Your very own NAS—Network Attached Storage—allowing you to have your very own Cloud on the net. And the great thing is it won’t break the bank-- or your sanity.
We did a rundown of Cloud services on the internet some weeks back, which is great if you’re looking to work almost exclusively online. It certainly has its benefits: remote access to your data from anywhere, and if you get the right service, you can have your own media server and be able to listen to or watch your files virtually any time you want. Imagine the convenience.
But what if we told you you could have your own cloud service on the net, without any restrictions—no file limitations or space considerations?
It used to be complicated. You’d need a NAS enclosure, which is expensive. Then you’d need big hard drives (also expensive), usually run in a RAID configuration, which is a redundant way of backing up your data as you go along. Then you’d need a dedicated, permanent IP address on the net, not a dynamically-assigned one as most internet providers give you, so that you can locate your device easily from anywhere.
Well, these days the technology is fast becoming democratized and inexpensive, and we discovered a fast, easy-to-set up, cheap solution for those who want a private Cloud for themselves.
Presenting the Buffalo CloudStation, an easy NAS-dedicated server that doesn’t cost much more than your average external hard drive, and literally takes just 60 seconds to set up.
The CloudStation comes in a convenient upright hard drive enclosure, and it isn’t much bigger than your regular external hard disk. It doesn’t even have a power button—all it has is a power connector and an Ethernet port, and that’s basically it (the device has low power consumption and is meant to stay on 24/7). You’ll find a small power brick and an Ethernet cable in the box and not much else.
Japan-based manufacturer Buffalo, mainly known for producing all kinds of external drives, made their home NAS device simple and quick to set up. Buffalo manufactures bigger, professional and more expensive NAS enclosures like the CloudStation Duo and the CloudStation Duo Pro, on which the drives are available separately, but they made the regular CloudStation a convenient, all-in-one package.
You just connect the drive to your internet router with the Ethernet cable (a nice, flat, white, tangle-free cord most developers should include), and then hook it up to a power outlet with the AC adaptor. And that’s basically it. All you need do is go to your computer and set it up, which isn’t problematic in the least.
You go to a site called cloudstation.pogoplug.com/activate, and use the free cloud service Pogoplug to enable the drive. Just create an account using your email address and a password, go through a simple four-step process, and you’re off to the Cloud.
You get a browser interface for your hard drive, provided by Buffalo, which you can access anytime on the net. There are conveniently included portals by which you can view or listen to your media files right there: Gallery for your photos, Jukebox for your music and Cinema for your video.
Transfer all your content to the new NAS: your work, your pictures, your music, your video—everything, and you’ll never look back. And when you work, create and save your files onto the NAS for remote access anytime, on any device.
There are side benefits too: it has its own Bit Torrent server, allowing you to download files even if your computer isn’t turned on, and it’s compatible with Apple’s Time Machine and lets you have unattended backup of your system around the clock.
It isn’t all perfect. You’ll find that the browser interface won’t copy complete folders directly to the drive, which is problematic when you’re transferring big gobs of data, but you can download from the Buffalo site a small program called NAS Navigator (for Mac or Windows), which allows you to “locally” mount the drive on your desktop and copy or retrieve files or folders (or anything else you would normally do) as though it was really there.
The Buffalo CloudStation is a great option, and it isn’t expensive. Of course, it goes without saying you need your own internet provider and a router, and your device will need a constant connection to the net, but who doesn’t these days? Just think, you’re a step closer to just carrying a workstation device with you, and you can leave your files and things on your very own cloud.
The Buffalo NAS HDD CloudStation comes in two varieties, the 1TB version (CS-X1), for those with moderate needs, and the bigger 2TB version (CS-X2), for those with more files. Prices start at an affordable P5500 for the 1TB, and P8500 for the 2TB.
Just think, you’re a step closer to just carrying a workstation device with you, and you can leave your files and things on your very own cloud.