Synology and ioSafe – together building a Disaster Resistant Private Cloud for businesses

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Overview

This article, intended for IT Professionals and Business Owners, will provide a basic illustration of how the ioSafe 1515+ can be used as part of a business continuity plan (BCP) to maintain a Disaster Resistant Private Cloud.

 

What is a business continuity plan?

With today’s businesses being dependent upon more and more data, it is necessary for any business is to incorporate resilient data backups as part of their Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

A well maintained BCP allows a business to face a disruption in its operations with minimal impact to the overall health and public image of the company. There are many objectives to address in a BCP, including maintaining contingency against communication failure, electrical failure, fire, water damage, theft, or drive failure, to name a few examples. Having a BCP in place will allow a business to “weather a storm” so to speak, so it can face the challenges brought upon the disruption while minimizing lost revenue or lost productivity, both of which can equate thousands of dollars (or more) lost per minute.

 

Backup Options


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As part of maintaining a BCP for today’s business, having resilient data backups is needed to defend against natural disasters, such as a fire or flooding. There are many ways to deploy resilient backups, which can utilize external drives, distributed private clouds, or even cloud backups.

For Local Backup, backing up to an external drive, is a process that is probably the most easiest and affordable to deploy. Though most people would rather not be bothered by a chore of moving an external drive between site locations on a daily or even weekly basis. There are other limitations including limiting storage capacity and that external drive backups is an “off-line” backup. Typically external drive backups can have a lengthy Recovery Point Objective (RPO), where the most recent copy of data could be many hours or even many days old.

For Network Backups, it resolves the need to handling the chore of moving an external drive between sites and supports on-line backups. On-line backups are used to minimize the RPO. By having a lower RPO – the most recent version of data is backed up to an independent storage array. However, this configuration brings in additional network and building maintenance. For network backups, two buildings must be maintained, along with having a high performance business grade internet service at both locations.

Given the plethora of Cloud Backup Providers, and today’s growing data sets, it’s convenient to deploy cloud backups to handle on-line off-site backups. Cloud backups allow a business to conveniently deploy backup storage, where the independent storage array can be located in another part of the world. This secondary copy of data is made “resilient” against fire, flood or disasters which may be experienced on-site by the business.

Another advantage with using the cloud backups is that a business need not be concerned with maintaining a secondary storage array, or maintaining the off-site infrastructure. Cloud Backup Providers allows for a subscription-based service in exchange for instantly usable storage.

 

Recovery times from off-site locations

While on-line off-site backups provide a business with data resiliency against fire or flooding of a building, it often introduces a lengthy recovery time. Many of the installers, consultants, and IT Admins that I conferred with have an average of 7-15TB of data needed for offsite backups. Assuming 7TB, with the average bandwidth of 32Mbps within the United States, this would require around 22 days of “recovery time actual”(RTA) from the off-site storage array or Cloud Backup Storage Provider. Recovering towards 15TB of data can take around 46 days. Waiting nearly a month to nearly two months is a considerable amount of time to wait to handle a transfer before attempting to resume a business after a disaster.

Given that today’s businesses are working with larger data sets, want the latest revision of data to be backed up, and looking for quick restoration times, an innovative solution is needed to meet all of these objectives and get a business running in minutes or days.

The ioSafe 1515+


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The ioSafe 1515+ is a Private Disaster Recovery NAS, designed to meet the needs of business looking for a disaster resistant storage. The ioSafe 1515+ is the product of collaboration between both Synology and ioSafe.

