The secret about the cloud

Drobo makes award winning data storage products, and they’re products that I trust with my data. They call it “big storage in a small box” but part of delivering a world class data storage solution involves the cloud. The cloud is far from a small box. I was once told that there’s no such thing as the cloud. In fact it’s just someone else computer. Well I’ve done a little digging and I want to tell you a little more about that fact, and that has led me to Iceland.
The Drobo ecosystem allows for back-up and replication of all your data, but the ideal back-up strategy involves having one or two back-ups on site and a further back-up off-site, perhaps with a cloud based system. The attractiveness of Iceland as the home to the cloud is present for a multitude of reasons. In my hunt for those very reasons, here’s what I’ve learned.
Iceland is not at all likely to be the host of a war. Not in the slightest. The importance of Iceland as a North Atlantic strategic point during World War Two led to the United States electing to look after this incredible island of approximately 330,000 inhabitants following the occupancy of the British. Iceland declared itself neutral but gladly hosted the Allied Forces. This lack of hostility leads Iceland to be, in that sense, a safe place to host the enormous servers required by cloud services.
This is one of a number of downed aircraft in Iceland, and by far the most famous one. The tragedy of it’s story, however, is nothing to do with war or hostility. This Dakota of the United States Army came down on the vast, black sand expanse of Sólheimasandur as part of a routine flight which turned into what is fair to call a routine disaster. Everybody from the flight survived, accordingto Þorir who I met with. Þorir was one of the members of the Icelandic Search and Rescue team who went to help the plighted flight on 21st November 1973 after it was deliberately landed on the beach following a series of failures.
So what else attracts the cloud to Iceland? It’s consistent climate perhaps? The plethora of drives housed in a warehouse calling itself a ‘cloud’ kicks out a lot of heat, and Iceland is cool year-round in something of a cooling harmony. But side by side with that climate comes volcanoes, and with volcanoes comes earthquakes. How can Iceland be considered a safe place for data centres with such substantial geological and seismic activity? Well Iceland is pretty big really. Over one third of the 330,000 odd strong population largely resides in Reykjavik and it’s suburbs, leaving the remainder spread out across huge distances. The seismic activity synonymous with Iceland occurs more or less on one fault line which bisects the country from south-west to north-east. The eruptions of the 130 volcanoes in Iceland has been incredibly well documented thanks to the sagas, a series of stories chronicling very specifically the history of Iceland. The chaos-causing eruption of Eyjafajallajökull during 2010 is actually likely to be nothing compared to Katla which is the favourite to erupt next. The crater, by the way, is 10km across and sits under the Vatnajökull ice cap. It will be interesting to say the very least, but it’s not billed to impact at all on cloud services and your back-up system will function totally unimpeded, I promise!
And that perhaps leads me to my next discovery. Iceland is an absolutely top-notch energy machine! The cost of energy in Iceland versus the U.K. is 10%. That’s a fact which blows my mind, I won’t lie. When you need hot water in Iceland, it’s very hot! It comes straight out of the Earth, heated by the very volcanoes I mentioned before with no human intervention whatsoever. Similarly, the cold water comes straight from the glaciers and it’s ice cold! The power of that water is harnessed with perfection, and it’s largely that hydropower from which the country runs which of course keeps the running costs down for cloud service providers.
All of this culminates into being part of an important process. The back-up process. Having a cloud based system, perhaps the best solution to having an off-site copy of your data, is crucial for those moments way beyond your control. Drobo can be used as both an on-site and an off-site solution, taking full advantage of the expertly created Drobo Disaster Recovery, meaning that your own cloud solution need not be located in a warehouse in Iceland but wherever you put it. Utilising the Drobo Disaster Recovery system means that your personal cloud stores a perfect replica of your data off-site so that any risk is mitigated and is contained fully in house. Rather than potentially spending hours downloading your data from a public cloud storage server, all you need to do is switch out a drive and carry on as if nothing had ever happened! Better safe than sorry, right?
Here’s the thing. Losing your data, as a creative, can be life changing. Losing a clients images, losing your writing archive, losing anything stored right there on your hard drive because a disk broke, it’s all disastrous. It tends not to be a matter of if, but when. Usually at the very worst time, too! What Drobo is doing with its Disaster Recovery feature is backing up all of your precious data so that it’s ready to be picked up whenever it’s needed, and it’s a small investment in comparison to the potential loss it’s preventing. Fun fact – the average hard drive lasts for a maximum of five years. I bet you’ve got hard drives older than that!
For the on-site element of my back-up system, it’s all about the Drobo solution for me. The Drobo ecosystem affords me the simplified ability to manage my data protection requirements. It meets and, in fact, exceeds them with its method being more or less to ‘plug and play’ with little intervention required in having my data replicated and ready as a contingency that although I hope I’ll never need, I may do one day. In the meantime, however, I’ll keep going back to Iceland to make sure the cloud’s still there!
Visit the Drobo Store to learn more and use the code ‘DAVEWILLIAMS’ to bag yourself 10% off at the checkout!
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