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Rackspace online cloud storage options

Steven Trippe goes over the features and options of Rackspace's Cloud Drive storage.

Rackspace is a full-fledged cloud service provider. There aren't many infrastructure or storage solutions that they don't have a service for. I covered some of their flagship products and services in these two blogs: Rackspace: Cloud options for the small and medium business and Rackspace Cloud Sites and Cloud DNS offer more options for SMBs.

This time I will look at the Rackspace Cloud Drive online storage service. The Cloud Drive enables secure collaboration, disaster recovery, and distributed data access. It allows for sharing and syncing documents without the maintenance or cost of maintaining your own file server. It provides a method for scheduling automatic file backups and easy restoration. Like some other products out there, Cloud Drive provides access to your important data anytime and anywhere you have connectivity.

Rackspace states that this service "is designed for businesses that need to store and share files (privately or publicly), back up workstations, and synchronize files across teams and workstations."

First you install the Cloud Drive software on your computer. It works automatically in the background to back up and/or sync all the files you select. You can create either private drives, or public drives that can be shared. The drives act just like a drive on your computer, making it easy to use.

Here are the some of the highlights of Cloud Drive

Team sync

Having the ability to work on files offline and then upload them to cloud storage is important. Add the ability to share those documents with other people and it adds much needed functionality. Cloud Drive, however, takes it up another notch by adding the ability to sync files across multiple teams and workstations. Enhanced file synchronization permits teams to work on documents at the same time and ensure the most updated copy is available for use. This allows for seamless collaboration by teams that work at different times and in different places. You can securely access and share your team files from your desktop, web browser, and smart phone.

File synchronization

This is similar to the iCloud function for Apple products which allows you to have your data files sync between multiple computers or to multiple users. So no matter what device you're on you'll have the latest copy of your data.

Figure A

Store and share data

Small and medium businesses need the ability to store large amounts of data and share it between associates. Running your own file server costs money for equipment, upkeep and maintenance, backups, etc. Cloud Drive can function much like a dedicated file server without the costs and difficulty of management and maintenance.

Anywhere access

Yes, the ability to freely move data in and out of the cloud anywhere makes this file server better than one sitting at the office. Through a secure web interface for both computers and mobile devices, your files are at your fingertips anytime, anywhere.

Backups

Having backups of your data is critical to a successful business. Ask anyone who has lost data and they'll tell you they shoulda, woulda, coulda. With Cloud Drive you can automatically back up the files and folders that you select. One important function is that there are no restrictions on the file types or file sizes that you can back up.

Customized to your needs

You have full control over what you want to back up. This includes backing up your entire hard drive, or selecting only specific files and folders that are critical. You can even choose the date, time, and frequency that the data is backed up.

Figure B

Data restoration

Backing your data up is great, but if you can't get it back when you need it, then it's worthless. Cloud Drive makes file recovery easy. It provides data versioning, and the ability to restore files "as they existed" at a specific time. You don't have to restore everything that was backed up either; it allows you to select specific files to restore.

Figure C

Click to enlarge.
Security

Security should always be at the top of your concerns, whether data is kept locally or remotely. Rackspace goes to great lengths to ensure your data is safe both in transit and at rest. Using secure transit and robust AES-256 encryption with admin-controlled keys, data is kept under lock and key at all times.

10GB storage

How much room do you get? Well it really depends on your needs, as Rackspace offers a few options. For every user that you add (at $4 per month) you get 10GB of online file storage. The great thing is, as you add users the data amount combines across your account. If you have greater needs than that, you can get unlimited storage with their pay-as-you-go pricing.

Fanatical support

One of the things that makes Rackspace stand out is their commitment to customer service. Their "Fanatical Support" is offered 24x7x365 via phone, chat, or trouble ticket. They have been doing this cloud thing for a while and they understand that it's your data and it's important to you.

If you'd like to learn more about Cloud Drive by Rackspace, check out this video.

About

Steven has 20 years experience in information and network security, network engineering, operating systems, technical writing, facilitating, and project management. He holds Cisco, CompTIA and other industry certifications and studied Information Sys...

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