by Bill French on 07/10/09 at 12:55 am
There are lots of cloud storage solutions for iPhone; ZumoDrive, CloudLayer, Box, DropBox, Drop.io represent just the short list and there are many others. These services typically provide 1 to 10 GBs of storage for free and charge monthly fees for more.
Today we take a look at a new product that transforms USB drives of any type into an NAS-like solution. If you have a terrabyte worth of USB’s kicking around the office, here’s a foolproof method for creating a terrabyte of iPhone-accessible cloud storage for about a hundred bucks.
While NAS products such as HP’s MediaVault, are great, I ask all readers to raise your hand if you have at least one USB drive you wish could be a network accessible device. I think we’re virtually unanimous – everyone has a USB drive that’s being used less than it could be or already collecting dust in a closet.
any type (NTFS, FAT32, non-journaled HFS+, ext2, or ext3) to create a personal cloud storage system. This puppy is a full Linux box about the size of your fist and it’s hackable with the blessing of the manufacturer.
Pogoplug also provides a free iPhone client as well as desktop clients for Mac OSX, Windows, and Windows 64bit. In addition to the native clients, Popgoplug provides a web interface that even has a search feature which I found to be surprisingly fast and useful.
Uploading and downloading files is a breeze and I was able to play MP3s through the iPhone client. There’s also some nifty sharing features that allow you to control access by folder to friends, family and colleagues. Of course, upload limitations apply to the iPhone so you’re limited to uploading photos only. If there are ways to get around this limitation, I’d love to hear about them.
Five very cool features make this product a winner.
- It’s “green”; you can recycle existing USB drives and make them relevant (once again) as cloud storage devices.
- The word “simple” isn’t sufficient to describe just how quick and easy it is to setup Pogoplug; literally 90 seconds from start to finish.
- With a USB hub you can create an array of disk storage devices.
- It’s a Linux box with an API; you can hack it, change it, integrate it.
- Unlike most cloud storage systems, there are no monthly service fees and storage expansion is nearly limitless.
It’s Not Perfect
Like every new product, there are some noteworthy things you should be aware of.
- Pogoplug must be connected to your router with an Ethernet cable. This bugs me – I just don’t like wires and routers are often tucked away in tight places. A wireless version might be nice. Pogoplug is about the size of a small grapefruit so it will typically fit even in small areas.
- You need to add a USB hub to add more than one drive. This is a little annoying but more important, USB hubs typically require more power when used with hard drives, so you have to get one that supports an external power supply which also leads to more wires.
- The default Pogoplug web interface doesn’t run on the device; it runs at pogoplug.com. This isn’t ideal – I would prefer to have 100% control over the device and the interface. Architecturally, I suspect their native apps arbitrate with pogoplug.com as well, making it fully dependent on one web service that may experience interruptions which presumably would interrupt sever access to your own drive(s).
I like this little beast so much I bought one and rescued two USB drives from the garage and an eventual death at a land-fill.