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 pogoplug.com.
After you've installed the software - Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, Blackberry, Palm and iOS are supported - point your browser at my.Pogoplug.com. 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.