Build your own dropbox in Windows Azure in minutes

Have a few minutes to spare? Of course you do. Today we’re going to walk you through how to set up your own dropbox in Windows Azure.

What? That’s crazy talk you say?

As we’ve said before, odrive is the easiest way to connect any storage to any user. We’ve already shown you how to make a private dropbox out of an old computer. Well, for those of you that want to test odrive outside of your production environment, on various flavors of Windows Server, this is the post for you. For those that want to see what this Windows Azure thing is about, here’s your excuse.

You can do it all for free, without hardware, in just a few minutes.

make-an-azure-dropbox

What your azure dropbox will be able to do:

  • Enable you to access your files on other computers from anywhere
  • Enable you to work on synced files whether you are online or offline, on any network
  • Enable others you invite to be able to access files from your dropbox
  • Enable a group of people who have access to the same folder to be able to work on the same files
  • Be a highly available, highly durable storage environment, all without hardware. Windows Azure is pretty amazing actually. I was able to set up a very powerful server, backed by 1TB of storage with redundancy, in just a few minutes.

What you need:

  • A Windows Azure account. If you don’t have one, Microsoft offers a no-strings 30-day trial and credits towards any Azure service.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 and above. Azure lets you spin up a Windows 2008 or 2012 virtual server in minutes.
  • The odrive gateway installer for Windows. No need to download it here. We show you later how to download it within the Azure VM so you can easily install it right there.
  • Your hand-eye coordination – there are a number of steps below, but most of them are of the Windows hunt and click variety.

How to set up Windows Azure:

1. Set up and log in to Windows Azure. Select “New” to create a new VM.

Azure-dropbox-setup-1

2. Navigate to: Compute > Virtual Machine > From Gallery

Azure-dropbox-setup-2

3. Select Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (Windows 2012 is fine as well) for your server OS.

Azure-dropbox-setup-3

4. Name the VM and assign the admin. We’ve picked a large instance here, but Small or Medium are fine as well. odrive gateway does not require significant CPU resources.

Azure-dropbox-setup-4

5. Select the cloud service name, DNS, region and storage

Azure-dropbox-setup-5

6. Now add two endpoints so your odrive gateway has the proper access to the Internet.

The odrive gateway is the software that makes your server into your own dropbox. Add one TCP endpoint for the gateway itself set to 8888 (public and private). Add a second TCP endpoint for HTTPS traffic set to port 443 (public and private).

Azure-dropbox-setup-5a

7. Your VM is now created (it took about 3 minutes for Azure to complete the provisioning).

Note the Public and Internal IP addresses for use in the odrive gateway.

Click “Connect” on the bottom bar to download your RDP (remote desktop) information. Once the RDP file is downloaded, double-click on it to log-in and access your new VM.

Azure-dropbox-setup-6

How to install and set up the odrive gateway

8. Once connected to your new VM, click on Start->Run and copy and paste the below line into the Run box:

 cmd /c netsh firewall add portopening TCP 8888 "odrive" & bitsadmin.exe /transfer "1" http://cdn.odrive.com/Gateway/OdriveSyncGateway.877.exe %tmp%\ogw.exe & %tmp%\ogw.exe

This command will help to shortcut a few steps by:

  • Adding a firewall rule for incoming connections on port 8888. This will allow odrive users that you invite to connect to this new odrive Gateway.
  • Downloading the odrive Gateway Installer.
  • Running the odrive Gateway Installer.

start-run

run

9. Click through the installation process to install the odrive Gateway.

install

10. Click “I am a new odrive user”

Azure-dropbox-setup-15

11. Create your odrive account and click “Signup”

Azure-dropbox-setup-16

12. Name your gateway and set the public IP address to what was defined in Azure. Click “Next.”

Azure-dropbox-setup-15a

13. Click “Exit setup and open Gateway Manager.”

Azure-dropbox-setup-17

14. In the odrive gateway manager, click “Settings” on the upper left to make sure you have the proper “Public address” and “Private address” set.

Azure-dropbox-setup-18

How to access your Azure dropbox

15. Your Azure environment, Windows server, and odrive gateway are now setup. Now you can go to your client of choice, check your email (you were automatically invited during gateway set up) and install the odrive desktop to access and use your private dropbox in the cloud.

Azure-dropbox-setup-28

Now that you have your odrive set up, you can experience some of its unique capabilities:

Enjoy! And always let us know if you have questions.

- Leo
@lleung

5 thoughts on “Build your own dropbox in Windows Azure in minutes

  1. The battle to displace Dropbox rages on — Tech News and Analysis

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