Using odrive on multiple systems (including headless) for sync and cloud to local backup?

Hi Tony, I’m very new to odrive and I’m still in the process of investigating how odrive can work for best for me an my extended family. I haven’t signed up for a premium subscription but I have been using the trial and looking at the features that come with the free version. Here is the situation…

3 Windows Home Servers 2011 - All different physical locations (used by many family members in an extended family)
4 desktops - connected to one of the 3 servers so most desktops running off SSD so limited harddrive space, 3 laptops (including Surface Pro) again limited HD space, multiple tablets & phones (Other desktops not directly connected to one of the three servers)
Office 365 subscription - includes 1TB of storage space per user
2 Amazon Prime accounts - unlimited photo storage (Have not signed up for the unlimited everything plan)
Dropbox - primarily used for document sharing
Google Drive

Here are the goals:

  1. Install odrive for each user on WHS2011.
  2. Install odrive on each PC where a family member logs in
  3. Link their personal cloud storage subscriptions to their unique odrive account
  4. All data in their personal odrive cloud subscriptions are always downloaded and stored on each of the WHS2011 Server for multiple redundant back-ups.
  5. Personal computers would have odrive installed would have the “placeholder” files only syncing what they need when the need it.
  6. WHS2011 servers are headless so upon server reboot for whatever reason odrive should continue to sync all files for all users with the respective linked cloud accounts
  7. WHS2011 has user accounts but that doesn’t necessarily mean unique logins to the server. The servers actually have few user accounts which can actually log into the server but there are many “users” of the server.


  1. I assume for WHS2011 to run unique odrive sessions for each odrive user it will be necessary to create unique windows profile for each user?
  2. Do you know how I go about installing odrive for each on the WHS server when I don’t actually have user profile/login accounts for them? (Have you used WHS before, so do you know what I mean here?)
  3. On that note, I don’t want to have to log into to each user account manually each time one of the servers reboot to get odrive working for that user account. Not only would that be time consuming I also don’t want to keep track of each users login ID and password in order to log them into the server.
  4. I do use a program called AlwaysUp, not sure if you’ve heard about it but do you think it would work to allow me to meet the criteria of allowing multiple users to use their own personal odrive account connected to the server?
  5. Obviously for the majority of the family members they would like the option of having placeholders on their own computers instead of storing everything on their local computers. Do you have any group premium licensing options, it appears the only option is $100 per year per person which for a large family can get quite expensive. I looked at the Org billing but that just appears to just allow the grouping of billing under one account but there appears to be no discounted service for families.
  6. Seems like if it’s the same annual fee per person and family plans aren’t possible then those individuals connected to the WHS should just network share the odrive folder so none of the files stored in the cloud are on their local computers.

Sorry lots of questions. I originally started this follow-up when I was looking on how to setup odrive as a service on my WHSs and came across this feature request so though I’d start inquiring on process for this feature request and I’ve sort of extended beyond it. Thanks!

Hi @jefflkennedy,
I moved this over to its own topic because it covers a lot more than the feature request thread it was in :slight_smile:

If I can summarize the use cases here, would it be accurate to say that you would like to use odrive for two purposes:

  1. Use odrive to unify storage on user systems, with sync and unsync (placeholder) capabilities.
  2. Use odrive to backup user cloud data to a headless server

Number 1 is pretty straightforward, of course, since this is the typical odrive use case.

Number 2 is a little more complex, as you have noted. Since you are going to technically have access to all of this data via the Windows Home Servers, is it an option to just have a single odrive account on the server that links to all of the family member cloud accounts? This could simplify a lot of things.

@Tony - sorry this started with a Google search on setting up odrive as a service and kind of expanded well beyond that when I found someone similar trying to setup odrive as a service on a WHS.

#1 - Correct, currently I’ve only installed odrive on one WHS and connected a few of my cloud services to try it out.

#2 - in theory it could but if I configured it this way wouldn’t I need a generic odrive user account to setup all these cloud services under? Also, wouldn’t when a user install odrive on their PC have to log in with this generic odrive account and as a result wouldn’t they the also get everyone’s cloud storage placeholders on their PC? I know placeholders aren’t large files but it still all adds up. I alone have thousands of pictures, add that to each family member and we are talking about millions of files. I guess if a WHS can store the actual files in 28TB or less then then the odrive placeholders would be significantly smaller?

