ioSafe N2: A Disaster Proof NAS with Synology DSMby Ganesh T S on September 18, 2012 11:50 AM EST
ioSafe used to manufacture disaster proof NAS solutions / backup appliances such as the ioSafe R4. The R4s used to cost upwards of $10K, weighed more than 120 lbs. and the hard disks, though hot-swappable, needed a proprietary coating for waterproofing prior to usage. After taking a small break from the disaster-proof NAS market, ioSafe is back today with a new version, the ioSafe N2. It addresses all the shortcomings of the R4 by bringing down the weight to a more manageable 28 lbs. Hot swapping with standard hard drives is also supported, and the price for a diskless unit is a consumer friendly $599. Based on the Synology DSM (Disk Station Manager) firmware, the N2 is a 2-bay NAS unit with a 2 GHz Marvell CPU at the core along with 512 MB of DRAM. The performance, therefore, should be similar to that of the Synology DS213.
We had carried out a detailed analysis of ioSafe’s technology in our review of the SoloPRO earlier this year. The following picture shows the various aspects being used in the ioSafe N2.
A summary of the ioSafe N2 specifications is provided below:
- Local and Remote File Sharing: Between virtually any device from any location online
- Cloud Station: File syncing between multiple computers and N2 (like Dropbox)
- iTunes Server
- Surveillance Station: Video surveillance application
- Media Server: Stream videos and music
- Photo Sharing: Photo sharing with friends and family
- Mail Server: Email server
- VPN Server: Manage Virtual Private Network
- Download Station: Post files for others to download
- Audio Station: Stream audio to smartphone (iOS/Android)
- FTP Server: Remote file transfers
- Multi-platform compatibility with Mac/PC/MS Server/Linux
- Dual Redundant Disk, RAID 0/1, Up to 8TB (4TB x 2)
- 2GHz Marvel CPU and 512MB memory
- Gigabit Ethernet Port
- Additional ports for USB 3, SD Memory Card
- User replaceable drives
- Protects Data From Fire: DataCast Technology. 1550°F, 1/2 hr per ASTM E119 with no data loss.
- Protects Data From Flood: HydroSafe Technology. Full immersion, 10 ft. 3 days with no data loss.
- FloSafe Vent Technology: Active air cooling during normal operation. FloSafe Vents automatically block destructive heat during fire by water vaporization - no moving parts
- Physical theft protection (optional floor mount, door security - coming Q1 2013)
- Kensington® Lock Compatible
- 1 Year Data Recovery Service (DRS) Standard (upgrade up to 5 year)
- DRS included $2500/TB for forensic recovery costs for any reason if required
- 1 Year No-Hassle Warranty - Upgrades with DRS up to 5 years
- Operating: 0-35° C (95°F)
- Non-operating: 0-1550°F, 1/2 hr per ASTM E119
- Operating Humidity: 20% - 80% (non-condensing)
- Non-operating Humidity: 100%, Full water immersion, 10 feet, 3 days
- Size: 5.9"W x 9.0"H x 11.5"L
- Weight: 28 lbs
ioSafe's CEO, Robb Moore, had responded to many of our questions and concerns in the comments section of our review of the ioSafe Solo PRO. Of particular relevance to today's piece is the 3-2-1 backup strategy advocated by ioSafe:
- Keep at least 3 complete copies of your data
- Keep them on at least 2 different devices
- 1 copy should be on taken offsite or disaster proofed in someway
Many consumers wish to have some sort of RAID-1 redundancy built into their backup strategy (We all know 'RAID is not backup'). For example, a disaster proof backup system could consist of a 2-bay NAS such as the Synology DS213 ($299), two 2TB drives (2x $100) and a 2TB SoloPRO ($370) costing $869 in total. Another way of implementing the 3-2-1 strategy would be an ioSafe N2 ($599), two 2TB drives ($200) and a generic 2TB external hard drive ($100) costing $900 in total. Both setups would give fireproof and waterproof backups with private cloud access, NAS and RAID. The second strategy does deliver a slight advantage:
- Post disaster, the user gets two chances to recover data from each drive.
- Drive failure doesn't result in losing fire/flood recovery ability
- Disaster-proofing the primary drives gives the user better recovery of the data that was in process moments before a natural disaster, giving an improved Recovery Point Objective (RPO). The SoloPRO in the first scenario might only have last nights backup depending on the user's settings.
- Getting to the disaster exposed drive is easier on the N2 because of the hot swappable nature of the drives and the lesser number of screws (Improved Recovery Time Objective (RTO))
The ioSafe N2 is being launched on Indiegogo today. General availability is scheduled for January 2013 with a retail price of $599.99 for the diskless version. Considering that ioSafe is a small company with 20-odd employees, crowdfunding initiatives like Indiegogo allow them to jump past typical startup funding models and rapidly accelerate the ioSafe N2 to market.
It is exciting to see ioSafe address the market for disaster proof network attached storage. This market is not necessarily as glamorous as the one that a recent crowdfunding hit managed to raise millions of dollars for. However, most consumers don't realize the value provided by solutions such as those provided by ioSafe until it is too late. With the final version of the ioSafe N2 already being demonstrated and the solid track record of ioSafe in the disaster proof storage market, we hope ioSafe is able to successfully reach out to the consumers through this initiative.