Buffalo's Cloudstor Puts 'Easy' Button on NAS-Type Storage

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-04-01 Print this article Print

Toaster-sized Cloudstor combines 1TB and 2TB capacities with cloud services for no extra cost.

Storage networking and device maker Buffalo Technology is putting an "easy" button -- think of that ubiquitous TV commercial for an office products retail store -- onto a new home-and-small-office network storage device.

Not only did Buffalo on March 31 launch a new NAS (network-attached storage)-type desktop device with lots of additional storage (1TB or 2TB capacities) in a toaster-sized machine called Cloudstor, it is now adding cloud services to it -- for no extra cost.

Say that again? That's right, cloud-based access at no extra cost. You pay once for the storage device, and the remote access comes with it. That's it. As long as you own the device, you have browser-based access to your data at no recurring charge, which flies in the face of conventional cloud storage services.

Cloudstor, originally announced at International CES in Las Vegas last January, started shipping this week, with the 1TB version listed at $169 and the 2TB model at $269.

Cloudstor separates itself from other NAS devices in that users can store files from laptops, smartphones and tablet PCs from remote locations because the interconnect is all Web-based.

"One of the problems we're solving is making NAS drives as easy to use as USB drives," Buffalo director of marketing Jay Pechek, a former Seagate and Maxtor staffer, told eWEEK.

"It does take some technical knowledge to set up a NAS system, and to access it from outside your network, you have to set up Web access, open up ports in the firewall and on the router, and so on," Pechek said.

"Ninety-eight percent of the population knows how to use a USB connection, and 2 percent know how to do NAS. We just wanted to make this easy, and we did."

Buffalo, a Japanese company with U.S. headquarters in Austin, Texas, partnered with cloud storage software maker Pogoplug to use that company's connector and its Web site to remotely unite the Cloudstor unit with the storage on the physical unit. Users can access their storage drives through any browser, Pechek said.

The remote access is handled with the user's email address and a password. Network-attached storage has never been this accessible.

Pechek said Cloudstor is considered a primary storage device. It does not come with preinstalled, automated backup software, but it can serve as a target for other backup software, such as Mezeo, Symantec and Apple's own software.

Buffalo is now marketing Cloudstor through Amazon.com, Buy.com and MicroCenter stores.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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