Dan's Take

The Cloud: This Time, It's Personal

An overview of PROMISE Technology's Apollo Cloud.

PROMISE Technology provided an Apollo personal cloud storage unit for me to try out. They recently updated the software, extending the capabilities of this unit. After running it through a number of typical scenarios, I thought I'd let you know about my experiences.

(PROMISE offered me a unit after reading my comments on a similar trial of another supplier's product: see Unified Storage That Can Sync and Share for more information).

PROMISE says that Apollo Cloud is just as convenient and easy to use in terms of access and sharing as other cloud storage services. They also claim that its approach removes many limitations and costs of competing services. Another advantage, they say, is that since individuals and companies control the environment, levels of security and privacy can be higher.

Here are some specs:

  • Supports up to 4 TB of storage
  • Can connect to a single device using USB-C or Ethernet
  • Available through Apple's retail stores and various application stores (Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android)
  • The device is compatible with Apple's Time Machine backup for Mac
  • The device offers 4TB of capacity with no recurring fees
  • Other than the fact that everything must fit in the unit's 4TB storage, there are no limits on sizes, resolutions or length of files that can be stored or shared
  • Access is controlled using a "membership" plan. Each member can selectively share content privately with specific members of a membership circle, or the public
  • Privacy is enhanced because data is only stored on a Apollo Cloud unit, and not scattered across multiple Web locations
  • To enhance security, all Internet data transfers are encrypted

A number of suppliers, including companies such as Seagate, Western Digital, LaCie, PROMISE Technology and a number of others are offering personal storage technology to support "personal clouds;" that is, a way for individuals, workgroups or entire companies to export contact lists, photos, movies, songs and other data to a local storage device similar to the way they would use a cloud storage service such as Google Docs, Dropbox or similar services.

The key difference is that the storage device is installed locally and can be protected by the company's own firewall and other security capabilities.

Individuals and companies often choose a personal cloud storage solution over the public cloud offerings because they have privacy or security concerns. Who, for example, can see data they've uploaded into a public cloud storage service? They may also be concerned about industry or government regulations.

Dan's Take: A Useful Solution
After playing with the PROMISE Apollo system for a while, I've come to the conclusion that one of these devices, combined with apps PROMISE offers for Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android, can be a useful solution for those wanting centralized storage under tight privacy or security controls.

The newest update to the PROMISE apps has extended the capability of their storage system and should be considered if you're looking into a personal cloud solution.

The device has worked as expected. I've been able to create files on my smartphone and place them on the device and pull them back from my laptop to edit them. The only possible issue is that a download of special software/apps for each device is necessary. While this is the same as some competitors' requirements, others use the client devices' built-in remote file access capability without requiring downloads of vendor specific software. That being said, mid-market companies or remote departments of larger companies might find the Apollo a good answer to secure, private cloud storage.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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