If a couple of years ago the question was whether to use cloud storage or not, now the question is more whether it is better to use commercial cloud storage or build your own cloud.
While the option to build your own cloud might sound awfully difficult to implement, thanks to leading manufacturers of Network Attached Storage (NAS), such as Seagate, DLink, or Western Digital, who offer “personal clouds” or “private clouds”, this isn’t a difficult task anymore.
When you add to this the numerous benefits of your own cloud, the decision whether to create your own cloud or not becomes an easy one. Here are 5 reasons why you should create your own cloud.
One of the disadvantages of cloud storage its critics never get tired to emphasize is security. While clouds per-se are not necessarily insecure, when poor practices couple with poor management and lack of technical expertise in cloud staff, incidents are bound to happen. Dropbox is frequently in the news because of security incidents of all sorts and so are other cloud providers.
Of course, this does not mean cloud storage is insecure but when you know about all the potential security risks, the idea what might happen to your data stored somewhere in the cloud is hard to chase away.
When you create your own cloud, you (and your employees) are the individuals with access to it. If you know how to secure your cloud, then you can be 99 percent certain there will be no unauthorized access to your data. For many companies and individuals this benefit alone is more than enough to create their own cloud.
More Control and Flexibility
Control freaks will love the idea to have their data in their own hands. However, you don’t need to be a control freak in order to want this. When you have full control over your cloud, you can make decisions, such as what and when to deploy, when to upgrade, how many users to allow, what security measures to take, etc. This gives you more flexibility because when you want something done, you just do it, rather than rely on third-parties to have it done for you.
Also, if you need a particular cloud app, and your cloud provider doesn’t offer it, this is no problem at all when you have your own cloud and can deploy whatever apps you want. One of the critical areas control matters most is backup. With your own cloud you are in control of backups – you can backup as frequently as you want whatever you want.
However, more control comes at a price – the more control you have, the more responsibilities you have. For instance, when a software upgrade is urgent to implement, you (or your IT admin) do it yourself (preferably right away, especially if it is a critical update) rather than have everything upgraded without your involvement. This all takes time and requires skills, so if you don’t have them, the idea to create your own cloud might not be the best for you.
Costs are always a factor and when you create your own cloud, it is likely this will cut your costs, especially if you are a heavy cloud user. You can get a 1TB or a 4TB NAS unit for a couple of hundred dollars, probably get a couple of additional hard drives, if 1/4TB is not enough, get some software licences, and basically you are ready to go.
Of course, you can get a larger NAS unit – i.e. a 16TB one for about $2,000, if you need more space but still this is way below what you will pay for commercial storage. For instance, business storage with Dropbox $795 per year for 5 users and $125 for each additional user, so if you have 10 users, your new NAS unit will repay itself in just a couple of months.
On the other hand, if you are not a heavy cloud user, the cost of creating your own cloud might be times what you pay a year to your provider. Basically, it all depends on your present and future usage – the more you use the cloud, the more feasible it is to create your own cloud.
When you estimate costs, you need to factor the time cloud administration will require. If your time costs $100 per hour and you need to spend 5 hours a month administering your cloud, then the cost savings factor disappears, unless you decide to handle cloud administration to somebody who is not that expensive. This might be an extreme example because more often than not you will not need that much time a month to administer a cloud but still if you want to be precise in your cost estimates, don’t forget to include the time factor in the calculations.
In addition to the other reasons to create your own cloud, increased speed is also a factor to consider. While with a good cloud provider you might rarely or never experience speed issues, if yours has way too many users and use is way too heavy, you might spend long hours syncing your documents.
For a individual this is irritating but for a business user such delays cause bottlenecks in the business process and are unacceptable.
Additionally, even if your cloud provider is fast but Internet speed is an issue, this again leads to delays. When you have your own cloud in your internal network speed is tens of times higher because it is your internal network, not your or your provider’s Internet connection.
While you can find cloud storage offers with unlimited space, the cost might be prohibitive. Even if the cost is not that high, if you don’t need that much space, you end paying for something you don’t use.
With your own cloud you don’t have these space issues – you can use as many GB or TB as needed and add/remove more storage capacity as need arises.
There are many reasons to create your own storage. Increased security, more control, lower costs increased speed and unlimited space. Those are just some of them.
These are all pretty good reasons and when you consider the availability of NAS boxes to create your own cloud with, you might wonder why you haven’t done it so far.