A Dialogue between 2 Drives

I was talking to an end user who was slowly getting exposed to the cloud amid this Covid-19 pandemic. The whole work from home thingy was not new to him, but the scale of the practice suddenly escalated when more than 80 of his staff have to work from wherever they were stuck at during the past 6 weeks. Initially all of his staff had to alternate their folders and files access because their Sonicwall® Global Client license and SSL VPN Clients were inadequate. Even after their upgrade of the licenses, the performance of getting the folders and files through the Z: drive was poor and the network was chocked up. I told them that regardless, the SMB protocol of the NAS shared folders was chatty and generated a lot of network traffic on the VPN, along with the inadequacies of running this over the wide area Internet network. Staff productivity obviously nosedived.

We are now exploring putting their work in the cloud but maintaining a consistent synchronized set of folders and files at all times. Wasabi® Cloud has emerged the most attractive price/GB/month and no egress or API requests fees.

Combining 2 shared drives into one

NAS Drive talking to Cloud Drive like 2 buddies

Now here is a story of 2 Drives

The end user is not an IT savvy user. They were unfamiliar with Cloud Storage other than the free personal ones like Google Drive, or Dropbox. They have more than 200TB and I have introduced to them Wasabi® Cloud. They were very familiar with their Z:, their NAS Drive. I introduced to them the Cloud Drive.

NAS: Hey, how’s it going?

Cloud: Not bad. My boss and your boss are talking about bringing me and Wasabi® Cloud to join your gang. Hope you are OK with that.

NAS: OK? It’s more than OK. Since this quarantine, I have been blamed for not working hard enough. Everyone has been complaining of me being slow in serving their files and folders. I may be fast with the 10Gigabit LAN and all, but when I serve the Z: drives to the users outside the company’s network, that speed is subjective to the whims of the Internet’s speed. I just hope you can help me out. 

Cloud: Hey, that’s what I am here for. Once the FreeNAS™ Cloud Sync is set up, those folders and files in your dataset will be synchronized with the object storage in Wasabi®. The best thing is capacity is almost limitless, and Wasabi® Cloud’s performance is better than AWS S3. I will share the performance workload with you, man!

Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage Logo

Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage

NAS: Awww, that is so great! I can’t wait to work with you!

NAS: Now that we are going share the work files from the Wasabi®, what about security?

Cloud: Wasabi® is all serious about security. We have received compliance for the security standards framework such as HIPAA, FINRA and more. Our best practice starts from placing Wasabi© in a nondescript Tier IV facility with physical security, biometric access and more. Then we move on to the next layer in this Defense in Depth framework which includes firewalls, strong authentication and authorization, 2FA (2 Factor Authentication), access control listing, policies for users, groups and roles. On top of that, all data are encrypted with AES-256 standard, both for data in-flight and data at-rest – by default. We employ a zero trust framework for all administrative operations and functions. Even the HTTP PUT and HTTP GET from the client access with Drive like me require the same encryption key. I want to assure you that we protect the end user files with the strongest security. 

Cloud: Oh, before I forget, the objects in Wasabi® cloud are immutable, i.e. cannot be tampered. Multiple versions of the objects can be saved and allow the end user to recover from ransomware (not a factor since the objects are immutable), accidental deletions or virus infections. This will give them the assurance and confidence of putting their files into Wasabi®.

NAS: That is just fantastic! But how does the user see their files and folders when they are working from home. I don’t assume they would see me, the Z: drive anymore in their laptops and desktops at home, would they? 

Cloud: That’s where we Drives have to stick together, brother. In the office network, there is you, the Z: drive. But from their laptops and desktops outside the office, they see a Wasabi® “Drive”. Let me show you in a screenshot in the Wasabi® Explorer below:

Wasabi Explorer screenshot showing both local and cloud drives

Wasabi Explorer showing the local and network drives and the Cloud Drives, side-by-side

Cloud: You and me, side-by-side. The user sees this seamless integration of both the NAS Drive and the Cloud Drive. This way, the user will have no problems at all sharing and collaborating their projects, working on their pipelines. It is almost like invisible.

NAS: Wow, I am so relieved. I can’t wait for you to join us. 

Cloud: Looking forward to it too! 

Objective of the dialogue

Not everyone is as savvy and technical as some of us. In the small medium non-technology businesses, companies only do what they do best. They are not exposed to the technical advancement or terms or jargons, and often tread in fear when it comes to IT. The pandemic situation, locking down staff movement, and quarantined them to their homes for weeks, was a seismic shock to many business owners. When talking to them, you can see how fearful and panicky they have become during this pandemic where they cannot work. As I explained the concept of Cloud Drive to them, many are blinded by the unknown, and the intention of this dialogue to help them to understand how the solution may turn out as simple for them. When they get what we IT folks are talking about, the effect is cathartic, and it relieves them of the weight of the world.

I draw this conversation concept from the funny show “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis“.

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About cfheoh

I am a technology blogger with 30 years of IT experience. I write heavily on technologies related to storage networking and data management because those are my areas of interest and expertise. I introduce technologies with the objectives to get readers to know the facts and use that knowledge to cut through the marketing hypes, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and other fancy stuff. Only then, there will be progress. I am involved in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and between 2013-2015, I was SNIA South Asia & SNIA Malaysia non-voting representation to SNIA Technical Council. I currently employed at iXsystems as their General Manager for Asia Pacific Japan.

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