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Symform cloud backup - A cloud based drive extender?


jvk
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So I have been on a quest to completely and automatically backup up my Synology Diskstation offsite. I started like probably everyone does with 2 external Hard Drives in rotation, copy all my data (about 300GB total) onto one and physically moved it to a different location, and bring the other one back and switch them out every week. That lasted for about a month so; there has to be a better way. I stumbled upon Symform yesterday, its a package that is available in the Diskstation package center. Basically its a peer-to-peer storage solution and instead of paying $$ for storing your data, you devote vacant HDD space on your machine to be used in the pool in the cloud. Every 2GB of disk space you "contribute" to the pool, you will get 1 GB free in return on top of the initial 10GB they give you when you account is created. Basically I will be able to backup all my data offsite for free!!! The best way I can describe Symform it is a cloud based drive extender in the sense that your data gets broken down into blocks, encrypted, and then deployed to various other users machines around the world. The call this "Raid 96" and here is how the describe it...

 

"
Symform has developed patented technology we call
Resilient Storage Architecture
that is more redundant and secure than the centralized data center approach.
We assume that all Symform devices are insecure and unreliable. This is the basic foundation of our architecture. We address this by encrypting the data using the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) at source. AES has been sanctioned by the NSA and adopted by the U.S. federal government. We then divide the encrypted data into 64MB blocks. Each block is then shredded in 64 1MB fragments. Then, we add 32 parity fragments to every block using an error correction algorithm called Reed-Solomon. This results in 96 fragments with built-in redundancy and security where any 64 can be used to reconstruct the block. These 96 encrypted fragments are then distributed randomly to 96 devices within the Symform Cloud Storage Network. We call this RAID-96
TM
."

 

After doing a little research Symform cautions against putting SQL databases in their backup solution (which seems to have been an issue with drive extender in the past as well). So how do I recover my data? Say my house burns and my synology and all my local data is destroyed, to get my data back, I would just get a new box (could be a synolgoy, a PC, laptop, it doesn't matter), download the Symform client software, login with my account credentials and click the rebuild my files button. That is supposed to be it!

 

There is a FAQ Page located here - http://www.symform.c...sked-questions/

 

So has anyone else tried this yet?

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Fraid not. I'm doing the 'move the disk physically to an offsite location' protocol. There's nothing like bandwidth caps to motivate you to keep the process going ;)

 

I'm also a little concerned that Symform knows your key. I admit I didn't read their FAQ; I'm basing it on the quote you included. If they know your key, then they can be compelled to turn it over to a 3-letter agency, or the police, and your data is no longer so secure.

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I'll admit, I'm a little un-informed when it comes to encription. I am actually a little more concerned with other's data being put on my machine... who knows what could be in there (viruses, illegal material, etc...). With that said, I am going ahead and giving it a try. I started with a non-sensitive folder containing scans from magazines and books (i call it the book shelf). Its about 75GB in size and taking forever to upload, I started a day and a half ago and so far I have uploaded 2.5GB. At that rate, it will take over a month to get my 75GB up there. I did specify the hours and rate at which it can use my bandwidth, maybe I'll play with that a little to speed things up.

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I can put your mind at ease about malware of any kind. As long as it's only being stored on your computer it is absolutely no threat to your systems at all.... I mean zero risk. Now, if you were to execute one of the files being stored, that could be a different matter altogether.

 

You can have a system packed chock full of malware and not be in any danger, just as long as it's only being stored. There is no way for it to abitrarily decide to infect your system(s).

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