Bring-Your-Own NAS Egnyte(s) Cloud Storage Service

By Jamie Bsales | Posted December 08, 2009

Egnyte has augmented its hybrid local/online file-server platform with the new Egnyte Local Cloud on Network Attached Storage (NAS) option. Rather than storing files on individual PCs as before, the new offering gives customers the option of using leading NAS devices to store and serve files locally, while still maintaining the benefits of Egnyte’s online (or “cloud-based”) storage.

“We decided early on not to offer proprietary hardware and allow customers to use a local hard drive or other direct-attached storage device,” said Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte, about the company’s original Local Cloud offering. “With Egnyte Local Cloud on NAS, we offer the only hybrid storage solution where you can use an off-the-shelf NAS.”

The option lets customers choose the most economical storage device for their needs, noted Jain, rather than being tied into the device required by a bundled system. Egnyte Local Cloud on NAS is initially available on the NETGEAR ReadyNAS series, as well as NAS systems based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Server. Egnyte is planning to support the majority of popular NAS devices in the future.

As with Egnyte’s original hybrid file-server platform, the main component is an intelligent piece of software that the company calls an On Demand File Server. Files are stored both locally and online on Egnyte’s servers, with synchronization and backup happening continuously.

Business owners don’t have to worry about upgrading a physical file server as their storage needs increase, setting up RAID configurations to ensure availability of data should a local drive fail or deploying a backup device and installing and running a backup program to keep data safe. But unlike online-only storage services, Egnyte customers always have access to a local version of a file when they don’t have access to the Internet.

Designed to Handle Big Files

The company says that Egnyte Local Cloud on NAS is better suited to organizations with more than 10 people, as well as to engineering, architectural, medical, graphic design and other firms that typically work with very large files. The NAS option gives customers the convenience of fast access to a local copy of large files to avoid the latency issues associated with online storage services.

“Working on large files, customers would experience a slowdown working in the cloud over the public Internet versus using a local Ethernet connection,” noted Jain

When you launch a file, Egnyte’s intelligent software agent decides whether to open the copy stored locally on the NAS or to open the online copy, depending on proximity and connectivity parameters. As with all of Egnyte’s hybrid offerings, Egnyte Local Cloud on NAS treats the online cloud and local NAS as synchronized active file repositories, ensuring that customers always access the most current files whether they are connecting from the office or on the road.

The new option also meets the demands of a distributed work force, providing businesses with an integrated file infrastructure that can be accessed by multiple users without the need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Setting up Egnyte Local Cloud on NAS is straightforward, reports Jain. You simply enable the NAS option via your subscription, then download and install the software agent to your NAS. You then configure settings such as synchronization schedules and which folders to prioritize for local storage. If a company has particularly sensitive files to secure, you can even designate that folders be kept behind a corporate firewall.

Customers with 10 employees on the system can expect to pay $170 a month for Egnyte’s service. That fee includes access for 10 Power Users (employees), guest access for up to 200 Standard Users (such as clients that need access to shared files), automatic backup software for 20 PCs, 1TB of online storage, the capability to access files from any PC (Windows or Mac) or smart phone, private branding for your file-sharing site and the Local Cloud option.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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