WHAT IS IT?
The Buffalo Technology CloudStor is a Network-attached storage (NAS) server that links to your home’s router via an Ethernet connection. The CloudStor comes in 1 or 2 terabyte regular and 2 TB Pro (with a faster processor and bigger cache) configurations. One drive bay inside its case is left empty, giving you the option to add a second drive for a RAID 1 setup. Once configured, it pops up as an external drive on your network, where you can simply drag and drop files, or use the included Pogoplug Drive application to actively copy multiple folders on your computer (music, photos, etc.) as well as enable automatic updates when new files get added.
Pogoplug functionality on the CloudStor isn’t just limited to moving data between drives; you can use it to access any stored file remotely, or to share music, video, photos, documents, etc., with others. (This is where the Cloud part comes in.) To access your files from a remote computer, you use the Pogoplug Web interface or iPhone/iPad/ Android apps, which let you stream files to your portable over a Wi-Fi or cellular connection. I don’t know about you, but I can only fit a fragment of my music collection on my iPhone — when I’m out and about, the vast majority gets left behind. Cloudstor’s combination of massive storage capacity and Internet accessibility means that even enormous digital music libraries can be accessed with ease. (CloudStor’s favored file formats are AAC/ALAC/MP3 for music, and AVC [H.264] for video, though it can also convert some other file formats for playback.)
To share files, you simply browse CloudStor’s contents via your computer or portable, select the Share option, and a dialog box pops up where you enter the email address of folks you want to share a particular file with. (Other options let you upload pics or vids to Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace.) The recipient then gets an email link that lets them download media directly from your drive. At the end of the day, this is a fantastic method for sharing large files such as videos and photo albums without having to work around your ISP’s email file-size limits.
Other features of CloudStor include an integrated BitTorrent client (UTorrent) and the ability to act as a UPnP server to stream media to an Xbox 360 or PS3. Apple computer owners can also use it for Time Machine backups. Finally, the CloudStor USB port lets you connect to a printer and print from any computer on your network. You can even tap the same printer to remotely print out documents over the Internet!
Getting the CloudStor up and running wasn’t a problem for the most part. I plugged it in, connected the included Ethernet cable between it and my router, and then pointed my Web browser to a URL printed on a sheet of paper that let me activate the drive. The only hitch was that the setup process required me to type in an ID number located on the drive itself — a hassle since I had already installed it on my bookshelf. After downloading the Pogoplug Drive software, I set it up to copy folders on my computer containing music, photos, and movie files, and then let ‘er rip.
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