I’m not sure everyone would want to share all their cloud storage with all family members but it could be a very good repository for photos, videos, PC, iOS, Android backups. Essentially just share a $60 per month unlimited Amazon cloud account and then allow everyone using odrive to share that one account. They can use one or more cloud services outside of odrive for anything they have more concerns with other people having access. That would be significantly smaller data set and likely could be stored on a free Dropbox account. Interesting, I hadn’t thought of it from that angle.

Thanks for response Tony!

Hi @jefflkennedy,
You can have the same storage account (let’s say Dropbox), linked to multiple odrive accounts. So, for example, one family member can have their own odrive account and link their Dropbox to it. You can have another odrive account that links the same Dropbox account.

Of course, it requires the user to provide the credentials to that account, or link it onto that account. If you used this method, each user would have their own odrive account, and then you would have a “master” odrive account (maybe yours), that links everyone’s accounts. only the master account would see all of the links. Everyone else only sees their own stuff. I was thinking this was doable since you will have access to all of the backed-up data anyway, via your WHS boxes, so privacy of data with a master account in play isn’t the concern here.

The master account could be the one that is started automatically on the WHS box. You could do this with auto-login, or you should be able to run as a service, although I have not done this myself with odrive, but it should be possible with utilities.

For placeholders, remember you can collapse entire branches of data set by unsyncing folders down to .cloudf placeholders. So, for example, if you had a couple thousand files in a folder, you can collapse that folder down to a .cloudf placeholder and reduce 2,000 to 1.

Now, this all being said, this is an unconventional way to use odrive and I am uncertain the scale of data you are planning on working with here. Sync can be a heavy process and fully syncing many cloud accounts, and keeping them in sync 24/7, could punish the system. I am not sure what the performance and reliability will look like if we are talking about keeping very large data sets, spanning lots of services, in full, active sync.

As you said above, if you can partition the data in a way that segments the “important” stuff from the “less important/replaceable” stuff, it would help in a number of ways. It is possible you could use odrive Spaces for this, where your users create Spaces for their “important” data and share it with you (or the master odrive account). This would allow partitioning of the data in a more granular, controlled way.

Hey Tony, thank you so much for you detailed explanation and I agree with the suggestion. You are absolutely right that the WHS would all contain both “private” and “personal” data and yes as the admin I technically have access to it all and yes I want to limit each person to only see their own private data but primarily large volumes of data comes from pictures and home movies which can be shared in one unlimited Amazon Cloud Drive linked to a master odrive account which is then setup to sync to the WHS boxes.

Still researching the spaces features of odrive sounds like a great feature, each family member sets up their own odrive and shares with the master odrive account. I’d even keep mine own odrive seperate.

The odrive master account keeps everyone’s data secure on the WHS boxes and I think I can set permissions up on the WHS boxes that family members can only see and access their own odrive folders on the WHS through a network share and also still access the unlimited Amazon Cloud account which will store all “public” files. Odrive master syncs everything to the WHS, then each family member can make the determination depending on the size of their private files to either go with a premium account so they can unsync or if there isn’t a lot of personal data they can just have a copy on the Windows devices which aren’t connected directly to WHS.

I guess I can also share the master odrive account’s Amazon cloud account with the family members and they can use that folder to upload their public files (pictures and movies).

Ultimate redundant backups. Files are sync’d to the cloud and to three seperate individual files servers in three seperate locations all with duplication turned on for these valuable files. With all this in place we should never loose a valuable file again.

Also appreciate the heads up in regards to performance. All the WHS devices are running SSD OS drives with Drive Bender drive pool with 8TB NAS Pro drives, i7 or Xenon processors and connected reasonably fast connections with unlimited bandwidth so they should be up to the task. The personal computers should be able to handle the private side stuff as it’ll be much smaller in size.

One other question, if I share the master account unlimited Amazon cloud account with the other family members personal odrive account’s which odrive account needs to be premium in order to unsync the, for example, last photos from the personal computer once they’ve been uploaded using odrive to the Amazon Cloud and as a result back down to the WHS boxes?

Thanks again, you’ve been extremely helpful!

Hi @jefflkennedy,
It sounds like you have a nice setup. For the server, I am thinking it may be best to only run odrive periodically, so that it is not running all the time. There is a thread here where a user is doing this with scheduled tasks:

For unsync, the subscription is tied to the odrive user’s account, so each user who wanted unsync would need to have a premium subscription. I know that this can be cost prohibitive in a family setup. We are working on some alternate subscription models that should help with this and I expect those to be available in the next couple of months.