Internal Cloud Host Solution

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by DanielBostock, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. DanielBostock

    DanielBostock Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Firstly thanks for any help, advice and suggestions offered in this thread.

    I did some brief forum searches but either I was to much of a noob and wasn't searching properly or I was simply just looking in the wrong area, but I couldn't find some good answers to my following questions.

    As a preface I will state I do not wish to disclose the name of the company I work for nor what it's business is. I also want to note that I am aware of the safety of other solutions such as Box for example. I want to stick with presenting first the task of hosting our own cloud first then compare it to these other solutions.


    The company I have just started working at is growing rapidly in terms of the tasks required by the IT department and in just general overall size as well. The IT manager is very hesitant towards online cloud storage due to the sensitivity of our data. But the company as whole wants a solution to DropBox but the IT manager want's it hosted locally in our own building, where we have full control over it.

    We have staff that are at locations all over Australia, and head office staff that communicate with these other staff and their travelling area managers. These staff typically share files through the emailing of them and that is taking a toll on our exchange server storage. Also they do use dropbox and because IT department has never sanctioned it is therefore done a personal level and controlled by a person in headoffice who has the job of connecting shared folders etc but it is never any sensitive data.

    I don't have lots of knowledge or in fact any experience in even setting up a self hosted cloud system which will need to support 200+ staff. The only self hosted cloud experience I have is on my home Synology DS412+ NAS.

    I showed my boss how great the app is and how easily I can sync files on my phone and from my laptop and computer all like dropbox does it. He was very happy with this ofcourse as generally our staff are not the most Tech savvy and anything more difficult than that would be a waste of time and money.

    I really like the ease of use DSM provides, and also how we can expand on some of the systems as our business grows.

    What I am concerned about is the general performance of say some of the rackstations. The performance looks good on paper, and really it will just be used for cloud activities throughout the day. The files are generally large quantities of images (around the 2-6mb file size), and other files relating to those images. So the free dropbox accounts fill up quickly and again, files need to be emailed if they are sensitive but hopefully this would change with us hosting the cloud service.

    Again the ease of use is the major factor for all of our staff as they use laptops, desktops, mobile devices such as but not limited to - iphones, android phones, ipads. The DSM apps provided are great and give us some great easy to use tools for staff members.

    My primary concern is hardware performance in this kind of work environment. Would Rackstations be able to provide this, also in terms of broadband capacity that is not an issue at our site as we have a high throughput fibre connection already in place which I believe is currently at 30/30 but can go up.


    Thanks,
    Daniel.
     
  2. Annihilator69

    Annihilator69 Member

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    It's a dual core atom. Not the most powerful thing in the world, but at the same time being a basic file-server isn't very taxing.

    Your internet would be the bottleneck before the CPU would.
     
  3. g1g@8yT3

    g1g@8yT3 Member

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  4. OP
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    DanielBostock

    DanielBostock Member

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    Annihilator69: the DS412+ was an example of my personal experience with them as that is what I have at home. I wouldn't use that in this environment. It would be an RS at least.

    g1g@8yT3: Thanks mate I will look into that now!
     
  5. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    Don't go for any of the basic RS variants, you want at least the Intel Atom based units in a multiuser environment and go for two units in HA mode.

    As it's already been mentioned, your internet connection will be the biggest area to look at.

    Advantages of hosting it yourself is that you get control and it's (potentially) cheaper.

    Disadvantage is that you're up for forklift upgrades when you outgrow the system. You're also responsible for replacements if the system fails, remembering that even under warranty you won't have an instant replacement.
     
  6. cbb1935

    cbb1935 Guest

    Couple of things.

    Check out www.liquidfiles.net. It was mentioned to me in another thread with kinda similar requirements. I haven't had a chance yet (snowed under) to run a test of it in our business.

    That'll allow you to send and receive files securely.

    Then you might want to look at Sharepoint or Remote Web Workplace for allowing collaboration of documents amongst users.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    DanielBostock

    DanielBostock Member

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    Mitch01: The only concern and correct me if I am wrong but it appears files go through Amazon cloud. The IT manager is more preferable to keeping it in house for data security purposes.

    Daemon: I have seen your comments in a few places about this sort of thing. You seem to know quite a bit in regards to this. Is there any particular models you suggest? Secondly since storage space is more the issue would 10 enterprise grade sata drives @ 7200rpm in a raid config be more than sufficient to handle this sort of task?

    Thanks,
    Daniel.
     
  8. scrantic

    scrantic Member

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  9. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    I run Liquidfiles in a production environment, its many things, but it is NOT a dropbox replacement, and shoehorning it into that role will only end in tears.

    Theres a pre-built VM configured for Amazon EC2, but you can also download the iso and run it on your own hardware (we do this).

    Owncloud gets bandied around for a roll-your-own dropbox solution, but IME, its nowhere near ready for primetime yet.
     
