Posts tagged ‘cloud storage’
If you are considering a cloud storage solution for your home use, there are a variety of resources for you to peruse to make the most informed decision. We keep a list of the consumer focused offerings in our directory of cloud storage services for individuals, but some other sites have more comprehensive reviews.
One that seems like a useful cheat sheet is OnlineStorage.org. This site has a number of useful links and reviews of seven major cloud storage players in the consumer space. The detailed review of each offering provides the pros and cons of the various options. Check out a sample: online storage review for ElephantDrive.
There are several new companies working to combine ultra-fast local storage with feature-rich cloud storage, which we will be profiling in the coming weeks (keep your eyes open for a new category in our Directory specifically built for NAS-cloud hybrids). There are also some existing companies who are believers in the power of hybrid local/cloud solutions – please let us know your favorites…
These are some of the companies or products we think fit the bill: Nasuni Filer, Ctera Cloud Plus , NETGEAR ReadyNAS Vault, Nirvanix CloudNAS, JungleDisk Map Drive, ElephantDrive Map Drive. Who are we missing?
Amazon announced a new option for its S3 cloud storage service that could change the game for online data management.
The new service is called RRS, for Reduced Redundancy Storage. Instead of the ultra-reliable storage offering that comes standard with S3 (an astounding 99.99999999% of reliability, though only 99.9% of availability), RRS promises 99.99% reliability. In this sense, reliability means durability and integrity (that the object will be intact in the exact form that you put it there originally). Amazon CTO Werner Vogels posted on the topic yesterday. Why would you ever want this? Price.
RRS starts off 33% cheaper than normal S3, making it much more attractive if you don’t need to the extreme levels of reliability. This could make Amazon storage a real option for a whole new class of data.
Managing large amounts of data is very challenging technical endeavor, but for many cloud storage providers the volume of data they are tasked with protecting and maintaining is so large that it presents unique challenges.
One of those particularly daunting issues is “silent data corruption.” This topic is discussed by Zetta CTO Jeff Whitehead in a recent blog entry. Whitehead’s excellent description of the problem and how to analyze it includes a calculator to help estimate the probability of random disk failures – this should be required reading for any system administrator or architect of a cloud storage solution. If you’ve built one and this is news to you – you (and your customers) are in trouble…
We included a large excerpt below (Jeff: let us know if you would prefer we take it down):
IT professionals are well aware of many challenges related to scaling storage: capital required to house data, manage backups, data center space, power and cooling. One area many IT professionals haven’t had time to look at, however, is how increasing data footprints translate into increased risk of data loss or data corruption. To put this in context, IDC recently reported that data volumes will increase by a “factor of almost five,” while “total IT budgets worldwide will only grow by a factor of 1.2 and IT staff by a factor of 1.1.” In this context of constraints, being asked to do more with less, without special attention to data risk management, risk inevitably increases.
I believe that many IT professionals and CIO’s will be very surprised to see that while Data Loss (ie, simultaneous drive failures) may not be very probable, Data Corruption (the data on disk is no longer what was originally written out by the application) is shockingly likely, and has caused outages for even some of the most technologically advanced high end environments.
The objective of this blog is to introduce or reintroduce the concept of “Mean Time To Data Loss (MTTDL),” whereby IT professionals, CIOs, and risk managers can create a probabilistic model for evaluating the reliability and probability of data loss for your current environment, and also compare and contrast with how Zetta is advancing the state of the art for cost effective data protection.
MTTDL is a tool, and to be effective one must understand its limitations. The inputs to the model are as follows:
The number of hard drives (data set size/system performance)
The reliability of each hard drive
The probability of reading a given hard drive correctly without error (see prior blog about silent data corruption)
The redundancy encoding of the system
The rebuild rate.
Mean Time to Data Loss is in many respects a best case scenario, because it ignores risks to data integrity such as fire, natural disaster, human error, and other common causes of storage failures. It also ignores autocorrelation¸ or drives failing at the same time due to similar workload, similar manufacturing batches, firmware issues, or the like. Despite these limitations, MTTDL is still one of the better tools for evaluating the data protection features of a storage system.
Online backup company Carbonite alerted the public that it had lost data belonging to over 7,500 customers over a number of separate incidents by filing a law suit against a hardware vendor and systems integrator. Carbonite claims that the cloud storage disaster was the result of $3M in faulty equipment provided by Promise Technology Inc. and has brought suit in Suffolk County. The Boston Globe reports that Promise denies any wrongdoing or liability.
Regardless of the outcome, events like this do not bode well for cloud storage providers. Failures, regardless of who is at fault, damage the critical consumer confidence that cloud storage requires to thrive. The impact of this breakdown, from a well-funded (the Globe indicated that Carbonite has raised over $46m) and well-known player in the online backup space, remains to be seen.
Thoughts? Please let us know what you think…
Earlier this week at the German trade show CeBIT, networking solutions provider Netgear (NASDAQ:NTGR) announced their entrance into the cloud storage space. In an extension of their fast growing network attached storage product, the ReadyNAS, the firm is offering a cloud based data protection service that comes pre-installed on new devices. A spokesperson described it as “the first NAS-Linked Online Disaster Recovery for consumers and SMBs.”
Closer inspection reveals that the service is delivered by existing cloud storage player ElephantDrive. The details of the partnership were not disclosed, but it looks like the accounts will differ dramatically from the regular small business storage accounts profiled in our directory.
As happens once every few months, the Gdrive rumor mill began to churn again today. This time a blogger at Search Engine Land (SEL) declared “It’s Alive”, based largely on a pretty vague comment made by Gmail Product Manager Todd Jackson in an interview with CNET.
Our take? This is a pretty big leap. The comment Jackson made could simply mean tighter integration with Google Docs and a larger file size limit. Either way, Google is scaling back its new product development so it is unclear how these goals fit into their product road map. Based partly on the research that suggests that users aren’t fully comfortable with the ad-supported services for their personal files, we think this could produce a very interesting delineation.