QNAP TurboNAS Firmware: 3.5 Deep Dive Part Four: Cloud Backup Services

This is Part Four of our QNAP TurboNAS Deep Dive series and we look at cloud backup services.  Read on for details!

In Part One of this series, we told you how to set up the ISCSI target functionality in TurboNAS 3.5. In Part Two, we covered adding users. In Part Three, we covered volume management and SMART data.  In Part Four, we’ll cover cloud backup services.

Cloud Backup: Services Available

TurboNAS support establishing cloud backups with two services: Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive.  Here is how the help file describes the two services:

Amazon S3

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is an online storage web service offered by AWS (Amazon Web Services), and it provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. With Amazon S3 support, you can now easily upload the data from your NAS to Amazon S3 or download the data from Amazon S3 to your NAS.

Note: Before starting use this service, you will need to create your AWS account.


ElephantDrive is an online storage service for users to back up data to their ElephantDrive account and restore data. The ElephantDrive service on the NAS allows you to create an ElephantDrive account and back up your NAS data to the online storage and restore data to the NAS via ElephantDrive website.

I’ve seen S3 before and it is a great service.  Amazon describes their service here:

Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, secure, fast, inexpensive infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.

Amazon S3 is intentionally built with a minimal feature set.

  • Write, read, and delete objects containing from 1 byte to 5 terabytes of data each. The number of objects you can store is unlimited.
  • Each object is stored in a bucket and retrieved via a unique, developer-assigned key.
  • A bucket can be stored in one of several Regions. You can choose a Region to optimize for latency, minimize costs, or address regulatory requirements. Amazon S3 is currently available in the US Standard, US West (Oregon), US West (Northern California), EU (Ireland), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo) and GovCloud (US) Regions. The US Standard Region automatically routes requests to facilities in Northern Virginia or the Pacific Northwest using network maps.
  • Objects stored in a Region never leave the Region unless you transfer them out. For example, objects stored in the EU (Ireland) Region never leave the EU.
  • Authentication mechanisms are provided to ensure that data is kept secure from unauthorized access. Objects can be made private or public, and rights can be granted to specific users.
  • Options for secure data upload/download and encryption of data at rest are provided for additional data protection.
  • Uses standards-based REST and SOAP interfaces designed to work with any Internet-development toolkit.
  • Built to be flexible so that protocol or functional layers can easily be added. The default download protocol is HTTP. A BitTorrent™ protocol interface is provided to lower costs for high-scale distribution.
  • Reliability backed with the Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement.

As you can see, Amazon S3 is a pretty decent service.  US pricing starts at $0.140/GB/Month for the 1st 1TB of data transferred.

ElephantDrive support was added recently as well.  Here is how ElephantDrive describes themselves:

Military grade encryption keeps your files safe and secure
Intelligent software moves your data fast
Access and share your files anytime, anywhere
One program to unify your data
  • Secure 128-bit SSL transfer  Information sent from you to ElephantDrive is protected by the same system that banks and financial institutions use to secure their transactions.
  • Advanced 256-bit AES encryption  Before transfer, your files are encrypted with the preferred algorithm of the U.S. government (approved for “Top Secret” use by the NSA).
  • Innovative delivery technology  Our engineers have designed an advanced, proprietary system for maximizing your available bandwidth while minimizing the effects on your system.
  • Differential backups  ElephantDrive recognizes which files are new or have been modified so that after your first backup completes, all future backups will go much faster.
  • Universal access  With ElephantDrive’s web-based portal you have 24/7 access to all of your files, wherever you are!
  • Easy and secure file sharing  Share any file with a single click (great for files that are too large to email), and set a password for extra security.
  • Multiple devices and multiple platforms  Works with laptops, servers, external storage devices, MACs, PCs, and most server operating systems.
  • Powerful administrative controls  Create independent sub-accounts with different access privileges (Business Plan required), and monitor your account activity and data usage.

Personal plans start at $9.95 per month and QNAP offers a 30 day free trial.  Since there is a free trial and since I’ve never looked at ElephantDrive before, I decided to try it out here.

Installing ElephantDrive

Under the Backup tab in the web admin page, click on Backup and then Cloud Backup.
If you are setting up Amazon S3, you are in the right place!  Since we’re doing ElephantDrive, click on the ElephantDrive tab.  Enter the email account and password that you want to use with Elephant Drive and click the Create button.

Once it checks with ElephantDrive and determines the availability of the account that you want to use, you’ll get the above status message. Click OK and then Apply. It connects with ElephantDrive and reports the status of Logged In.

To see your account and backup details, log into your account at https://vault.elephantdrive.com/account/login.aspx and use the email and password that you used to set up the account from the NAS.  I went to see my account detail and it confirmed that I had a 50GB promotional account active.  Next, click on Backup/Restore and then Manage Backups.
Now you are looking at the list of jobs created by TurboNAS when your account was created.
Highlight Multimedia and Edit Backup.

Note that the backup job is not active.  I’d prefer that TurboNAS make this backup job active when creating it, but Ii do understand that some may not agree with my preference.  I’ll click on Automatic/Enabled to turn it on.

ElephantDrive allows you to specify file types to include and exclude from the directory indicated, and also allows some control over versioning, archiving and scheduling, as you can see from these screenshots.

Currently, my multimedia files are set for continuous backup, and deleted files are never removed from ElephantDrive.  I’d want to review those settings going forward if this was a permanent part of my technical infrastructure.


Overall, TurboNAS makes it very easy to configure cloud backup services and offers two good options in Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive.  As always with these services, costs can add up fast, so I’d use these services to protect the truly irreplaceable photos and home videos and anything else that you would not want to lose in a fire.  QNAP has hit the nail on the head as far as easy configuration of robust cloud backup services.

QNAP TurboNAS 3.5 Deep Dive Part One: ISCSIQNAP TurboNAS 3.5 Deep Dive Part Two: UsersQNAP TurboNAS 3.5 Deep Dive Part Three: Volume Management



  1. Joti

    Hi Jim, I work at ElephantDrive and read your review of ED on QNAP. It is very detailed and through and the screen shots are great! Thank you for the great work and let us know if you ever have any cloud backup needs. I can get you a great deal!