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Taking your data off-road

How network attached storage helps store and back up data in the most remote parts of the world

Desert track heading towards mountains

One of the greatest parts of exploring the world is being able to share it with others through various kinds of media. However, the internet hasn’t quite reached everywhere equally, and sometimes the moments we seek to share get lost because our technology isn’t up to the task. This can sometimes be because there is a weak Wi-Fi connection or simply a lack of storage capacity.

It’s a problem faced by many media organisations that have camera operatives and offices in some of the most remote parts of the world. And while storage and network technology have advanced rapidly over the last few years, different environments and work situations can have a dramatic effect on the way data is stored, transferred and, ultimately, used.

Companies like Synology, however, have made this their mission with network attached storage (NAS) offerings. The Taiwanese firm offers a range of storage services and products to suit a number of use cases, helping some of the most intrepid media companies capture and share their content, no matter where they venture.

A boat-load of data

Backing up video files is difficult at the best of times, but stars of the YouTube channel Sailing UMA manage to store their footage in some of the most remote places on the planet. For the past seven years, presenters Dan and Kika have been documenting their life at sea and helping others learn about sailing. The channel was born after the pair brought a “cheap old boat” and began fixing it up. Their struggles  finding information boat repairs online was the inspiration to start a vlog.

However, broadcasting their daily boat lessons also forced them to learn and discover more about storage and networking technology. Initially, Sailing UMA saved footage on hard drives, with around 1TB of data collected each year. The duo ran into problems when it came to editing with those hard drives making it difficult to find specific clips.

“It was a big issue in the beginning,” Kika explains. “We started with one hard drive with 1TB and when that was empty we didn’t have any other hard drives and ended up deleting lots of footage, which we’ve regretted ever since.”

The answer for Kika and Dan was Network Attached Storage (NAS), specifically a 6-bay Synology DiskStation (the DS1612+), which holds six 16TB hard drives. It’s designed for scalability, allowing those that wish to start off small the option to add more as their data needs increase. It also comes with File Station, a web-based management tool that allows users to easily back up and share with a Mac or PC.

NAS is a type of file-level computer data storage that is connected to a network. The network allows for data access to a diverse group of hardware. Its simplicity was a key factor with neither Dan nor Kika having much of a tech background. Since the installation of the on-board NAS, the duo have found they can organise their footage more coherently, instead of having files on multiple hard drives and they now capture 1TB of data a month, instead of a year. 

Virtual backups

Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has around 70 field offices spread across Europe, the US, South America, Asia and Africa. These are orchestrated through the main headquarters in Paris, France, but they needed reliable and easy to deploy IT networks that also work in tandem with the company’s existing infrastructure.

One of its biggest issues was that many of its offices are situated in areas of low bandwidth, with either technical or financial constraints impacting their internet connection. As such, transferring files from the headquarters to certain offices could take a considerable amount of time, slowing the productivity of the teams in the field offices. They needed a new system to store virtual machines at each office to reduce the latency and also back up their PCs and servers at headquarters.

Unesco called in the specialists at Synology to implement a DiskStation Manager with a built-in operating system to help them send and store their data around the world. In each of Unesco’s 70 offices now is a system comprising two Windows servers, and storage for six virtual machines and a four-bay NAS unit that performs continuous backups. Unesco also used a DS918+ to back up 50 PCs and servers.

"Unesco benefits from a unique infrastructure that spans across 70 countries worldwide, where virtual machines storage runs efficiently and can easily be backed up,” Omar Baig, Unesco’s chief technology officer, says. “Active Backup for Business, the complete, licence-free solution, allows us to centralise and manage all the backup tasks from a single console. Fast and reliable recovery also ensures business continuity."

DiskStation Manager and NAS offerings are just a small selection of what is available when it comes to localised cloud storage. But they’re proving to be a gamechanger for those working in the field.

Explore how Synology helped the Sailing UMA team transform their storage

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