Build a personal storage cloud

Summary:Like to have your favorite 100 GB of data accessible to you on the web? You can, with something called Pogoplug. While it has some rough edges, it is a handy addition to the road warriors toolkit.

Like to have your favorite 100 GB of data accessible on the web? You can, with something called Pogoplug. While it has some rough edges, it is a handy addition to the road warriors toolkit.

Cloud storage is shaking up enterprise IT. But small-office home-office (SOHO) types don't have the bureaucracy or the staff for online services.

Keep it together My problem: synchronizing current projects between my desktop and notebook is a pain. Sure, remote desktop access software can get me on my desktop, but the 400 W beast sucks up power and I like to turn it off when I'm gone.

I could use Crashplan or Backblaze backups to access data, but I don't back up everything I might need online. Dropbox is an excellent service, but uploading 100 GB over America's Third World broadband - thanks, telcos! - is something I don't have time for.

So I was ready for something different.

The Plugster The Pogoplug is about the size of a fat paperback book. It has a status light on the front along with 1 USB port and 3 more USB ports, an ethernet port and power on the back.

Setup is simple: connect the included ethernet cable between the Pogoplug and your router. Plug a USB drive and one of the USB ports. Download software and register your device at

After you've installed the software - Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, Blackberry, Palm and iOS are supported - point your browser at Sign in and you can see whatever is on the Pogoplug.

They include manual synchronization software. Click a button and the folders you've selected are synchronized with the Pogoplug storage. I hope they'll automate that in the future, along with saying when the last sync occurred.

You can also create a public link to selected files. Not a substitute for large file sharing sites unless you have fast uplinks, but handy nonetheless.

The browser-based file interface is clunky looking. But it does the job.

Massive online storage You can plug 4 2 TB drives into a Pogoplug. That's 8 TB of online cloud storage for the cost of the disks - and USB disks are the cheapest external storage you can buy - plus the cost of the Pogoplug.

Even cheaper: use old USB drives. I tried several and they all worked. It even supports Mac HFS+ formatted drives.

The Storage Bits take Many SOHO storage devices are are pared down professional products. They bother you with RAID levels, LUNs, volume management. The Pogoplug is a welcome exception.

Yes, you can use excellent services like Dropbox to keep data online. Their software is easy and works as advertised.

My problem is I don't want to think about which files to upload. I just want key folders available.

Now when I'm rushing out the door I just tell Pogoplug to synchronize the folders and when that's done I can turn off my desktop machine. Peace of mind when I'm on the road.

Comments welcome, of course. I bought the Pogoplug on sale for $45 with my own money.

Topics: Hardware, Enterprise Software, Storage


Robin Harris is Chief Analyst at TechnoQWAN LLC, a storage research and consulting firm he founded in 2005. Based in Sedona, Arizona, TechnoQWAN focuses on emerging technologies, products, companies and markets. Robin has over 35 years experience in the IT industry and earned degrees from Yale and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton... Full Bio

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