Drobo creator announces Transporter, the private cloud storage solution

Written by Edward Chester

May 28, 2013 // 12:26 p.m.

Tags: #cloud #cloud-storage #connected-data #drobo #privacy #private #storage #transporter

Ever wanted the convenience of cloud-storage but without the privacy issues of your data being stored elsewhere? The Transporter is a new private cloud storage solution that allows users to keep all their data at home, away from prying eyes, but also allows for easy cloud sharing and syncing.

Developed by BlueArc and Drobo founder, Geoff Barrall, and his new company Connected Data, the device has been available in the US for a couple of months but, now with version 2.0, it is also coming to European shores.

What sets it apart from other cloud-storage solutions is that you hold onto your data. Like a NAS drive, the Transporter plugs into your local network but then through a unique peer-to-peer file sharing protocol it also allows for easy file sharing to both those that own Transporters and those that don't, with the data never passing through Connected Data's servers.

It also has Drop-box-like integration, appearing as a folder on your desktop and providing drag and drop simplicity. Connected Data considers it a complete replacement for services like Dropbox (syncing), YouSendIt (file sharing) and Carbonite (mass cloud-storage).

“With the rise of mobile computing, consumers need robust technology solutions that enable them to share and access files on the go,” said Dave Reinsel, group vice president at IDC. “Connected Data’s approach is very unique in that it provides a completely private, peer-to-peer solution that only hosts data on authorized devices."

The Transporter
The Transporter was only a Kickstarter campaign back in December 2012 but has already seen a huge ramp up in production and an overhaul of its interface, the version 2.0 release of which coincides with the device hitting shop shelves in Europe.

The device consists of a small plastic chassis containing a handful of electronics, an Ethernet interface and a dock for a single 2.5in hard drive. You can buy the Transporter either without a hard drive, allowing you to add your own, or with a 1TB or 2TB drive already installed.

The Transporter will work as a standard NAS, and does have support for many expected NAS functions such as manual SMB configuration and such like. However, it's designed to be easy to use, with company representatives regularly making reference to Dropbox as a marker for how they wanted the interface to feel, with a dedicated folder for syncing and lots of quick-share options in the 'right-click' menu.

Users can specify a folder that will be synced across multiple devices, just like Dropbox, but also choose other files and folders as being 'available'. This means that if you're in a remote location you can still access these files and folders, but they won't automatically sync. Mobile apps for Android and iOS also allow access from those devices.

Other devices, such as Synology's NAS boxes, provide this remote file access but lack the simple interface and can't do the Transporter's other clever trick which is to communicate between one another. This allows for easy remote backup such that you could have one device at home and one at a relative's house, for instance. You can then offer to provide a protected backup of each others files, in case of fire or such like. Also, for businesses, multiple remote locations can configure their Transporters to sync (with options for syncing to only occur at certain times and at a set bandwidth), allowing for easy collaboration.

Although the current version with a single 2.5in drive seems limiting, the company hinted that a multi-drive version that uses Drobo-like technology is in the works.

Priced at £179 without a hard drive, £249 for 1TB and £325 for 2TB, the Transporter is quite expensive in terms of up front cost but there is no on-going fee for the service.

We're quite excited by the idea of the Transporter and will be getting one in as soon as possible for a full review.

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