Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China



  • I work for a smallish US-based consumer electronics company and we have a very small branch office in mainland China. They are having a tough time accessing/sharing files from our US offices via VPN connections from each client directly to our office and since pretty much every service that exists for large file sharing outside of China is blocked by the great firewall, I am not exactly sure how to approach it.

    We don't have any real systems infrastructure in China. It's basically a couple of people working on laptops with an Internet connection that deal with and visit the factories/vendors for research and development and production.

    The goal is to be able to access and share large files between our US office/users and the users at the Chinese location. But also allow both of us to share with various vendors also located in mainland China.

    I was thinking of nextcloud but I don't have any real experience with it and also am not sure if hosting it on-prem would solve any problems.

    Does anyone have experience in dealing with China in this regard?

    TIA


  • Service Provider

    NextCloud is free and pretty easy, I would probably start there as a test. See how it works. Because it will sync when they are doing other things, they might find that having local copies of files in that manner works great. With the NextCloud client installed, it looks and feels just like a normal folder on their laptops or whatever. And since they use laptops and might go home and work, it solves that, too.


  • Service Provider

    VPNs are very bad for file sharing (where VPN = VPN + traditional file methods like SMB or NFS), and the longer the WAN (where longer = higher latency) the worse it gets. This is generally where NextCloud will shine. We use NextCloud for this for users between Europe, US and Mexico. Can't tell that we are remote at all. We don't host on-premises anywhere but on Vultr so there is a huge WAN pipe from that Vultr instance to everyone, but no one has local access to it.


  • Service Provider

    Can you tell us more about the types of files and the use cases that you have?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    Can you tell us more about the types of files and the use cases that you have?

    Thanks. From my current understanding, it would mostly be CAD and some image and amateur video. I imagine that we would need to have these items backed up somewhere. How are you dealing with backups from Vultr?


  • Service Provider

    For Vultr there is no built in backup, so you need to backup elsewhere (not a bad idea regardless.) We use B2 for backups. They are very easy to use. In some cases, you might take backups from the desktop(s) as well as you could easily use the Veeam desktop client for that if you had one desktop somewhere that was syncing everything, which would allow you to take backups locally at an office. Or both, that's an option.



  • I should also mention that we are talking about allowing other companies to access and upload these files.


  • Service Provider

    Now if you need tons of storage, Vultr won't make a lot of sense. They are unbeatable for 250GB - 1TB. I mean totally untouchable. Go much beyond that and you are going to want someone else, possibly your own service. What size range / scale are we talking? Less than 1TB, 1TB to 4TB, 4TB+?


  • Service Provider

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    I should also mention that we are talking about allowing other companies to access and upload these files.

    Sure, that's easy.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    For Vultr there is no built in backup, so you need to backup elsewhere (not a bad idea regardless.) We use B2 for backups. They are very easy to use. In some cases, you might take backups from the desktop(s) as well as you could easily use the Veeam desktop client for that if you had one desktop somewhere that was syncing everything, which would allow you to take backups locally at an office. Or both, that's an option.

    I use Veeam for my virtual infrastructure and for my workstation. So you are saying as long as the nextcloud client has a copy of the data on a local computer, I could just use Veeam to back it up and not deal with the nextcloud server/instance itself?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    Now if you need tons of storage, Vultr won't make a lot of sense. They are unbeatable for 250GB - 1TB. I mean totally untouchable. Go much beyond that and you are going to want someone else, possibly your own service. What size range / scale are we talking? Less than 1TB, 1TB to 4TB, 4TB+?

    I'm not completely sure but I would imagine it would be less than 1TB but I'm going to have to get more information from them.



  • @scottalanmiller @wrx7m

    IF they are not so tech users, dont let them use the desktop client. Just let them use the web based app.

    The desktop client maybe faster, but I have NextCloud in Prod with Onlyoffice integration and the desktop app keeps asking them question that they fail to understand especially when a folder is cleared.

    Also cause it tries to keep copy offline on end user machine it can create headache for users working on same files, since you said few clients just let them work directly using the web.



  • @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller @wrx7m

    IF they are not so tech users, dont let them use the desktop client. Just let them use the web based app.

    The desktop client maybe faster, but I have NextCloud in Prod with Onlyoffice integration and the desktop app keeps asking them question that they fail to understand especially when a folder is cleared.

    Also cause it tries to keep copy offline on end user machine it can create headache for users working on same files, since you said few clients just let them work directly using the web.

