Prosumers and small businesses sometimes create significant amounts of data that are the lifeblood of their business. Examples include (but certainly aren’t limited to) photographers, videographers, healthcare clinics, as well as architecture and CAD design firms. Even hobbyists in these disciplines need a safe place to put their data, and today’s options aren’t that great.
The number one choice of this particular group of people is that they just use their laptop as storage. Maybe they back it up, maybe they don’t. (Most of them don’t back it up.) If they do back it up, it’s usually a Time Machine backup to a removable hard drive. I’ve never been a fan of this option because it places both copies of the data so close to each other, and it requires manual intervention to make it happen.
Would a NAS system work?
The next option for these types of customers tends to be some type of on-site NAS system with RAID. This is definitely better than just using a laptop, but eventually customers who are creating significant amounts of data find that these devices don’t scale enough for them. The biggest challenge is when these customers want to share data between multiple locations, as these devices typically don’t support that. They also need to figure out how to back up these systems and some of the choices in this category can get quite expensive because most cloud backup companies require a commercial license to backup NAS systems.
Another choice is to use some type of file sync and share service, such as Dropbox. These work for very small amounts of data and very few users, but eventually customers run into scalability issues with many of these products. The biggest challenge is when customers have more data than what they can sync to their laptop. Things start getting harder to manage at this point.
Many small- to medium- enterprises are solving these problems using cloud caching devices that offer a NAS interface to a much larger pool of storage in the cloud. But these products are not typically sized or priced for the prosumer or SMB.
Earlier this year we discussed Morro Data that offers similar functionality targeted at smaller companies. Recently Morro Data announced a new partnership with BackBlaze to make its products more affordable to smaller customers.
The Morro Data CloudNAS system works as a cache to data stored in the cloud (public or private). The new CloudNAS offering can now store data in BackBlaze B2, that is less than 25% of the cost of Amazon S3 and its competitors. In addition, Morro Data now offers a small business solution that supports up to two cloud caching devices and costs only $10 a month per device. (The customers will also need to pay the per gigabyte fees to BackBlaze, which are currently $.005/GB per month – vs $.021/GB per month.)
Customers wanting to encrypt their data prior to sending it to the cloud, use more than two locations, or use Amazon S3 instead of BackBlaze, will need to purchase the CloudNAS Business plan, which is $89 a month plus whatever you’re paying the cloud storage vendor. In addition to encrypting data prior to sending it to the cloud, the Morro Data cloud caching appliances support global file locking between offices to prevent simultaneous access to the same file.
This price point should allow Morro Data to appeal to a broader base of customers. For every enterprise-size company, there are 10 small- to medium- businesses. Expanding that definition to include prosumers that create significant amounts of data makes that number grow exponentially. The solution makes sure all data is safely stored in the cloud for a lot less than competing solutions, while still offering NAS-like performance.