from Mac OS X Server would be quick enough to work with things like Aperture and iTunes? – SeniorShizzle Jan 8 '11 at 4:38
I don't know Aperture well enough to guess, but iTunes shouldn't be a big problem. WAN-speed will be the biggest variable, VPN-overhead shouldn't be that great. – SysAdmin1138 Jan 8 '11 at 4:49

Another alternative is to use SSH tunneling that way you can mount any of the drobo shares to your pc/mac wherever you are. Regarding ability to work with Aperture or any other space/bandwidth consuming app - it's all un to your internet speed at home and at the point you're at.

I'm watching HD movies at work from my drobo which is at home without any lags or problems..

More info on how to create the tunnel:

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Using the Drobo-FS on home network port forward 445 to the IP of the Drobo then connect as you normally would using either your home ISP static IP or using to configure a dynamic IP address resolving to a constant host name.

\\[static ip or hostname]\[sharename]\

Even DMZ your Drobo FS.

NFS offers greater speed and reliability using a lot less overhead allowing for a faster constant stream of information.

Use Drobo Apps to create NFS shares.


  • cmd+k
  • nfs://[hostname or static ip]:/mnt/DroboFS/Shares/[sharename]


  • Install the NFS Client
  • Start cmd.exe
  • mount [ip or hostname]:/mnt/DroboFS/Shares/[sharename] [drive letter]

I am in no way saying this is the most secure it is just something to think about possibly able to use.

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