Tag Archives: nas

LaCie 5big Network 2 Professional NAS

LaCie today announced the 5big Network 2 professional RAID network storage unit in a range of new capacities, including diskless, allowing it to be scaled upwards as the needs of the businesses demand. Styled by designed Neil Poulton, this is one device that doesn’t need to be hidden in away in a server room.

LaCie 5bigLaCie 5big back

With the option to purchase the diskless version and then install already available disks, the 5big is a cost-effective way of getting into professional storage which can then grow as funds and storage needs dictate. Hot-swap is supported too, meaning that in the event of a drive failure, the faulty unit can be replaced without downtime.

In addition to taking 5 SATA drives, there’s a good range of connectivity round the back including a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, two eSata connectors and two USB (2.0) ports. Protocol-wise, the 5big supports a wide range including SMB, NFS, AFP, FTP, SFTP, HTTP(S) and iSCSI. It also works with Bonjour, Time Machine, iTunes and BitTorrent. The full details are on the specification page.

The remote access features of the 5big cater for off-site staff and there’s a complementary app, MyNAS, for iPhone and iPad owners.

Prices start at $349 for the diskless version up to $1,699 for the 15 TB version.

Pogoplug Series 4 for Your Own Cloud

Pogoplug LogoRegular readers will recall that I was quite taken with the integration of Pogoplug into the Buffalo CloudStation Duo, so I was very interested to hear that Pogoplug have released a new device, the Series 4. If you aren’t familiar with the Pogoplug device, it’s a network gadget that makes attached USB devices available across the Internet. In short, you can make your own personal cloud. More recently, Pogoplug has released a cloud service that complements the hardware devices.

Unsurprisingly, the Pogoplug Series 4 is the 4th generation of their of their original device, and while retaining the form factor of the Pogoplug Mobile, the devices now includes four different connection types for hooking up hard drives and other media.

  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x 2.5” SATA / USM / Seagate GoFlex ultra-portable drives
  • 1x SD card slot
New to the Pogoplug range is plug-and-play support for Seagate’s GoFlex external drives and other products that have adopted the new universal storage module standard (USM). There’s a gigabit Ethernet port for connecting the Series 4 to the network.
Series 4 Pogoplug
Series 4 Pogoplug ports
Owners can make their photos and videos available to friends and family over the Internet to PCs and mobile devices such as iPhones, Android smartphones and WebOS devices. The new Series 4 is designed to be an extension of the Pogoplug Cloud service. 5GB of cloud storage is available for free and premium options for 50GB and 100GB will be offered shortly.

The Pogoplug Series 4 is on-sale now for an RRP of $99.99.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo Hands-On Review

On test here is the 2 TB version of Buffalo‘s CloudStation Duo, a RAID-capable NAS with built-in Pogoplug, giving the user their own personal cloud.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with PogoPlug

The CloudStation Duo is squarely aimed at the prosumer market, both in terms of the hardware and the software on-board. For the hardware, it is equipped with two 1 TB drives and the unit can either be setup as JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) or else RAID 1 in which each disk mirrors the other. Obviously, in RAID configuration, the NAS has only 1 TB of storage available for use.

For the built-in software, there’s a BitTorrent client, Time Machine support and DLNA multimedia server

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug

Those familiar with Buffalo’s LinkStation range will spot that the Buffalo CloudStation (CS-WX) looks identical the LinkStation Duo (LS-WX), albeit with a new CloudStation sticker on the top left of the front panel. Removing the front panel reveals nothing different on the inside either. Two swappable SATA drives, allowing for replacement in the event of failure or upgrade to a larger capacity.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug Rear

Round the back, it’s the same layout as well. The USB port can be used to add additional storage or as a print server (which is also available as part of the “cloud”.)

All of the CloudStation’s functions are controlled by a built-in webserver, so it’s not essential to install any software on a PC. I found the IP address of the CloudStation via my DHCP server’s status table and after I had the IP, it was simply http://…. in a web browser. Setting up the CoudStation is straightforward. On first login, it recognises that the device is uninitialised and asks how the drive is to be setup. I went for RAID 1 which then meant it spent the next few hours building the array. This has to be completed before any new shares can be setup.

The shares (or folders) appear in Windows as any normal folder does, so copying files to the CloudStation is just a case of drag’n’drop.

Anyone who has setup a NAS before will find it all straightforward. The interesting part is the addition of Pogoplug’s personal cloud. To get started with this, simply open http://cloudstation.pogoplug.com/activate/ in any web browser. The website asks what type of CloudStation is connected and then walks through five basic steps to connect the device up, finally checking connectivity at the end.

As you might expect, the website prompts for an email address and password for secure access to the CloudStation via Pogoplug. A confirmatory link is sent via email and once that’s all checked, you’re logged into the CloudStation remotely and you can start using your personal cloud.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug

And it’s brilliant. I was also able to play music and videos directly in the browser. Here’s a screenshot of it playing a video.

Buffalo CloudStation Duo with Pogoplug Video

And playing a music. You’ll just have to hear the tune in your head.

Buffalo CloudStation with Pogoplug music

The web interface is very comprehensive and you can do more from the internet that you can actually do on the local NAS. For instance, it’s easy to share files and folders with friends and family, which is very handy for photos. You can also share to Facebook, if you are into the social networking scene.

If you have a printer connected to the CloudStation, you can print to it to by sending emails with attachments to a Pogoplug email address. Not a perfect solution, but not bad for the odd occasion. There’s a similar feature that lets you upload files to the CloudStation via email which could be handy at times.

I was also able to gain access from my HP Pre 3 using the Pogoplug app. Similar clients are available for iOS and Android.

