Run Your Own Netflix?

Do you want to be just like Netflix or Amazon Prime and stream videos to whoever?  Well, only if you don’t mind spending like $59.99 a month to allow s3Bubble stream your videos that you host with Amazon S3 service.  Actually, the cost could go way up since you also have to pay Amazon for Amazon S3 service.  Amazon S3 service is like a static web host service, because each bucket could hold all sorts of files and data such as a video.  It’s kind of interesting how s3Bubble would make it easy for you to be your own Netflix, because you can also stream 4K videos to whoever.  I wonder how much it would cost for the bandwidth though, because I’m unsure if s3Bubble would just only charge you $59.99 a month.  Since bandwidth data have to travel out of Amazon S3 service, and so I assume that you would also have to pay for bandwidth cost to Amazon.  Anyhow, depending on how busy your do it yourself Netflix site becomes, you could pay a fortune to stream videos.  Furthermore, if you stream videos that are copyrighted, you’ll be in a lot of trouble.  Nonetheless, the technology is there for one man/woman to become a Netflix service.  Quite interesting I must say.  Check out the video right after the break to see how the whole process would work.  Enjoy!


How Paranoid Should You Be For Backing Up Your Data?

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ask me what is the best way to backup your data, I will probably direct your concern to more than one way.  I like to think of not placing all of your eggs in one basket kind of scenario.  What’s the point of backing up data in the first place?  It’s to hope that when things go crazy such as a computer’s data corruption might occur, you can then access your most valuable backup data.  If you only rely on one preferable backup method, then what if in a critical moment that even the backup data isn’t accessible through your preferable only backup method, what will you do then?  Even a perfect storm is a possible scenario for spreading eggs in more than one basket, therefore I think being paranoid about safekeeping your data with more than one preferable backup method is the best way to go about doing the backups for your valuable data.

For us normal folks, the regular Joe(s), who have data that we want to safeguard, it’s a must for us to spread our data in more than one basket.  It must not be that you have to be a company to take this approach.  Furthermore, nowadays regular Joe(s) do have plenty of ways to go about doing backups for their data.  Let me list few of them:

  • Google Drive
  • Pogoplug
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • CrashPlan
  • External hard drives
  • Network attach storage solution such as QNAP NAS servers
  • Do it yourself FreeNAS server solution
  • rsync to a renting server with affordable monthly fee

And the list can go on a lot longer as third party cloud services are now in amble supply.  I think the problem isn’t about finding a backup solution or solutions for the regular Joe(s), but it’s about the affordability, speed, security, and conveniency aspects.  Let say, if a regular Joe wants to spread his backup data in more than one basket, how affordable can this be?  So on and so on…

I think affordability should not be as big of an issue as before the time when there were no third party cloud service and competitive (affordable) computer hardware pricing.  If you don’t intend to harbor 100 of Gigabytes worth of data for streaming purpose or whatever extreme configuration, backing up few Gigabytes worth of data should not cost you much at all.  Perhaps, you can do it at no cost too.  One example, I think Google Drive gives you around 10 Gigabytes worth of free data space or a little bit more than this, and just with this service alone you know you don’t have to spend a dime to backup your data as long you are not going over the free space limitation that Google Drive allows.  Don’t like third party cloud services for whatever reasons?  Computer hardware such as external hard drives nowadays are no longer pricing at outrageous prices, therefore it’s easier for regular Joe(s) to go this route for doing their data backups.  How about coupling Linux with a spare, dusty computer to form a local backup storage server at zero cost in term of money, but you have to spend time on putting things together such as installing Linux and deploying Linux’s network attached storage services to have a more complete backup server solution.

I can see that the many third party cloud services as good solutions for doing backups.  How come?  Let say you’re paranoid about the safety of your data to a point that you consider the scenario where local backup data can all be corrupted at the same time for whatever reasons such as a virus/hack attack (or by even a more nefarious scenario), therefore you think third party cloud services are the additional safety reservoirs for your backup data.  If you are this paranoid, I think you’re doing it right.  Although third party cloud services are good measures against local data corruption, there are problems with this whole approach in general.  Let me list a few:

  • Broadband’s upload speed (Internet connection) isn’t fast enough to do a major backup (i.e., backing up huge amount of data in Gigabytes worth)
  • Security issue… how do we know our data can be securely safeguarded and stored on the remote servers?
  • Trust issue… such as how do we know our data privacy and our privacy won’t be breached on the remote servers?

