Geoff Barrall, the founder of both Data Robotics (of Drobo fame) and BlueArc, has added another storage-based startup to his CV: Connected Data, whose product is Transporter, an intriguing cross between a NAS box and, when linked to others of its ilk, a private cloud storage solution. Version 1.0 of Transporter was launched to some acclaim in the US earlier this year: now it has arrived in Europe with a number of second-generation improvements.
The distinctive Transporter appliance houses a 2.5in. SATA hard drive (up to 2TB in capacity) and connects to your network via a Gigabit Ethernet port. A USB 2.0 port is also available, to accommodate a Wi-Fi adapter if necessary. Apart from status lights and a power input, that's it on the hardware front. The software is available for Mac OS X (10.7 Lion or above), Windows (7 SP1 or above), iOS and now Android.
Connected Data has modelled the software experience on cloud storage services like Dropbox: once you've created an account with the company to authorise your Transporter, and installed the software, you can sync and share folders in much the same way as with the cloud service. The key difference is that all data is stored locally on the Transporter devices rather than in the cloud. If you've shared folders with friends or colleagues, file changes are replicated to their Transporters in a peer-to-peer fashion over encrypted links.
The advantages of the Transporter solution, according to Connected Data, are data privacy, the lack of monthly fees (Transporter is a one-time purchase) and its combination of file syncing, sharing and backup functionality.
Improvements in the second-generation Transporter include: full drag-and-drop support, right-click functions and file link sharing; flexible sync options; new iOS and Android apps; and improved firewall traversal capabilities.
Connected Data sells the second-generation Transporter at an SRP of £179 (inc VAT) for the bare enclosure, £249 with a 1TB drive and £325 with a 2TB drive. It will be available in June. Look out for a full review of the device on ZDNet in the coming weeks.