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What the Cloud?

My work includes quite a lot of explaining about how cloud backup can be configured and updated and how much it should be trusted, among other questions related to redundant server-based data storage. I want to make one thing crystal clear: There is nothing inherently different between the way servers operate and the way your machines operate at home, beyond layers of redundancy, variant OS, and complexity of filesystem organization.

The truth is, at least under the average data storage and bandwidth use of a household, a custom-designed personal server is often perfect for daily needs and once it’s set up it can be just as reliable in so many ways. One perk is that you don’t pay a monthly or annual fee (beyond upgrading / replacing hardware, updating the OS and paying for internet service) and you are able to directly manage and configure all hardware and software without as much restriction and dependence on the IT staff of a cloud-based storage company.

Some folks are intimidated by the concept of setting up a server in their own home, but remember that we are here to help! Some NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives we’re currently selling include the Drobo 5N, the Seagate 8TB NAS. If you’re serious about having a long-term solution and willing to make the investment in a server rack, we could help you design a system of 1U servers that could theoretically rival the performance of many cloud-storage solutions, especially if your internet connection is strong enough. Plus, you’d be able to share access with trusted individuals in the same manner that iCloud or Google Drive allows you to.

I’m not saying that services like iCloud or Amazon Cloud Drive or Dropbox or Carbonite or Google Drive are at all inferior to a home-based server. In many ways they outperform and can withstand far more catastrophic failure than many local alternatives. It’s a bit like apples and oranges – understanding that they each have their place, and neither will ever be fully secure or indestructible. Redundancy is key, but so is security and organization. These may be unreachable goals at their farthest theoretical extent, but we must do what we can to adapt to the entropy and loopholes of the universe and attempt to keep data both safe and accessible while keeping our tech as intuitive as possible.

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