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.