LaCie’s (www.lacie.com) CloudBox product is the “iHome” (our imagined Apple-made home server) the folks at Cupertino never gave us (not that they would). It’s a network storage solution that connects an entire family to music, movie and photo files — and does so with aplomb.
The LaCie CloudBox stores files in a single location so family members can share them with friends and access them from anywhere on any device. In other words, it lets you create a “home cloud.”
The LaCie CloudBox has a two-step set-up process. Plug the LaCie CloudBox into a power outlet and connect the Ethernet cable into a router. The LaCie CloudBox does the rest with no software to install. In just a few minutes, the LaCie CloudBox will appear on the user’s Mac or PC just like a connected device. It’s that simple.
You can drag and drop (or copy and paste) files — photos, videos, etc. — to the LaCie CloudBox, which appears on your desktop and is dubbed “Family.” Double click the Family icon and the CloudBox opens. By default it contains folders for Music, Photos and Videos. However, you can create folders as you wish — say, one for Pages Docs. All files are stored in one place, enabling file access and sharing.
The CloudBox includes UPnP capability. UPnP — or Universal Plug and Play) is a set of networking protocols that permits networked devices, such as personal computers, printers, Internet gateways, Wi-Fi access points and mobile devices to seamlessly discover each other’s presence on the network and establish functional network services for data sharing, communications, and entertainment. UPnP is intended primarily for residential networks without enterprise class devices.
The LaCie CloudBox allows everyone in your home to view files stored on the Family folder at any time. All computers within the household can copy files to or from the Family folder.
To provide a special space reserved for a specific person, there’s an option to create personal folders for private access. A personal folder is protected by a unique name and password that must be entered each time the folder is used.
You can view and download files stored on your LaCie CloudBox anywhere in the world from any computer with a connection to the Internet. Access to your files outside the home is available using LaCie MyNAS. You can set up LaCie MyNAS in the CloudBox administration tool. LaCie includes thorough directions on how to do this that you can find in the CLOUDBOX-HELP.url file that comes with the device. It’s a process that I doubt Apple could have made any easier. (To access CloudBox contents on an iOS device, you’ll need to download the the free LaCie MyNAS app from the Apple App Store.)
The LaCie CloudBox lets easily you create a home network — or hook into one that already exists. What’s more, it can automatically back up multiple computers in the home. It comes with backup software for a Mac and PC. The Mac software works great; we didn’t test drive the Windows version.
The LaCie CloudBox, design by Neil Poulton, is available in 1TB, 2TB and 3TB capacities through the LaCie Online Store and LaCie Resellers starting at US$119.99. Once a family tries it, it will doubtless get constant use, so buy the biggest capacity model your budget allows.
ADR rating: 10 out of 10
For more info go to www.lacie.com .