The important thing to realize is that the ioSafe 1515+ comes with the same award winning DiskStation Manager OS, built by Synology and designed to support the same abilities that Synology is known for, such as deploying highly available storage with Synology High Availability, collaborate across many offices with a Distributed Private Cloud, and most recently, effectively saturate the network links when accessing encrypted data at rest using hardware encryption acceleration.

ioSafe has taken the product to the next level, with their technology, designed to protect the drives against fire and flooding. The ioSafe 1515+ is certified for ASTM E119 Fire Resistance, allowing the ioSafe to protect the drive bays in fires up to 1550°F/843°C for 30 minutes. Granted, the temperature of a fire can vary depending on the building materials, configuration of available combustibles, and ventilation patterns. For reference, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) conducted an analysis residential fire dynamics and their data identified that temperature of the fire doesn’t peak above 1300°F/705°C. The study also illustrated duration of those peak temperatures was not that long, about less than 10 minutes. Essentially for a business owner this means that the internal storage drives in an ioSafe unit can be protected from fire temperatures higher than the typical fire which was identified in the UL study.

The ioSafe also has seals around the drive bays, to protect the drive bays against water immersions of upwards to 10 feet (3.1m) for 3 days. This level of resistance
towards water damage is needed as conventional fire suppression often uses many hundreds of gallons, if not thousand gallons, of water to suppress the fire. The ioSafe offers both fire and water protection for the drive bays, providing a synergy of protection when it comes to a common disaster.

Application Scenario: Disaster Resistant Private Cloud


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The ioSafe 1515+ is a Private Disaster Recovery NAS, used for maintaining on-site private storage which can be protected from fire or flooding. Using the ioSafe on-site gives businesses a more timely data recovery strategy for their BCP, and also provides storage for large amounts of data (up to 90TB of data when scaled-up), as well as the ability of storing the latest revision of data (minimizing RPO) and quick restore times post disaster (minimizing RTA).

By maintaining a storage array directly, a business can retain ownership of the stored data and ensure complete administration of the data. Some business data can’t be stored in the Public Cloud, including: sensitive accounting information, patent information, MRI data, or data for HIPAA environments. Using the ioSafe 1515+ to store this sensitive data allows a business to maintain on-site private cloud storage, with the added benefit of being disaster resistant.

Post disaster, the drives can be migrated into another ioSafe 1515+ or even a Synology product that supports at least 5-bays. With the example of a business with 7TB of data taking about 22 days to recover from using a cloud backup storage, that recovery time is now reduced down to a few minutes’ worth of effort when migrating drives from one unit to another.

 

Conclusion

The ioSafe 1515+ is a new option for businesses deploying a BCP, where reliance upon the Public Cloud to withstand and recover from disasters is no longer the sole option. With businesses today having large data sets, maintaining backups in the Public Cloud often incurs a lengthy recovery time, sometimes measuring many days or months. Post disaster, the first step is ensuring the health and safety of those involved, and then moving into implementing your BCP and resuming business operations. With the ioSafe 1515+ on-site, businesses have the ability to create a Disaster Resistant Private Cloud where the RPO and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is approaching zero. The ioSafe allows a business to weather a storm, recover their data quickly, and resume business operations to full strength in the shortest amount of time.

As Robb Moore, CEO and Founder of ioSafe eloquently says, “the ioSafe 1515+ allows businesses to maintain 100% privacy, security, speed with no requirements for outside 3rd parties for disaster recovery.”

Click on the ioSafe logo to learn more about how the ioSafe 1515+ can be a part of a business continuity plan.

 

 

Further Reading

    1. US FEMA/DHS, Ready Campaign: Business Continuity Plan
    2. Wikipedia: Business Continuity
    3. Wikipedia: Recovery Point Objective
    4. Synology Blog: Build Hybrid Cloud Storage, with the Synology DiskStation Manager
    5. Ookla Net Index: Household Download Index, United States
    6. Wikipedia: Recovery Time Actual
    7. Synology Blog: High Availability – System Failover for Small Businesses
    8. Synology Blog: The Synology DiskStation DS415+, the first of a new breed of SME NAS with Encryption Acceleration
    9. American Society for Testing and Materials: ASTM E119: Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials
    10. Wikipedia: Underwriters Laboratories
    11. Underwriters Laboratories: Analysis of Changing Residential Fire Dynamics and Its Implications on Firefighter Operational Timeframes
    12. Synology KB: How to Migrate Between Synology NAS
    13. Wikipedia: Recovery Time Objective