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Ctera Networks and Hybrid Cloud Storage - The Better Back-up Option

Everyone should have a back-up plan in place. For some this might mean a tape drive with daily rotation or disk-to-disk backup with offsite storage. Sometimes simple is all that is needed and when it comes to back up solutions simple helps to ensure that it gets used. For smaller SMB and SOHO customers a couple of standout solutions are available.

Local Storage First

For small office settings, just having a local NAS (Network Attached Storage) appliance available as a repository for backup will ensure sufficient redundancy. Most small NAS devices allow RAID 1 implementation, offering simple data protection. This can be the limit of what is needed, but offsite storage of critical data would be better. This is often accomplished with external USB hard drives being rotated weekly much like tape drives were traditionally handled, allowing for off premises data security. Like tape however, they suffer from the same potential pitfalls: lost drives, broken devices, or devices never taken offsite. The possibility of human error makes this method only as reliable as the person responsible.

Local NAS and Automatic Offsite Storage

The C200 from Ctera Networks is billed as a “Cloud Gateway with Local Network Storage." What this actually means is you get a great local storage device that functions just like any other NAS you might find on the market today, with the ability to store files in the cloud. This makes the C200 a perfect fit for the SMB market, where you might initially have some reservation about storing files offsite in the cloud. All local data can be stored on the appliance and then you can gradually increase offsite storage as needed. Not all data needs to be uploaded to the cloud, if monthly storage fees are a concern, only mission critical data can be selected for offsite storage.

Ctera C200 Features

  • "Bare-metal" backup and restore with CTERA Agent

  • Server backup and recovery for Microsoft applications with the optional CTERA Server Agent

  • 2-bay appliance supports 2x3.5" SATA drives and external USB drives

  • Supports 3TB HDDs, for up to 6TB of raw storage

  • Enables file sharing and folder synchronization across the local network

  • Performs automatic and secure cloud backup

  • Easily restores volume snapshots and individual files

  • Provides secure remote access to files from anywhere

  • Cloud file sharing via user invitations

  • No desktop software to install

  • Super-fast Gigabit Ethernet port

  • Ideal for small businesses and small office users

CRN Tech has reviewed this solution and found it “fast and easy to deploy, works as advertised and provides solid management and administration capabilities.”


The Other Side of Hurricane Sandy

Thankfully we here on the Southcoast of MA have all survived, relatively well, hurricane Sandy. We have had a busy few days trying to work out situations and problems that have occurred for customers with power issues. It seems like we keep saying the same thing over and over, back up, back up, back up. But as much as we repeat this mantra we still see customer problems with not having a current back up. If you do nothing else please formulate a plan for your data to be backed up. Ideally you will have a two tier plan with an external hard drive that you can swap out and an offsite or cloud backup in the event there is a critical physical failure at your location.

So once you have your back up plan what else do you need? Well that depends on your situation. Power, or the lack of it, has been a significant problem during this storm. It is not the actual loss of power that is wreaking havoc with systems but the back and forth of power, no power, power, no power. If your servers are set to reboot each time the power goes down and you don’t have a generator that is going to kick on then set them to a manual reboot. If you do not you could end up with damaging your hard drives. Other pieces of equipment that are in danger of failing during these situations are your workstations (desktops and laptops if plugged into an outlet) as well as any routers or switches. Each of these should be on a surge suppressor and ideally on a battery backup so that you have the time to save the data that you are working on.
The bottom line to remember, all of the issues with hardware and software that seem so critical now is never as important as you or your staff’s health and safety. To all of our friends and customers, stay safe and if you have any question related to your electronics please call us.

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