Building a Disaster-Proof Private Cloud for Your SMB

Paul Mah
Slide Show

Private Versus Public Cloud Computing

A plethora of applications are being considered for the cloud, but it may take at least another year before cloud computing goes mainstream in the enterprise.

I've written previously about how an increasing number of NAS appliances such as Iomega's StorCenter ix2 and the Disk Station NAS from Synology incorporate capabilities that make it easy to literally build a private cloud using a pair of NASes. This is done by deploying the NAS devices at separate locations, and configuring them to sync over a dedicated network line or over the Internet. You can read more about this possibility in "Build Your Own Private Cloud with Two NASes."


While the affordability and peace of mind afforded by a private cloud is certainly alluring, there are situations when such a deployment scenario is simply not possible. This may range from branch offices or retail outlets without Internet connectivity, the exorbitant cost of obtaining high-speed Internet connectivity at certain locations, or the sheer volume of data that needs to be backed up.


Well, the factors that prevent the deployment of a private cloud are the same ones that also rule out the use of a public cloud. Moreover, many public clouds are unlikely to offer the same transfer speeds as a mid-level NAS connected to a high-speed Internet connection. So what can small and mid-sized businesses do to protect their business data in such a situation?


In a recent email, Brett Callow of ioSafe advocated performing a local backup over a cloud-based one. Of course, Callow does have an agenda here, given that the company specializes in making disaster-proof hardware such as the ruggedized ioSafe SoloPRO storage device. According to its product page, the SoloPRO is fireproof to 1,550F (843C) for 30 minutes, waterproof in 10 feet of water for 72 hours, and comes with $2,500 worth of forensic data recovery with the cost of the drive. The idea here is that data from a NAS is periodically backed up onto its storage devices to protect them from accidents or a localized disaster.


To support his suggestion, Callow sent me a list of benefits when backing up to one of ioSafe's ruggedized storage devices:

  • Virtually unlimited expansion
  • All data is stored in one place, and controlled in-house
  • Fast access over the local area network
  • Protection against fire, flood or natural disasters
  • Fast backups for reduced RPO (Recovery point objective)
  • Fast restores for reduced RTO (Recovery time objective)
  • Ability to handle large system images for bare metal restores
  • No monthly fees associated with public clouds


Ultimately, it is important to note that a cloud-based backup deployment and backing up locally have their distinct advantages - and should be deployed by SMBs based on their needs.


And, yes, the use of a ruggedized storage device can also be implemented as an additional level of protection for private clouds. Indeed, the Synology DS1511+ five-bay NAS that we reviewed on SMB Tech last October will readily support an external storage device and can be configured to perform regular backups to it.

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