  10. QuakeDude

    QuakeDude ooooh weeee ooooh

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    Another vote for Sharefile. I believe Citrix has it based off Amazon cloud services, and they give you the ability to dictate what countries the data is allowed to reside in. I was at a citrix event a few years back with some guys from Westpac, I know they were discounting any cloud hosting services until the guy from Citrix mentioned that to us :p
     
  11. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    Be aware that the whole "fear" of security in the cloud is misplaced. Bad configuration and security practices far outweigh a top tier provider's security procedures. The likes of Amazon / Google etc have extremely high security standards, it's the implementation of these systems within a business (weak passwords / ACL's) which are the problem.

    Especially when you're talking about files on end user laptops and devices, what auditing and protection do you enforce to stop someone attacking an end user machine and copying data?

    Banks trust their data with services like Amazon, yet for some reason small businesses think it's too risky.

    It would depend on the workload, how many of the 200 users sync files at any one time? What's the total storage required?
     
  12. OP
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    DanielBostock

    DanielBostock Member

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    I believe we would probably ever have at most is around 50 concurrent connections at different times of the day.
     
  13. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    I disagree, I don't think the fear is valid. What is usually more of a risk is the internal procedures of most SMB's who "manage" their own systems.

    Amazon are nice enough to present the data in a whitepaper: http://media.amazonwebservices.com/AWS_Risk_and_Compliance_Whitepaper.pdf

    I'm certainly not advocating blanketly accepting the security procedures of cloud based systems, just that there's no need fear them.

    Of course they don't trust their entire business to it, anyone who puts all their eggs in one basket is going to be in trouble ;) It doesn't mean that the services can't be used effectively to augment and replace some of their existing platforms.
     
  14. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    I think we'll just have to agree to disagree ;) I see no reason to fear, that's not to say that they are exempt from being part of the risk assessment of system deployment or blanketly adopted without some sort of due diligence.


    Although you're dismissive of the certifications (and rightly so for government / highly sensitive data), how do you think it compares to the "procedures" in place for many SMB's who have a SBS server in their office? Again as I outlined previously, a bad implementation of a inhouse system is a far greater risk of exploitation / data loss.
     
  15. FiShy

    FiShy Member

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  16. Crusher

    Crusher Member

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    Owncloud and Filecloud are both decent on premises file store/share products

    My preference is Filecloud and we use it a lot

    http://www.getfilecloud.com/
     
  17. person

    person Member

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    Cool thanks for this - looks interesting, on reading it seems it can sync any shared network folder offline - I'm going to check it out, if it can enable users to selectively sync subfolders on a network share for field work on laptops without dealing with duplicates everywhere that could be really cool
     
  18. thetron

    thetron Member

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    Depends if the company want to invest in DR with a cold site at separate location with high speed connectivity between head office. So you have some fallover incase of power outages

    Additional with "software based datacentre" you could turn off capacity and save costs

    I still dont understand why not KISS method
    - Network file share
    - VPN on high speed connection
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  19. OP
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    DanielBostock

    DanielBostock Member

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    Novell Filr looks quite promising with it's strength of security we could put in place. It doesn't look like it would be to hard to setup either with what we have and we could just add another san shelf instead of getting a whole new Synology RS.

    My only concern will be cost of this for the amount of clients we will need to have. But that is something I will pursue looking into further and compare the two with all the hardware we can put together.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Oh and the thetron that is one thing we have investigated in the past as I have been told, but it is not something that can really be done that easily.
     
  20. iceazn

    iceazn Member

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    Have been running Novell Filr since September, so far it has been mostly positive. We have users on project sites that need to work together and in the past we have setup 'remote servers', getting them to backup has always been an issue. We tried VPN to head office but slow speeds in remote areas ended up with frustrated users.
    Now the Filr client is installed on the users laptop and it synchronises with the head office server every 5 minutes on their Telstra 3G/4G devices. We have 6 different project sites using it with on average 5 users at each site.
    Permissions are inherited from Active Directory/eDirectory. Folders that can be accessed are set by the admin, they can also set permissions on sharing with internal/external users and an expiration on the share. We haven't really used the sharing feature just yet though.


    Issues we have experienced
    - Bugs: We have experienced a couple of bugs when servers have been restarted/shutdown. On the first version client's would lose their synchronised files when the file server restarted. Second version client folders doubled up when the cluster shutdown. These have been fixed in the current version.
    - Notifications: All notifications are through the Filr console. Problem is users don't really check it and then wonder why files have not sync'd. I've passed on the request for a pop up notification whenever there is an issue to Novell.
    - File locking on open files: Currently files are not locked when another user opens it. If two users work on the same file they are only notified when they try and sync, it will ask them to either overwrite or save a copy. This will be fixed in the next version due for release in May/June.

    Setup only took an hour, simple and pretty straight forward.
     

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