Morro Data: Your NAS in the Cloud

Collaboration is the key to any business. No matter what your business model is, without communication you will fail. Having business that requires multiple locations could mean big spending on the common and sharable storage environments. Sure we are all familiar with SAN and NAS technologies but the cost is just too great to provide multiple satellite locations with common file sharing. Most of the small/medium size business look for alternatives to SAN/NAS devices because of the maintenance costs and price of the devices. Some utilize cloud offerings like Amazon S3 and Glacier and Dropbox and some look for private cloud offerings such as Egnyte. But what if you wanted the capacity of the cloud in the palm of your hand? A device that would offer not only security but flexibility of multi-site collaboration with extensive permissions and control.

It gives me a great pleasure to introduce Morro Data. Morro Data is a very young company by the same creators of ReadyNAS. If you remember ReadyNAS, it was a big hit ten years ago and after proving itself, it was acquired by NETGEAR. Morro Data is a subscription based service that combines a cluster based infrastructure that is not limited by the distance. A storage gateway that is designed to work just like NAS but with cloud based providers. While giving you access to your personal and secured files, Morro Data’s device stores cached files locally for quick and easy access with the comfort of your LAN speeds. Think of it as NAS, but in a small form factor.

“What is good for enterprise is also beneficial for small and medium businesses. However, the same technology needs to be redesigned to be more user friendly, more affordable, and more integrated.”

– Paul Tien / Founder & CEO of Morro Data.

Review Sample Provided by: http://www.morrodata.com/
Product Name: Morro G40 Cache Drive
Price at time of review: $ 499 USD
Product was given in exchange for work done to produce this review.

Morro Data is currently offering two appliances ‘Morro Cache Drive’ G40 and G80. Both of the devices are based on Intel NUC.

Specifications

ProcessorIntel Dual-Core Processor
Internal Storage /Cache1 TB 2.5″ Hard Disk Drive
Networking1 port, 10/100/1000 Mbps
EnclosurePlastic shell with metal inner structure
OthersVGA, USB, HDMI, and optical ports only for debug mode (not used in operation)
DimensionsProduct: 4.5 x 4.4 x 2 inches
Packaging: 6.2 x 8.7 x 3.5 inches
WeightProduct: 650g max
Packaging: 1250g
Power Adapter100-240VAC input. 19VDC output, 3.43A, 65 Watts.
Multi-country plug (IEC type A/C/G/I)
Network File ProtocolCIFS/SMB
ManagementMorro Cloud Manager, CacheDrive management, user/group manager
Account manager, customized unique URL
Access and AuthenticationUser, group, device-based share mapping
StorageAmazon S3-based cloud storage
Deduplication, compression, file versioning
SecurityAES 256-bit encryption, SSL
Supported BrowserChrome v.49 or later, Firefox v51 or later, IE 9 or later, Safari 7 or later
SKU / ConfigurationWorldwide: G4011WW, G4010WW
Warranty3 years

I had an opportunity to speak with the account representative from Morro Data and he has arranged a to provide me with Cache Drive G40 device. The device itself is Intel NUC. This particular model comes with Intel Dual Core processor and 1TB 2.5″ disk. I was asked to not to open the device as the hardware means little to what Morro Data is offering. If you are familiar with NUC then you know that it has multiple ports to work with.

With Morro Data all you will be using is Ethernet jack and Power jack. The devices OS is home brewed Linux based and there is no way to access it.

 

Magic behind the scenes and features

Firmware updates- Firmware updates are available free of charge to customers. Once the new firmware is available for installation administrations will get an e mail which directs them to portal. From portal it is one button confirmation for the new firmware for your device/devices. Once you have confirmed the installation of the new firmware the device will reboot to apply the new code. This process takes about 5 minutes.

Email and Slack notifications- Notifications are handled through general e mail or Slack. I have not explored this section to the full however I was informed that Slack integration of new and changed files is pretty simple.

Version Control- Version control is one of my favorite features in traditional and newest devices. Ability to control the amount of versions per file comes very handy at time and I encourage you to use it based on your need.

De duplication and Compression- De duplication and Compression is happening in the background to all of your files that are being pushed to the cloud. This is seamless to the user as data is compressed and deduped.

AES256 bit encryption- All of the transactions between Cache Drive and the S3 bucket is being encrypted in real time with AES256 bit encryption. At this time there are no options to personally select encryption types and levels. No word on this if this will be a feature in the future releases.

File Splitting for upload to the cloud- When Cache Drive uploads a file, the file is being split in to multiple piece(depending on the size) and uploaded once piece at a time to the cloud. This technique provides additional protection from man in the middle and or spoofing the traffic.

Larger files are split in to 96MB sizes- Larger size files such as databases and archives are being split in 96MB chunks, encrypted and then uploaded to the cloud.

Time shift sync- In the case you do not wish to constantly upload and download files from the cloud Morro Data has a feature called “Time Shift Sync”. Administrators can set up a specific time of the day of the week to upload files from Cache Drive to the cloud.

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