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FORUMS General Gear Talk Data Storage, Memory Cards & Backup 
Thread started 08 Oct 2015 (Thursday) 10:50
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My School needs help with storage...

 
disneydork06
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Oct 08, 2015 10:50 |  #1

So our servers have failed on us and my work wants us to ask our advisory committee and also people in industry (you folks!) So without further ado....


What is the method used by your business/company/organ​ization/industry for data storage?
Do you use local servers?
Do you use the Cloud?
Do you use a combination of both?
What is the reason behind your choice?

Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.


Ryan
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tim
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Oct 08, 2015 14:12 |  #2

SAN (Storage Area Network) - think $100K+ for 15GB of protected storage. A better option is Amazon S3 or a hosted solution.
Yes.
Not much, but moving that way. If starting fresh no way would we buy servers, cloud all the way.
We use servers as we already own them. On site servers are cheaper than cloud options in pure $ terms, the cost of ownership things that make cloud look cheaper are a financial trick for many. But cloud minimises initial outlay and gives you a very reliable platform to build your systems. You have to be careful to minimise your costs - reserved instances, etc. Amazon / Cloud Computing isn't the only way to go, a VPS or hosted server in a data center is very likely cheaper.

Source: Amazon Certified Solution Architect, 20 years in IT.
Context: 100 person organisation.


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InfiniteDivide
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Post edited over 3 years ago by InfiniteDivide.
     
Oct 08, 2015 18:08 |  #3

While I don't use this option myself.
My friends parents have been running their small business this way for years.

They have under 50 employees, and about half are not at the office except briefly each day.
They use Google for business.
Scalable to many users; added and removed as needed.
Cloud based storage with 30gb each.
Customized @ business addresses.

They then use encrypted 4Tb drives networked privately on the office computers.
Each computer has instant access and phones and tablets gain access to the shared cloud files.

Their business is not heavy into data use, but their productivity and available collaboration is great.


My university now offers Office online with 1tb of One Drive each. I recently attained it.
But no custom addresses.


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Kolor-Pikker
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Oct 09, 2015 09:42 |  #4

tim wrote in post #17737877 (external link)
SAN (Storage Area Network) - think $100K+ for 15GB of protected storage. A better option is Amazon S3 or a hosted solution.
Yes.
Not much, but moving that way. If starting fresh no way would we buy servers, cloud all the way.
We use servers as we already own them. On site servers are cheaper than cloud options in pure $ terms, the cost of ownership things that make cloud look cheaper are a financial trick for many. But cloud minimises initial outlay and gives you a very reliable platform to build your systems. You have to be careful to minimise your costs - reserved instances, etc. Amazon / Cloud Computing isn't the only way to go, a VPS or hosted server in a data center is very likely cheaper.

Source: Amazon Certified Solution Architect, 20 years in IT.
Context: 100 person organisation.

Cloud storage makes sense depending on the nature of the data you're storing, I wouldn't use the cloud for any reason ever except for stuff I want to share online anyway, since no promise on earth can guarantee that someone isn't looking at the data you're uploading... if not by those storing the data, then in transit, and so on. That said, I doubt a school has any data that's worth going out the way to steal.


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tim
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Post edited over 3 years ago by tim. (3 edits in all)
     
Oct 09, 2015 13:04 |  #5

Kolor-Pikker wrote in post #17738828 (external link)
Cloud storage makes sense depending on the nature of the data you're storing, I wouldn't use the cloud for any reason ever except for stuff I want to share online anyway, since no promise on earth can guarantee that someone isn't looking at the data you're uploading... if not by those storing the data, then in transit, and so on. That said, I doubt a school has any data that's worth going out the way to steal.

A school will have confidential data like student files, staff information, pay information, etc.

Your reluctance to use cloud storage may because of lack of understanding and familiarity. While you're right you can never be 100% sure no-one is reading your files, in business in government it's about due diligence and risk management, not 100% certainty. Amazon S3 supports both client and server side encryption within its system, and you can additionally encrypt data before it gets to their API if you're really paranoid. Server side encryption is simpler but requires more trust as the server does key management (ie they have decryption keys), client side is safer but requires key management. You can also build a virtual private network inside the Amazon cloud and connect to it using a virtual private network, which gives you even more security. And honestly, with 1 million active customers, who's going to be interested in your data? There will be something more interesting for hackers. There are huge numbers of controls, certifications and audits to prevent security issues.

Cloud systems (storage, computing capacity, databases, along with many other things) runs entire businesses, government departments (google "gov cloud"), and likely defense. I think a school will be fine, so long as they have professional advice on how to set things up correctly.

AWS has a Storage Gateway (external link), which let you have some storage on-premises (either all your data or the most often used data) with it continuously backed up to AWS. That's a good product if you want to have your storage locally, but backed up. You wouldn't use it if you move your actual compute workloads to AWS.

disneydork, feel free to PM me directly if you want detailed advice. I've worked in IT for 20 years and I'm certified on AWS, happy to help if you need more info.


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Luckless
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Oct 09, 2015 13:56 |  #6

In order to give useful feedback for a storage solution you really need to detail what is being stored, how much is being stored, and what kind of security is required with it. The size and physical layout also impact what kind of solution works best. The needs of a single building elementary school's storage isn't exactly the same as a world leading research university with dozens of campuses and hundreds of buildings.

Personally I generally prefer a system setup where the main working systems and storage are housed locally, and then backups are made offsite. Cloud based services are however useful if your computing needs vary wildly from month to month or even day to day. But if you can then there is a lot to be said for overall usability when the systems are on site. My office has had more than a few days in the last few years where we ended up being able to do nearly nothing for hours at a time because we rely on external services that became unaccessible. (Power failure in another part of the city bringing the network down. Modem for the external network died on us once. Someone unplugged the wrong cable and then plugged it back in the wrong socket...)


As a random side note, I once sat through a lecture about 'cloud computing' several years ago before it became a real industry buzz word. The guy giving the presentation was from some tech startup which was an early provider for the concept, and to demonstrate how "Great, powerful, and awesome" the whole thing was (and how in the future there would be no need for local storage and personal computers would eventually go back to lightweight thin clients for accessing centralized servers to do all the actual heavy lifting) he was doing his presentation with purely remote software... I just happened to be sitting beside the network jack on the wall, and quietly unplugged him while he was going on about reliability and ease of access.


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disneydork06
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Oct 16, 2015 19:23 |  #7

Thank you folks for your answers!

This is for the data storage for photo classes, video classes and for yearbook and magazine productions. This was also how we had students turn in work, to a certain drop folder that we had protected from view for any students except for the teachers who had read and write access to this.

It somehow failed on the IT's end of the server but we saw no failing on our part here at the school. IT for us is separated, and they service all of the cte programs in the district.

Hope that answers some questions for you folks. Thank you again!


Ryan
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My School needs help with storage...
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