Choosing the correct cloud storage for your workload

June 4th, 2021

There has been a shift in the cloud storage industry and more organizations are realizing the importance of backing up their data and outsourcing the infrastructure setup and maintenance.

We recently had a request from one of our clients as they needed a reliable cloud storage service in South Africa. Their brief said that they required the service provider to be quick, local and it needed to work with their existing in-house storage that had the option to mirror data to an S3 API compliant cloud storage provider. The need for the storage to be in South Africa was brought about by their compliance with the POPI Act (Protection of Personal Information Act) as they are an insurance brokerage.

The challenge was to provide them with storage that is locally hosted with the data being encrypted client-side. Though there are many cloud storage providers out there it was quite a challenge to find a purely local cloud provider that would guarantee that data is stored within South Africa. We did our research and found that the options available locally are few and often extremely cost prohibitive.

We had two options, 1) We could setup a storage node for them within our data centre. This would require a substantial upfront cost for the client or 2) We could look for a South African object storage provider, which would allow our client to keep their capital working for the business.

A cost and performance comparison between local competitors and international players showed that although local was slightly more expensive in some cases, it also proved to be the quickest for our client.

Many trial accounts and due diligence tests later and perhaps with a bit of luck, we stumbled across a new cloud storage provider in the South African online storage land scape: Z1 Storage. We here very happy to find, a local cloud storage business with data centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Upload, download and API calls all added up to be a large portion of the storage costs with online backup providers and the other services we tested. It has to be noted that our client had continuous data protection, which required a lot of “reads and writes”. Luckily Z1 Storage does not charge for upload, download or API calls.

Z1 Storage provides a trial account for free, which we signed up for, and tested thoroughly in-house. The trial was for a 10GB account, which although it may not be much, it was sufficient to let us gauge their product performance. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that our office fibre line was almost saturated; the upload speed was quick! We managed to sustain 75MB/s on our 1Gbit line, but this was not practical for us as it started impacting the performance of other users on the network. We had to throttle the upload to stabilise our office internet – it was that fast!

It’s a great day when you find what you’re looking for! For us it was local storage that was fast, reliable and affordable and importantly for our client; locally hosted.

It was the obvious decision to upgrade our account and start assisting our client with uploading their data to the off-site cloud storage. Though there are many storage service providers that would fit the bill, Z1 Storage won us over with their quick response times to our technical queries and their transparent pricing.

Our client advised us that they also needed to have ‘always on’ storage mounts for ad-hoc data storage, for this we utilised the S3fs-fuse to create a mount point on their internal office file server for non critical files. Their SAN, which contained more sensitive information was configured to mirror data continuously to Z1 Storage through the S3 API. The SAN had built in encryption so we where covered from that angle as well.

It is such a great pleasure to see such innovation within the South African storage space. Z1 Storage has been a valuable find for both us and our clients.

Castlerock believes in giving our clients the most cost effective and reliable solution, for us this meant using


Z1 Storage – local cloud object-storage service provider; Z1 Storage is a South African cloud storage company and according to their bio, they ‘started out with the vision of storing 1 ZettaByte of client and institutional data for the African continent and beyond it's borders’. They are fully compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act which commenced in 2020 and adhere to the code of conduct. They also abide with the regulations that have been put in place to protect all customers.

Because Z1 Storage is a local service provider with data centres in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, the upload speed is much faster. They have technicians standing by to offer the best level of support or assistance you may require.

Z1 Storage Compatibility

A positive with Z1 Storage is that it is compatible with thousands of devices and services. Z1 Storage is fully compatible and works with your trusted software, SAN, NAS and OS. They work with all major backup systems that use the S3 API. This shows that they have done their homework and are aware of both their prospective customers needs and also future proofing your data storage solution.

Depending on the capacity you require, should you decide to sign-up for their service you can be up and running within an hour to a few days. The process is quick and easy.

Z1 Storage Application – Mount your backups on your local machine

With the integrated backup mount app you will be able to access your data any time from your device and they will be viewed as local files.

With the app you can mount your backup space as a drive within Windows or Mac and you can explore your files easily, accessing it as if it is saved directly to your computer.

Z1 Storage Pricing

Z1 Storage pricing is good. They offer a safe, cost-effective alternative to setting-up and maintaining on-premise infrastructure. They provide a free trial account whereby the first 10 GB are free and all you need to do is sign-up.

After you’ve upgraded your account you can scale up or down depending on your capacity, which means that you pay as you use. Costing is per additional GB, so you only pay for what you consume, there are no reserved capacity tiers to worry about. Very good value for money.

There will not be any surprise fees or charges. Data traffic and S3 API calls are included at no extra charge. The ingress and egress per month is free and equivalent to the amount of data stored monthly.

Z1 Storage takes great pride in the quality of the service they offer. To ensure a high service level they utilize top line storage, multi tiered networks and employ only the best staff. There may be cheaper options out there, but for us, reliability was key and we where happy to pay a reasonable market price for our online storage.