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How can I sync two hard drives that are not connected to the same PC?
November 13, 2010 12:17 PM   Subscribe

How can I sync two hard drives that are not connected to the same PC? More details inside.

So here's the deal: My media collection (pictures, music, movies, etc.) is stored on two hard drives in my PC tower. (The drives are separate from the system drive, for the record.)

I would like to connect a hard drive via USB to my PlayStation 3 so I can enjoy my content through the PS3 and my home theater system.

My idea is to plug a hard drive into one of the PS3s USB hubs. This drive would contain all of my content. Thus, the question: Is it possible for me to keep the content on that drive - plugged into the PS3 - synced to the content on my main PC drives? I don't want a situation where I download content onto my main PC and then have to physically sync the drives by unplugging the drive from the PS3 and plugging it into the main PC.

In a perfect situation, the drive plugged into the PS3 would be constantly talking (like, say, every time I turned it on) to the main content drives on the PC and going, hark! a new song! I will copy it onto myself!

Is this possible, and if so, how?

Also, full disclosure: Using my PC tower, I currently run a program called PS3 Media Server that detects the PS3 and will run content through it over my home network. This system runs over my home network and works...okay...the problem is that it's quite slow, mostly due to the fact that my PS3 is a ways from the router and doesn't get the content quick enough. So if I pick a song, for example, it takes about 15 seconds for the song to actually play. (The router is a G router, by the way, and I have a signal extender.)
posted by st starseed to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
In a perfect situation, the drive plugged into the PS3 would be constantly talking (like, say, every time I turned it on) to the main content drives on the PC and going, hark! a new song! I will copy it onto myself!

Is this possible, and if so, how?


I hate this question because nearly anything is possible with computers! That is, if you are willing to spend enough time and money.

One way would be to build an appliance that (a) offers its storage as USB Mass Storage device, (b) can network with other machines, and (c) can connect via SMB to shares on those machines to mirror content. All of this would be pretty easy with a linux system, the hardest part being (a). You'd have to buy some special USB hardware because all the ports on your standard machine are USB Host controllers, and you need something that operates in the opposite fashion.

Of course, if you can find (a) with the proper drivers then you could just connect your home server to the PS3 directly via USB. I think finding the drivers to do what you want will be the problem, whereas in Linux it wouldn't be too hard to write your own kernel module.

But to answer your question as you probably posed it: no. Hard drives can only talk to a single controller. It's either the one in your PS3 or the one in your computer. Can't be both. Even high end storage systems (like Xsan) that do allow storage to talk to multiple computers simultaneously use dedicated hardware to synchronize the metadata (which is kind of what my first solution does).
posted by sbutler at 1:06 PM on November 13, 2010


Note: I have no idea what options are possible with PS3; just answering this question from a generic standpoint.
posted by sbutler at 1:06 PM on November 13, 2010


One theoretical possibility:

If the PS3 is jailbroken [or whatever it's called in that world], and if that allows it to run rsync and cron [or equivalent] this wouldn't be too hard.

Those are probably two big hurdles, though.
posted by chazlarson at 1:14 PM on November 13, 2010


I'm not entirely sure the 15 second wait is due to network latency (unless you're dropping a lot of packets) Maybe TVersity as an alternative...just to see. Here is a forum as well discussing slow performance issues with mp3s (apparently it is scanning for subtitles even for music which slows the process down)
posted by samsara at 2:02 PM on November 13, 2010


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