    Thanks for the information. I don't know how many people would be working on the same files at the same time but I could see how that would be an issue.

    Also, I wonder how much of an issue any language barrier would be. Does nextcloud have a Mandarin translation option?


  • Service Provider

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    Now if you need tons of storage, Vultr won't make a lot of sense. They are unbeatable for 250GB - 1TB. I mean totally untouchable. Go much beyond that and you are going to want someone else, possibly your own service. What size range / scale are we talking? Less than 1TB, 1TB to 4TB, 4TB+?

    I'm not completely sure but I would imagine it would be less than 1TB but I'm going to have to get more information from them.

    Then Vultr is the super obvious choice. You can go over a TB there too, but go much over and the price stops being the slam dunk that it is below 1TB.


  • Service Provider

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller @wrx7m

    IF they are not so tech users, dont let them use the desktop client. Just let them use the web based app.

    The desktop client maybe faster, but I have NextCloud in Prod with Onlyoffice integration and the desktop app keeps asking them question that they fail to understand especially when a folder is cleared.

    Also cause it tries to keep copy offline on end user machine it can create headache for users working on same files, since you said few clients just let them work directly using the web.

    Thanks for the information. I don't know how many people would be working on the same files at the same time but I could see how that would be an issue.

    Also, I wonder how much of an issue any language barrier would be. Does nextcloud have a Mandarin translation option?

    Not much to read in the NC interface. But..

    https://docs.nextcloud.com/server/11/admin_manual/configuration_server/language_configuration.html

    But yes, it has Mandarin.

    https://www.transifex.com/explore/languages/



  • @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    Now if you need tons of storage, Vultr won't make a lot of sense. They are unbeatable for 250GB - 1TB. I mean totally untouchable. Go much beyond that and you are going to want someone else, possibly your own service. What size range / scale are we talking? Less than 1TB, 1TB to 4TB, 4TB+?

    I'm not completely sure but I would imagine it would be less than 1TB but I'm going to have to get more information from them.

    Then Vultr is the super obvious choice. You can go over a TB there too, but go much over and the price stops being the slam dunk that it is below 1TB.

    I can always use it as a POC and go from there


  • Service Provider

    @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller @wrx7m

    IF they are not so tech users, dont let them use the desktop client. Just let them use the web based app.

    That would defeat the purpose and make it basically just like the VPN that they have now.


  • Service Provider

    @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    The desktop client maybe faster, but I have NextCloud in Prod with Onlyoffice integration and the desktop app keeps asking them question that they fail to understand especially when a folder is cleared.

    You sure that it isn't OnlyOffice causing that?


  • Service Provider

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    Now if you need tons of storage, Vultr won't make a lot of sense. They are unbeatable for 250GB - 1TB. I mean totally untouchable. Go much beyond that and you are going to want someone else, possibly your own service. What size range / scale are we talking? Less than 1TB, 1TB to 4TB, 4TB+?

    I'm not completely sure but I would imagine it would be less than 1TB but I'm going to have to get more information from them.

    Then Vultr is the super obvious choice. You can go over a TB there too, but go much over and the price stops being the slam dunk that it is below 1TB.

    I can always use it as a POC and go from there

    If you want an enterprise deployment with support, SAM-SD is offering NextCloud solutions, even giant ones.


  • Service Provider

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    For Vultr there is no built in backup, so you need to backup elsewhere (not a bad idea regardless.) We use B2 for backups. They are very easy to use. In some cases, you might take backups from the desktop(s) as well as you could easily use the Veeam desktop client for that if you had one desktop somewhere that was syncing everything, which would allow you to take backups locally at an office. Or both, that's an option.

    I use Veeam for my virtual infrastructure and for my workstation. So you are saying as long as the nextcloud client has a copy of the data on a local computer, I could just use Veeam to back it up and not deal with the nextcloud server/instance itself?

    Correct, that would work. You can make a master user account that has access to everything and syncs everything to the workstation. That would serve as an additional backup too. If NC dies, the workstation would be ready to sync everything back to it. But if the data was lost for reals, like someone deleted the files and that rippled through the system, then the Veeam true backup would do the trick.



