Best Personal Cloud Hard Drive?

Question by kilroy024: Best Personal Cloud Hard Drive?
I have been researching Personal Cloud hardware. I seem to have narrowed it down to these three:
1) Western Digital My Book Live 2 TB Personal Cloud Storage Drive
2) Iomega® Home Media Network Hard Drive, Cloud Edition 2-TB
3) FreeAgent GoFlex Home – NAS server

I am leaning towards the Iomega as it seems to be the easiest to set up, more flexible with 2 usb connections and they get the best write-up from what I can see. My question is, are there any real users out there that have experience and recommendations on these three or even one not listed if you like it. I want to back up a MacBook Pro running Lion and a PC running Window’s 7 and control access to different folders for friends and relatives as well as having full access to all of my files remotely.

Looking forward to hearing your responses. Thank you in advance and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving…………….

Greg
kilroy024@yahoo.com

Best answer:

Answer by brandon
Let me start by saying that I have an Iomega (the non-cloud) version and I finally got it set up, which took some investigation for a novice like myself, but nothing too challenging, just intimidating and sometimes frustrating. When I got it up and running, it worked for PC where I was able drop all my storage onto the network drive. Perfect! Never tried to access the info outside the house. Then I got a macbook and realized that I now have limited storage, and NEED to access this info from outside the house so I don’t max out my drive with non-essential material (songs, photos (huge), short movies, etc.) the other stuff that the macbook air does so well. SO, I tried to hook up the Iomega NAS Home Networking Drive to work as advertised, outside my network and over the internet. (also I couldn’t access Apple Cloud backup through the device with Iomega claiming an update at some future point.)

When I got it up and running, I realized that I was able to access the home drive from anywhere with wi-fi, HOWEVER, it was necessary to access it through a web site and the information wouldn’t stream at all. It was like a big box, and anything that I wanted, I had to take out and drop (download) onto my computer. This is no good because I don’t want that stuff on my computer. It WILL get lost there.

I’m looking for something that creates a mapped drive wherever I access wi-fi so I will have the same accessibility as if I were sitting in my living room in my network. It would be akin to a portable USB hard drive but I only access it through wi-fi and never carry it around. I’m not sure that these exist. Maybe you can build one yourself, not sure. If anyone has any info about these or where to point me in the right direction, PLEASE let me know. (bmundt@gmail.com)

So after the clunky remote access on the Iomega Home Networking Device, I called Iomega. They said that the technology to remotely map the drive isn’t a part of the NAS drives, BUT they allow access through a general web browser. Upon further investigation, the best browser and interface for manipulating information between your computer and the NAS was from a company called Synology. The product that I was drawn to was the DS212J:

http://www.synology.com/products/product.php?product_name=DS212j&lang=us

It also includes a modest price increase from the Iomega or the WD. Also, it is not a all-in-one, key turn approach. You have to select the hard drives that you put into the computer (2 bays, up to 3 TB each). Besides that price and the physicality of putting in the drive, they will look rather similar.

TWO Major Differences:
1. With the two drives, you can use one to backup your data and one to save 3TB of material
a. Note this also works with Mac Time Machine for auto backups
2. The web interface used for accessing info remotely works much like a PC desktop in the window. So it is possible to manage all of the information you need right from your desktop. I.e. Add, drop, merge two folders, change the name of something.

Q: The unanswered questions that I have are:
1. Does it allow streaming to iTunes from the hard drive
– I know there is a streaming player built into the website to stream your songs, but I want to incorporate iTunes so I don’t get a bunch of (!)
2. Does it allow streaming access of pics through a program like Aperture. So I can save all my pics on the NAS and never have to worry about them (with the backup) yet access them through the simply organized Aperature wherever I go.
– Right now on my home network, this works out great. It just creates a small image of the larger photo file and brings it up for me to play with only when I click. When I’m done editing, it goes back to the NAS hard drive. I would love this remotely.

Another Plus about synology:
— They do have an app where you can stream any song from your home drive to your iPhone/ipad as long as there is wi-fi
— You can also adjust the folders on your iPhone/ipad the same way you can on the desktop if you need something in a hurry on the road, you can quickly change the document’s name from doc.1 to “Information on the Sub-Orbital Satellites: Junktown Street -Riots in Outerspace” and then send it away for example.

So in conclusion, all of the reviews I read suggested that Synology had by far the most intuitive, useful web interface for remote access.

Dunno about the streaming. Can’t wait until it will be just a hard drive icon on my computer that won’t work except for wi-fi to store all my stuff on as if it were right there.

Also, although I’ve been snooping around, I can’t find ANY information about where this personal cloud thing is headed… Seems most sites are still reviewing product that were released over 6 months ago.

Hope this helps,

If you want any more info or know where I can get more info – email me.

Thanks,

Brandon
bmundt@gmail.com

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