A hybrid option is now available for small to midsize organizations that want centralized storage and backup that is accessible from the Internet or through a local network connection.
The Egnyte Local Cloud on Network Attached Storage overcomes the justifiable concern IT managers have about a single point of failure by synchronizing stored files on the NAS with the cloud file share.
ELC on NAS works on Windows and Mac clients, with support for Red Hat and SUSE Linux clients slated in the near future. ELC, which became available in December, costs $44.98 per month ($24.99 for the base service plus $19.99 per month for the local cloud option, which includes 150GB of cloud storage) or $84.98 per month ($44.99 for the base service plus $39.99 per month for the local cloud option, which includes 1TB of cloud storage). This pricing does not include the NAS device that is required to host the local cloud.
ELC basically fits between online backup offerings such as Carbonite and Mozy and cloud-based infrastructure offerings such as the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. ELC is a replacement only for an on-premises file server. The service does not host the applications (such as database, e-mail or graphics programs) that might be creating the data files stored in the ELC.
ELC comprises the Egnyte service, software that runs on off-the-shelf NAS devices, software that runs on each end-user system and a management console.
The software for the NAS devices is what distinguishes this Egnyte offering from other Egnyte services that enable local storage on direct-attached storage devices or an end user's hard drive. Using the console and software components, I was able to set up network storage shares that could be accessed by individuals or groups of users. ELC synchronized the data stored in the cloud, at Egnyte's data centers and on the local NAS device.
In my tests, I combined a cloud service account provided by Egnyte with a NetGear ReadyNAS NVX appliance with 1TB of storage. Following the simple directions from Egnyte, I updated the firmware on the NetGear ReadyNAS and then installed a small update from Egnyte on the hardware device to integrate it with my Egnyte cloud account.
Setup and Use
Once the NetGear device was integrated, I handled the rest of the ELC setup and administration from the ELC management console. I created users and sent invitations to them to sign in and start using ELC.
There are two types of users in the ELC world, standard and power. Only power users can enable the local cloud option. Standard users have access to files only on the Egnyte cloud.
In my setup, the files stored locally on the NetGear ReadyNAS were set to sync with the cloud every 15 minutes. IT managers should ensure that users who must have access to the most current version of files are assigned as power users.
I used only local accounts that I created within ELC to handle users, shares and access permissions. It is possible to use an API from Egnyte to integrate with an LDAP-based directory or Microsoft's Active Directory. For ongoing use, taking the time to integrate ELC with your directory infrastructure would be the best way to manage users.
User and share creation, as well as permission handling, was easy to handle inside ELC. After creating a user, the service sent an e-mail message with directions on how to access the Egnyte service. From there, users were instructed on how to map drives and use the system. I had users logged in and storing files within minutes of creating their accounts.
During tests I was able to use a mix of Windows-based PCs running Windows XP and Windows 7, along with a variety of Mac systems, including a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro system. I easily uploaded and managed large (greater than 250MB) video files and high-resolution photo files with no problem. Installing the Egnyte software on my various test systems worked without a hitch.
Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.