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Storage - Its In Cloud...Right?

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 17/05/2012

Storage isn't all about cloud.

Click to enlarge
That's according to Bufffalo, No. 3 storage maker in Oz (after Western Digital and Seagate), who make consumer portable hard drives, network storage devices and routers.

Cloud's "very exciting" admits Boris Shen, Buffalo Business Manager, ANZ, and it is certainly "the future... but it's still early days and it will be some years before people start using it in full."

"People still like to keep information in-house" and there's also issues around security and who is hosting the cloud, and where," he adds.

The giant says they are seeing several gaps in the market and has integrated cloud into its hard drive solutions to form a "hybrid Cloud" service.

This re-engineered cloud lets users keep a network storage device at home with 2 TB or 4 TB, but allows users access data remotely - one of the main advantages of cloud services.

Buffalo's cloud station seen by SmartHouse had two drives - one for pure storage and another that acts as a backup of the first drive.

User's hardware will automatically upload certain folders to a third party cloud provider if you instruct it too.
There is a lot of synergy between hardware and cloud services, but Shen notes there still some fine tuning to be done.

The hybrid Cloud also has a free popoplug cloud service, which automatically stores other data including images from your smartphone and works via Android or an iPhone app.

You can also generate a link and post images to Facebook, so lets friend check out only the photos you wish them to see (unlike The Social Network).

And Buffalo's hybrid service also lets you (and your FB friends) view the stored images in high-res.

And there's a similar service for business users.

Generally, users put images and docs on cloud but "dont' believe business will put their CRM database and tax details on cloud"  says Shen.

Buffalo is now eyeing the SMB and security markets and has a range of storage and networking solutions for SMB with up to 100 seats, including TeraStation Network-attached storage (NAS).

Storage prices have jumped of late admits Shen, mainly due to the flood in Thailand, which dented supply of Solid State Drives considerably.

However, storing all your information locally using NAS technology, but also having the flexibility of storing "non-sensitive information" on a third party cloud service is vital, he says.

But cloud storage is still coming in a big way with Google announcing its cloud service recentrly along with Dropbox and Microsoft's SkyDrive service proving extremely popular. And cheap.

So is Buffalo SSD business suffering as more users migrate to cloud for storage?

Facebook is still the largest cloud storage service at the moment, says Shen.

And cloud is really a "true back up" of local data.

So what is true back up?

Users need to have multiple copies of data, just in case one fails.

"Data is so cheap these days..its human habit...we like to collect information whether its movies, ebooks, images."

"You can never have enough memory," he adds. And demand for storage has grown enormously, where 1TB used to be the norm and has now doubled to 2TB.

Its hard drives are sold in 40 outlets in Oz including Bing Lee, JB Hi-Fi and Myer, but has "set its sights on many more " says Shen.

Buffalo says it is targeting more traditional IT resellers but also sees potential in the video surveillance market, with network video equipment sales estimated to grow by 25% this year.

Its local support base is a major strong point, says Shen and customer support centre located in Bella Vista NSW provides an 1300 customer support service number.

Buffalo drives come with one year warranty and have a shock proof chassis, meaning it can sustain heavy falls, although Shen notes consumers aren't nearly as careful with storage devices as they are say with , say, their iPad.

Their TeraStation NAS devices are recognised for their scalability and are specifically designed to bring enterprise storage to the SMB.

Whether consumers and SMB go gung-ho on cloud or hold off a little longer is anyones guess but Buffallo are bullish about the future, in any case.

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