More on Consumer Home Storage
by Michael Hay on Aug 18, 2009
So since I talked about my iTunes woes I’ve been finding continued mention of solving the problem of dealing with bulk data in the home. Here is another article, from Australia this time, talking about the virtues of home based consumer NAS. Heck even my own company has an offering in this space, which is really a little device that you stick in front of a consumer USB-HDD to make it network accessible. (However, I’m still waiting for proper media management software for the home.) As expected, the article I mentioned above talks about the virtues of backing up your home network to a central NAS device so that in the even of a local computer disaster. I do find one interesting point that is brought up and that is that consumer NAS does not protect against a fire or other related disaster. Fortunately Hitachi and others have worked to solve this problem by linking the system to an online storage service, Fabrik in the case of Hitachi.
Comments (2 )
In this post you touch again on one of the problems of the increasing amount of data that we all have at home – backup. You mention Fabrik, but I think that for the average consumer there are still two significant problems with online backup: a) security; and b) bandwidth.
It can be argued that for the consumer, security of an online backup is largely an issue of perception: if the consumer has a contract with a reputable supplier who in turn uses modern encryption then their data should be safe from prying eyes. However, there are other subtle issues in this area as well, such as would I really want my data to be held offshore, within the jurisdiction of another government?
Bandwidth is a major issue once you have a reasonable amount of data – I have something like 500GB on a NAS at home, and the vast majority of it is hard to compress files such as photos, music and already compressed backups of client machines. That means that bandwidth required for online backup and restore makes a Fabrik style solution impractical at the moment. From their own FAQ:
“For a typical system on a typical broadband line, Fabrik Ultimate Backup backs up data at about 2-4 GB
per day. But if left undisturbed on a fast connection, you can back up over 9 GB in a single day.”
So at “typical” speeds (which is unlikely given I would have a transatlantic hop) that would be 125 days to do the initial backup, and after a disaster another 125 days to get the data back. Hmm…
Maybe you could blog on the bandwidth problem in the future?
Simon, yes I think that there are a lot of issues in the area of bandwidth required to handle online backups or storage. However, perhaps they aren’t any different than what corporations experience except on a smaller scale. Issues like the cost of the pipe, picking the right data set to replicate into the “cloud”, and ensuring that you can actually do the restore I think are universal issues regardless of it being home or business. For instance for near perfect sync replication to work dark fiber is required between sites to keep up with the volume of data. This is an expensive solution to say the least.
Personally, I have about 3.3TB of raw disk storage for a variety of purposes and I have to say that I’m highly considering getting two more drives to backup the data and then rotate them between the US and Japan whenever I travel between the two countries.