  • @scottalanmiller @wrx7m

    Actually it happens when someone empties a folder (even if he emptied it for 1 moment then added more files later), the sync stops on other users and next cloud pop up asks them something like :

    We have detected that someone cleared the folder do you want to clear it as well or keep files.

    the thing is the Sync actually stops on other users till this is answered, the good thing to do then is to copy all the already files in the sync folder to the desktop for example then choose clear to get new files, so you have the option to compare stuff. I think I solved this by creating Dummy file so the folder never gets emptied but its up for the users to respect and understand those stuff, otherwise just default them to the web nextcloud app, where users can drag and drop files after finishing working on them.



  • @scottalanmiller

    +1000 on this

    I use SoftEther VPN and even if I get 30 Mb/s out of it with enc which is nearly 80% of our bandwidth, using HTTP. When transferring files using tradition file methods it is terribly slow, we are taking about KB/s slow like 50 KB/s or something.



  • I reckon the best way from here is to check the internet speed at the office in China, and the file sizes of things that will get uploaded.

    If they are big files and slow internet then you should host it onsite the nextcloud, but I dont know if China will allow other companies from accessing the site, maybe it will work if the companies are within china ? not sure though...

    If small files sizes then yh host it in the cloud.


  • Service Provider

    @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller @wrx7m

    Actually it happens when someone empties a folder (even if he emptied it for 1 moment then added more files later), the sync stops on other users and next cloud pop up asks them something like :

    We have detected that someone cleared the folder do you want to clear it as well or keep files.

    the thing is the Sync actually stops on other users till this is answered, the good thing to do then is to copy all the already files in the sync folder to the desktop for example then choose clear to get new files, so you have the option to compare stuff. I think I solved this by creating Dummy file so the folder never gets emptied but its up for the users to respect and understand those stuff, otherwise just default them to the web nextcloud app, where users can drag and drop files after finishing working on them.

    Interesting. How often are people emptying folders? I've not seen this happen, but not sure we've ever done that, either.


  • Service Provider

    @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller

    +1000 on this

    I use SoftEther VPN and even if I get 30 Mb/s out of it with enc which is nearly 80% of our bandwidth, using HTTP. When transferring files using tradition file methods it is terribly slow, we are taking about KB/s slow like 50 KB/s or something.

    That seems TOO slow. It would not be fast, but that's extreme.


  • Service Provider

    @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    I reckon the best way from here is to check the internet speed at the office in China, and the file sizes of things that will get uploaded.

    If they are big files and slow internet then you should host it onsite the nextcloud, but I dont know if China will allow other companies from accessing the site, maybe it will work if the companies are within china ? not sure though...

    If small files sizes then yh host it in the cloud.

    You can federate NextCloud systems as well.



  • @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    I reckon the best way from here is to check the internet speed at the office in China, and the file sizes of things that will get uploaded.

    If they are big files and slow internet then you should host it onsite the nextcloud, but I dont know if China will allow other companies from accessing the site, maybe it will work if the companies are within china ? not sure though...

    If small files sizes then yh host it in the cloud.

    I would not be hosting anything in the office in China. I meant on the US side.



  • A user in the Chinese office, who is an American, said that their Internet speed is not the problem and they get 100 Mbps. That seems very fast for what I was expecting. I will have to see about testing it. I would also expect that there would be some sort of bottleneck going through the great firewall.


  • Service Provider

    @wrx7m said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    A user in the Chinese office, who is an American, said that their Internet speed is not the problem and they get 100 Mbps. That seems very fast for what I was expecting. I will have to see about testing it. I would also expect that there would be some sort of bottleneck going through the great firewall.

    Not likely a bottleneck, it's probably all about latency. That's what kills file operations on the WAN in most cases.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @msff-amman-Itofficer said in Large file sharing to, from and within mainland China:

    @scottalanmiller @wrx7m

    Actually it happens when someone empties a folder (even if he emptied it for 1 moment then added more files later), the sync stops on other users and next cloud pop up asks them something like :

    We have detected that someone cleared the folder do you want to clear it as well or keep files.

    the thing is the Sync actually stops on other users till this is answered, the good thing to do then is to copy all the already files in the sync folder to the desktop for example then choose clear to get new files, so you have the option to compare stuff. I think I solved this by creating Dummy file so the folder never gets emptied but its up for the users to respect and understand those stuff, otherwise just default them to the web nextcloud app, where users can drag and drop files after finishing working on them.

    Interesting. How often are people emptying folders? I've not seen this happen, but not sure we've ever done that, either.

    Your users are smart unlike mine, I have to deal with doctors... people assume they are smart. but trust me they dont want to learn anything new


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