There are loads of other features such as the transcoding of video, use of HTML5, bulk downloading of folders and backup from the CloudStation to Pogoplug’s cloud. In fact, there’s too many to mention them all but suffice to say that everything I tried worked well.

To close this review, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the “personal cloud”. I mean, how different can it really be from an ftp site with all your files on it? The revelation for me was the media aspect. Showing photos to friends and family is easy, listening to music from your entire collection is simple and videos can be streamed from home to wherever you are. I love what the the Buffalo CloudStation can offer when combined with Pogoplug.

The Buffalo CloudStation Duo comes in 2 TB and 4 TB variants and is available from all good retailers. Prices on-line suggest typical prices of around £250 and £310 respectively, which is only a small premium over the LinkStation Duo’s prices.

Psst….Buffalo…any chance you’ll offer a firmware upgrade for the LinkStation Duo to convert it to CloudStation Duo? I’d even pay for the upgrade.

Thanks to Buffalo for the loan of the CloudStation.

Buffalo March Madness

Buffalo Technology has had a busy month with updates to the TeraStation, LinkStation, DriveStation and MiniStation ranges.

Starting out at the beginning of the month, the new TeraStation NAS range was announced consisting of the Duo, 4 bay, 6 bay and 8 bay versions, all now powered by Intel’s Atom D510 processor.  The new models also come with two USB 3.0 ports (and two USB 2.0) to connect additional storage or to act as a print server. Aimed squarely at the business market, the TeraStations have Active Directory support, RAID 0/1/5/6/10 and come in both desktop and rackmount variants. Available from April 2011.

Mid-March, Buffalo announced the LinkStation Quad Pro, a 4 TB and 8 TB NAS aimed at the home prosumer. It can stream music and film to popular consoles such as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, and also to any DLNA or uPNP media player. A new feature is support for the Logitech Squezebox which will please music lovers. For photographers, the “DirectCopy” feature uploads pictures from digital still or video cameras direct to the LinkStation. And finally, the new Android version of Buffalo’s WebAccess i app gives access to the multimedia from anywhere in the world. (When’s the WebOS version coming?)

Last week, it was the turn of the external drives, with the MiniStations and DriveStations getting the upgrade treatment. The MiniStation gets a capacity bump to 1 TB and now comes in a glossy black finish. The DriveStation also gets the piano treatment but now comes in two variants: for the price conscious, there’s a USB 2 version in 1 TB and 2 TB capacities but for the speed freaks, a USB 3 version (1, 2 & 3 TB) will satisfy their needs. Available now from all good retailers.

A busy month for Buffalo with something for everyone – I quite fancy upgrading to the LinkStation Quad Pro.


Pogoplug Video

Here at GNC we’ve always been fans of Cloud Engines’ Pogoplug and at CES, they’ve unveiled the latest version, the Pogoplug Video, which adds video streaming to your personal cloud.

If you aren’t familiar with the Pogoplug, it’s a small gadget which you put on your network connected into your router. You then plug in a USB harddrive (or two) into the Pogoplug.  Not only does the harddrive then become a shared drive at home, you can access your files from your work PC, your smartphone, your friend’s house via a web browser and a secure connection through the Pogoplug servers.

This latest interation of the Pogoplugs provides everything that the previous ones did such as file sharing to mobile devices, but also offers streaming of HD video to web browsers and mobile devices, such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm.

“Pogoplug Video is the breakthrough product that many of our end users have requested.” said Daniel Putterman, our co-founder and CEO. “Now you can become your own personal broadcaster and share and stream personal video without uploading it to a website.”

Games consoles as the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are also supported.  The blurb doesn’t say if it’s DLNA-compatible or not but it would be great if it was. Update – it’s UPnP-compatible.  The product sheet for the Pogoplug Video is here.

Another great feature is that you can print to your home printer while you are “on the road”, as long as the printer is on the same network as the Pogoplug. Very handy.

For many people, this is one of few gadgets that they didn’t know they needed, but now they have one, they couldn’t live without it.  Pre-ordering will start from March with deliveries in April. $199.

Buffalo Updates NAS with LinkStation Pro and Pro Duo

Buffalo Technology has announced updates to its LinkStation range of NAS devices in the shape of the LinkStation Pro and LinkStation Pro Duo.  Part of the new V-series, these offer additional features that will be of interest to business users.

LinkStation ProThe LinkStation Pro (LS-VL) retains the familiar LinkStation and DriveStation shape but the addition of a faster processor boosts file transfers when compared to the previous model. Aimed at the prosumer and small businesses, the LinkStation Pro can serve photos, music and video from the built-in DLNA media player. There’s also a BitTorrent client for downloading large files such as podcasts or Linux distros. Available from mid-November in 1 TB (RRP £160)  and 2 TB (RRP £240) flavours.

LinkStation Pro DuoThe big brother of the Pro is the LinkStation Pro Duo (LS-WVL), offering double the storage with dual disk drives in a RAID 0/1 configuration. Although having a similar built-in software, small businesses will be interested in the RAID redundancy for protecting their data and the quick swap hard drives. (Readers are reminded that RAID is no substitute for regular backups). Available in 2 TB and 4 TB variants with list prices of £230 and £360 respectively, also from mid-November.

Where the V-series has additional benefits to business users is in the integration with ActiveDirectory, thus avoiding lengthy setup and configuration of the NAS with users and permissions.

If desired, it’s also possible to access these devices across the Internet, using either the BuffaloNAS on-line portal service or the WebAccess i app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

I’ve always been a fan of the LinkStation range so I look forward to doing a hands-on review in the not-too-distant future.