This idea hit me this morning. Assuming you have a decent connection at home (not ADSL or Cable that is), Amazon S3 (or Jungle Disk) makes a pretty nice back-bone for a home NAS. It is fairly cheap and you will no longer worry about growing out of your array or failing disks. Yes, I reckon that if you store your data without encryption (even in a private bucket), it may leak out. However, as long as you’re not storing top-secret government files, I think you’ll be fine.

While you could just use something like Transmit on your Mac to mount the S3 share locally, it’s not ideal for home network if you have multiple machines. Instead, we can set up a simple server (virtual or physical) to act as a gateway to the remote storage.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Install Ubuntu (or your favorite Linux distribution) on a server (virtual or physical)
  • Install s3fs if you’re S3 or the Jungle Disk for Linux.

If you’re using S3, create a private bucket. I’m not sure how that works on Jungle Disk.

  • Mount the remote drive to something like /shared
  • Install and configure Samba to share /shared to the local network

Simple as that. You can now access the S3/Jungle Disk share as you would with a regular physic NAS. Granted, I haven’t tried this myself, but it should work in theory at least. The only problem I can foresee is the latency issue. Also, you can obviously not expect LAN speed to the storage back-end, but if you have a decent connection you should be able to get at least a few MB/sec. That should be sufficient for browsing pictures and even stream a (non HD) movie.

As a bonus, you can just copy the virtual machine you set up above to another network and have access to the same files from there.