Ars Technica posed an interesting question back in October: We have an Intel NUC -- what should we do with it? Here's one idea...Of course I have Ubuntu One storage and Dropbox account. And I'm very well familiar with Box.com and dozens of other highly successful cloud storage solutions too.
These are unfortunately not the solution I want, to the problem I have.
I've considered many, many alternatives. But ultimately, the only product on the market which I'm willing to buy is a co-lo service. I want full root access, inside of a virtual private server, running a pristine, unspoiled, unmodified Ubuntu LTS server. And attached to that, I want a lot (like, 1TB or more) of highly available, scalable block storage. Not object storage. BFS. Block frickin' storage. I want to format it with the file system of my choosing, and encrypt the data within with a cryptosystem and key of my choosing.
And finally I want to run rsync over an encrypted ssh connection multiple times per day to push my backups "to the cloud".
That's it. And that's neither U1 nor Dropbox. That's a little bit like rsync.net, but not really.
I currently use AWS's EC2 and EBS. I'm happy with the technology, but unhappy with the cost and security. You can encrypt your data, but Amazon certainly could subvert your keys and encryption (or collude with the NSA to subvert your keys and encryption).
You're welcome to try, but you're not going to convince me to do this some other way. Sorry. This method is time-tested, recovery-proven.
A few years ago, I blogged about how I used a Dell Mini9 netbook as an Ubuntu Server. I tucked that machine away in a nook at my parents house, and it served me reasonably well as a (free) co-lo for a several years.
But there is now a clear and present opportunity now for a new cloud services business to emerge. And the industry perfect poised to offer such a cloud service is one of the oldest brick-and-mortar institutions in human history....
Yes, banks. You know, the important looking place your parents used to visit a couple of times per week to deposit and cash checks, but now largely replaced by robots called Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)?
There's really only 2 reasons I've visited a bank in the past 15 years.
And every single time I do the latter, I yearn for a power outlet and an Ethernet jack in that magic, safe little box.
And the multi-factor authentication! Yay!
- I currently pay $50 per year for a small, document-sized safe deposit box (which, by the way, the NUC fits within -- I've already checked).
- The NUC itself, at maximum energy consumption, draws 17W, at $0.125/KWh (the current rate in Austin, Texas), costs approximately $18.60 in energy costs per year
- And a bare minimum Internet service plan runs about $20/month in my area, or $240/year