ElephantDrive

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I recently installed ElephantDrive cloud storage service on my Windows 7 desktop.  Here is the story!

ElephantDrive

Back in November 2011, I told you about ElephantDrive’s cloud storage solution when discussing the QNAP TurboNAS cloud storage capabilities.  I recently was provided with a one year subscription to ElephantDrive and decided to back up documents on my Windows 7 desktop with it.

Service Background

First, some background on ElephantDrive.  Here is how they describe themselves:

What We Do…

ElephantDrive is committed to providing individuals and businesses simple but powerful tools for protecting and accessing their data. We want ordinary people to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the type of enterprise-class backup, storage, and data management that has historically only been available to big corporations. And we’ve made it so simple.

Why ElephantDrive?

Our service has a lot in common with the world’s largest land mammal. When you subscribe to ElephantDrive, you get a service that is very big, never forgets, and works for peanuts!

Who We Are…

ElephantDrive was founded by a team of technologists who are passionate about developing world class software and fascinated by the challenges of storing, securing, and protecting massive amounts of data. We are based in Los Angeles and have worked together for years designing and deploying online applications.

Military grade encryption keeps your files safe and secure
  • Secure 128-bit SSL transfer
    Information sent from you to ElephantDrive is protected by the same system that banks and financial institutions use to secure their transactions.
  • Advanced 256-bit AES encryption
    Before transfer, your files are encrypted with the preferred algorithm of the U.S. government (approved for “Top Secret” use by the NSA).
Intelligent software moves your data fast
  • Innovative delivery technology
    Our engineers have designed an advanced, proprietary system for maximizing your available bandwidth while minimizing the effects on your system.
  • Differential backups
    ElephantDrive recognizes which files are new or have been modified so that after your first backup completes, all future backups will go much faster.
Access and share your files anytime, anywhere
  • Universal access
    With ElephantDrive’s web-based portal you have 24/7 access to all of your files, wherever you are!
  • Easy and secure file sharing
    Share any file with a single click (great for files that are too large to email), and set a password for extra security.
One program to unify your data
  • Multiple devices and multiple platforms
    Works with laptops, servers, external storage devices, MACs, PCs, and most server operating systems.
  • Powerful administrative controls
    Create independent sub-accounts with different access privileges (Business Plan required), and monitor your account activity and data usage.

ElephantDrive is installed to your PC and backups to the cloud happen on a scheduled basis.  If you are interested in ensuring that your data is automatically backed up offsite, cloud storage is a convenient option.  I have tested it with a QNAP TurboNAS and it works very well on that device as well.

Installation

Installation of ElephantDrive is relatively easy.  First, download the ElephantDrive Windows application and run the installer.  Once the installer completes, ElephantDrive asks you to decide if you want to configure your backups.  You’ll see this screen:

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This is Part Four of our QNAP TurboNAS Deep Dive series and we look at cloud backup services.  Read on for details!

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In Part One of this series, we told you how to set up the ISCSI target functionality in TurboNAS 3.5. In Part Two, we covered adding users. In Part Three, we covered volume management and SMART data.  In Part Four, we’ll cover cloud backup services.

Cloud Backup: Services Available

TurboNAS support establishing cloud backups with two services: Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive.  Here is how the help file describes the two services:

Amazon S3

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is an online storage web service offered by AWS (Amazon Web Services), and it provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. With Amazon S3 support, you can now easily upload the data from your NAS to Amazon S3 or download the data from Amazon S3 to your NAS.

Note: Before starting use this service, you will need to create your AWS account.

ElephantDrive

ElephantDrive is an online storage service for users to back up data to their ElephantDrive account and restore data. The ElephantDrive service on the NAS allows you to create an ElephantDrive account and back up your NAS data to the online storage and restore data to the NAS via ElephantDrive website.

I’ve seen S3 before and it is a great service.  Amazon describes their service here:

Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, secure, fast, inexpensive infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.

Amazon S3 is intentionally built with a minimal feature set.

  • Write, read, and delete objects containing from 1 byte to 5 terabytes of data each. The number of objects you can store is unlimited.
  • Each object is stored in a bucket and retrieved via a unique, developer-assigned key.
  • A bucket can be stored in one of several Regions. You can choose a Region to optimize for latency, minimize costs, or address regulatory requirements. Amazon S3 is currently available in the US Standard, US West (Oregon), US West (Northern California), EU (Ireland), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo) and GovCloud (US) Regions. The US Standard Region automatically routes requests to facilities in Northern Virginia or the Pacific Northwest using network maps.
  • Objects stored in a Region never leave the Region unless you transfer them out. For example, objects stored in the EU (Ireland) Region never leave the EU.
  • Authentication mechanisms are provided to ensure that data is kept secure from unauthorized access. Objects can be made private or public, and rights can be granted to specific users.
  • Options for secure data upload/download and encryption of data at rest are provided for additional data protection.
  • Uses standards-based REST and SOAP interfaces designed to work with any Internet-development toolkit.
  • Built to be flexible so that protocol or functional layers can easily be added. The default download protocol is HTTP. A BitTorrent™ protocol interface is provided to lower costs for high-scale distribution.
  • Reliability backed with the Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement.

As you can see, Amazon S3 is a pretty decent service.  US pricing starts at $0.140/GB/Month for the 1st 1TB of data transferred.

ElephantDrive support was added recently as well.  Here is how ElephantDrive describes themselves:

SIMPLE, SAFE AND SECURE ONLINE BACK UPS AND STORAGE
Military grade encryption keeps your files safe and secure
Intelligent software moves your data fast
Access and share your files anytime, anywhere
One program to unify your data
  • Secure 128-bit SSL transfer  Information sent from you to ElephantDrive is protected by the same system that banks and financial institutions use to secure their transactions.
  • Advanced 256-bit AES encryption  Before transfer, your files are encrypted with the preferred algorithm of the U.S. government (approved for “Top Secret” use by the NSA).
  • Innovative delivery technology  Our engineers have designed an advanced, proprietary system for maximizing your available bandwidth while minimizing the effects on your system.
  • Differential backups  ElephantDrive recognizes which files are new or have been modified so that after your first backup completes, all future backups will go much faster.
  • Universal access  With ElephantDrive’s web-based portal you have 24/7 access to all of your files, wherever you are!
  • Easy and secure file sharing  Share any file with a single click (great for files that are too large to email), and set a password for extra security.
  • Multiple devices and multiple platforms  Works with laptops, servers, external storage devices, MACs, PCs, and most server operating systems.
  • Powerful administrative controls  Create independent sub-accounts with different access privileges (Business Plan required), and monitor your account activity and data usage.

Personal plans start at $9.95 per month and QNAP offers a 30 day free trial.  Since there is a free trial and since I’ve never looked at ElephantDrive before, I decided to try it out here.

Installing ElephantDrive

Under the Backup tab in the web admin page, click on Backup and then Cloud Backup.
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If you are setting up Amazon S3, you are in the right place!  Since we’re doing ElephantDrive, click on the ElephantDrive tab.  Enter the email account and password that you want to use with Elephant Drive and click the Create button.
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