Introduction & Specifications
For many, just the thought of setting up and using a network attached storage (NAS) device makes their eyes cross and their pulses increase. While even the technophobic recognize the benefits of having a network-based repository of files for sharing and backup, the concept can still seem daunting to some. The reality is that NAS devices have become surprisingly easy to set up and use, but most still require at least a modicum of networking knowhow. In a bid to allay the fears of even the greenest of computer users, however, CloudEngine's Pogoplug makes setting up and using a NAS device as easy as it can possibly be.
The Pogoplug is the size of large AC adapter. It has Ethernet and USB ports; and instead of using built-in hard drives for storage, you provide your own USB-based drive, such as an external USB hard drive or USB thumb drive. The Pogoplug should be accessible over a network connection by any device with a built-in Web browser; but CloudEngines also offers free client apps for accessing the Pogoplug directly from within Windows XP and Vista (32 and 64-bit), the Mac OS, and Linux (32 and 64-bit--albeit, the Linux versions are presently in beta), where the Pogoplug simply appears as connected drive. CloudEngines even has a free iPhone app for accessing the Pogoplug on your iPhone or iPod touch. Best of all, the Pogoplug sells for only $99--which is a great price for a NAS device--assuming, of course, that you already have a USB drive to attach to it (and don't also have to purchase a new USB drive).
The Pogoplug is actually a full system-on-chip (SoC)-based device, which uses Marvell's SheevaPlug Development Kit. The Pogoplug is one of the first Plug Computing devices to come to market.
Direct Price: $99.00
The Pogoplug essentially brings cloud-based storage into your home: Not only can you access the Pogoplug over your local network via your OS as a networked volume or via a Web-based interface in your browser, but you can also access the Pogoplug remotely while away from home by these same means. Taking it a step further, you can even dole out folder-level read and write access to other local or remote users as well.
The Pogoplug is a service-based appliance, so even though the device is attached to your local network and could be sitting mere inches from you, it still requires CloudEngine's Internet-based Pogoplug service to work. If your Internet connection goes out, you won't be able to access your Pogoplug. There is no fee to utilize the Pogoplug service (the fee is included in the price of the device); but requiring such a service to access the device, begs the question as to what happens if CloudEngines ever goes out of business? CloudEngines had addressed that very issue here on its blog. The answer is not an elegant one, and probably won't make users happy who seek simplicity, but CloudEngines states that "the source code for Pogoplug's back-end services" has been placed in an Escrow account, which will be released on SouceForge to the open source community should the company ever file for bankruptcy.