I sneakily snuck in the speed and security concerns about backing up data remotely through third party cloud services, but we should not take the security issue lightly since many people may not want their privately backup data to be made known to the whole world.  Security done right in term of backing up data locally and remotely, this will also address the privacy issue/concern too.  I think employing good network and computer security measures locally will enhance the security protection level for the backup data.  Such measures should be about employing hardware and software firewall, antivirus, and so on.  Don’t forget to update the software and firmware, because through updating these things that you can be assured of weeding out security bugs.  You can never be too sure about the security of your data when you’re backing up your data remotely, therefore you should employing encryption for your backup data before you upload your backup data to the remote servers.  One good encryption measure I know of is TrueCrypt software which can be downloaded and used freely.

I don’t think we should sacrifice our data security for conveniency, because data security is definitely more important than otherwise.  Still, conveniency should be considered in the calculation of our data backup challenge too.  It’s just that we have to make sure we don’t have to sacrifice data security for conveniency.  Let say, you want to backup your data to a third party cloud service, but you don’t like the idea of doing a local encryption for your data first… this means you are sacrificing your data security for conveniency and this is truly bad for you as the owner of the backup data (i.e., privacy concern).

In summary, I think if you’re paranoid enough about the health of your data, then you should devise many backup plans for your data.  You should try to backup your data both locally and remotely, but you should employ encryption for your data when you do backup your data remotely.  Backing up huge amount of data remotely can be very inconvenient at this point in time since so many regular Joe(s) do not have access to fast upload broadband speed.  Let hope this will change soon, and I know things will be moving in this direction since data streaming and data sharing and data backup are in much more demand than ever before.  One example would be Google fiber Internet service.  Google is driving the Internet Service Provider competition forward as Google deploys its Gigabit Internet connection service for many households in various lucky cities and towns.  With Google pushing for more competition in the area of broadband speed, I think the future — having great Internet connection for uploading our backups — is definitely bright.  As time is moving on, the costs of computer backup hardware and backup services can be even more competitive, we can expect the cost of deploying backup measures for our data can only get cheaper and easier.  I like the idea of having a NAS locally, and using one or two third party cloud services for my data backups.

(How paranoid should you be for backing up your data?  In my opinion, the answer should be, the more the merrier.)

I Wish To See Cloud As An Open Source Cloud As A Service

English: Cloud Computing Image

Image via Wikipedia

Cloud computing is usually shortened for just cloud.  Cloud is now a word that most people carelessly throw around, because it’s one word which has been promoted heavily by the tech industry.  And I quote Wikipedia, “Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a metered service over a network (typically the Internet).” — Source:  I’m surprised that Cloud hasn’t yet becoming an open source cloud as a service.

I think I need to clarify on what I mean by “cloud” as an open source cloud as a service.  Imagine having someone whips up an open source cloud as a service software that would allow strangers to come together and share computing resources, consequently allowing each participant to have more cloud storage space, cloud computational resource, and cloud this and that.  Of course, such an open source cloud as a service software needs to provide or implement a unique security protocol so it would be almost pointless to decrypt and pry for information without proper authorization.

Such open source cloud as a service software should be freely distributed to anyone who wants to promote their own open source cloud as a service environment/ecosystem.  I guess, someone just needs to start a first node, then the rest can join!  Once again, I like to emphasize on the security implementation; if a security implementation isn’t done right, instead of having an open source cloud as a service, people who participate might find their personal open source cloud as a service ecosystem to become a zombie service where hackers use this particular computing ecosystem to deploy attacks such as Denial-of-service.  It would be bad indeed.

Furthermore, if proper brains come together and agree, who would say a business model might not spring into existence from having an open source cloud as a service, right?  Anyhow, this idea of mine might be a foolish idea, but I don’t mind throwing foolish idea into the cyberspace.  Then again, this foolish idea might already be in the work by someone else who has yet to announce his new creation to the world; he who quietly codes away from his tiny table somewhere in this world.

Update:  Imagine an open source cloud as a service as an open source Internet (but a small cohesive cloud Internet ecosystem which can grow quite large), because people would be using one another computational resources, whether that be hardware and software, to create an open source cloud ecosystem which isn’t that different from a commercial cloud service/ecosystem.  Imagine Amazon S3, EC2, and other Amazon web services as open source services, and the participants don’t really need to spend cash/credit other than their already available physical hardware, software, and bandwidth.  Come to think of it, bandwidth might be a problem.  Nonetheless, BitTorrent works out just fine, and so open source cloud as a service might work out just fine too, I hope.  And yeah, I don’t think open source cloud as a service will be similar to BitTorrent, because this isn’t about peer to peer protocol, but it’s probably something else entirely.

Update:  I can see energy cost and frequent unplug/shut-down of hardware and shoddy hardware might hamper the idea of open source cloud as a service, but dedicated users/participants might not have such problems, I guess.