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Plug Touts Expandable Storage Via USB Drives Plugged In At Home

timothy posted about a year ago | from the with-at&t-your-data-charges-would-be-interesting dept.

Cloud 87

DeviceGuru writes with an excerpt that may be of interest especially for mobile users with cheap, always available wireless data: "An OpenWRT Linux-based hardware adapter called Plug designed for unifying USB-connected storage met its $69,000 Kickstarter pledge goal in 12 hours. The tiny Plug device eschews cloud storage for a localized approach whereby an app or driver installed on each participating computer or mobile device intercepts filesystem accesses, and redirects data reads and writes to storage drives attached to the user's Plug device. The Plug enjoyed one of the fastest fulfillments in Kickstarter history, meeting its goal in 12 hours, and has already soared to over $223,000 in funding."

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When you don't trust cloud... (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44277233)

...for reasons old or new, this isn't exactly a surprise.

It's unfortunate that there's no practical solution to avoid the use of third-party systems with cell-phones while still enjoying the data redundancy benefits that are the entire point of those devices...

Ummm.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277235)

The Kickstarter page is chock full of marketing bullshit but has very little details.

Average transfer rate 30MB/s over a 100mb LAN?? I dont think so.
It offers better security than my computer?? How? I want details, specifics & proof.

Nice idea though

Re:Ummm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277261)

30 Mbps, not MBps. This is more of a thing for mobile use, not LAN.

Re: Ummm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278367)

You de realize thats the average transfer rate from a usb drive *to the computer its connected to*. And that's even on the higher side.

ummm? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277257)

http://www.amazon.com/Addonics-NASU2-NAS-Adapter/dp/B001OC5J9U/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1373815402&sr=8-3&keywords=usb+nas

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277279)

but its running OpenWRT! Which is already ported to that thing...oh

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277293)

That does look like the same hardware

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277315)

And the folks that started the Kickstarter project are now reclining on a sunny beach somewhere, sipping a Martini.

Re:ummm? (2)

luckytroll (68214) | about a year ago | (#44277395)

Call me when it supports Gigabit Ethernet, USB3, and ZFS multi-disk.

Plug can't support ZFS (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year ago | (#44278253)

Unless the "plug" has a lot more RAM than your average plug-in device, Plug can't support ZFS either. ZFSoL has a minimum RAM recommendation of 2GB. ZFS also has the overhead of checksumming, which on modern non-embedded CPUs isn't a problem, but on an embedded system, present a significant overhead.

ZFS is an enterprise filesystem; it's not designed for low-end hardware.

Re:Plug can't support ZFS (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#44282339)

ZFS RAM usage depends on the size of your pool, whether you need deduplication, and your performance needs. The rule of thumb for ZFS is 1GB of RAM per TB of storage, 2GB if you want deduplication. This, however, assumes that you are using mechanical disks and either using the pool locally or via something like iSCSI over GigE. If you're using it over WiFi, then you can get away with a really small ARC, because a cache miss won't slow things down that much, especially if the miss is filled by something that can do random reads quickly.

pogoplug v4/mirabox (1)

pikine (771084) | about a year ago | (#44279349)

PogoPlug v4 supports GigE and two USB3. It's up to you to install your own Linux on it with ZFS support. However, since the CPU is a bit slow, if you want any performance at all, you will want something like an in-kernel NFS for file sharing. I have mine configured with OpenLDAP, Kerberos, and NFSv4. But I mostly use it to stream videos using Nginx over HTTP to my iPad.

For something a bit faster than PogoPlug v4, try MiraBox from GlobalScale technologies.

Re:ummm? (2)

purpleidea (956832) | about a year ago | (#44281243)

Call me when it supports Gigabit Ethernet, USB3, and ZFS multi-disk.

Call me when it supports GigE, USB3, and the software is libre (eg: Free Software).

Otherwise, it's useless. You can't have privacy from the cloud if the stack is closed source.

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277403)

lol

Re:ummm? (4, Insightful)

kylegordon (159137) | about a year ago | (#44277419)

We can all see the obvious, that's it's a Bifferboard under the cover. What you should do is read the funding drive. The real magic is in the software, where it intercepts all local storage requests and makes access to your remote disks entirely transparent, and doesn't consume local storage unless you configure it to cache specific items.

Re:ummm? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44277625)

We can all see the obvious, that's it's a Bifferboard under the cover. What you should do is read the funding drive. The real magic is in the software, where it intercepts all local storage requests and makes access to your remote disks entirely transparent, and doesn't consume local storage unless you configure it to cache specific items.

hmm so the magic is local cache for selected files? since I fail to see the magic in network mounted storage.

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278011)

Well, theirs is patent pending, which makes it immediately much better. Like using the OS' fs event daemon maybe in a broken way that hogs CPU? Also, I'm just willing to introduce a bit of *magic* in my system without knowing how it works just because, right. Who knows if a "cloud-update" could suddenly give all access to the files remotely to a third party.

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278127)

"...where it intercepts all local storage requests and makes access to your remote disks entirely transparent"
@ 30 MBps it will be transparently SLOW : D

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44280463)

30Mb/s. The thing only has 100baseT, USB2 and a horribly slow Via x86.

Re:ummm? (1)

kylegordon (159137) | about a year ago | (#44284521)

I hardly think that's gong to be an issue for your mobile device over a GPRS/3G/EDGE/LTE/etc link

Re:ummm? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44279255)

It looks like a newer Pogoplug without the licensing and better software. That would make it worthwhile.

I'm wondering if the network traffic is encrypted and if the hard drive(s) can be encrypted (when I want to run a backup of my private files at the office.)

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44282341)

So, the "magic" is a mapped network drive, more or less concealed. Something DOS+Novell did like 20-odd years ago. That KS project is a scam for really dumb (regarding information technology) people.

Re:ummm? (1)

kylegordon (159137) | about a year ago | (#44284549)

You've clearly missed the bit where it says "Plug is not yet-another-memory" - try reading it again.

Re:ummm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277435)

Yeah - if you want to spend your weekends teaching your uncle how to configure his router to NAT NFS requests from his buddies at work.

Are slashdotters honestly this pendantic?

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277483)

not when there's plenty of free software that can work with the cheaper already on market devices?

Re:ummm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277567)

From the kickstarted page:
The hardware used by the current version of Plug is a proven, tested hardware. Our manufacturer has already produced thousands of units successfully for other clients. The main risks concerning hardware are thus reduced to logistics. Unplanned delays in the manufacturing process can still occur, but problems related to the hardware design of the device are very unlikely.

It looks like they went with existing hardware so they could focus on the software side.

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277743)

which also exist's, so what the fuck are they doing?

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278485)

Read the Kickstarter page. What software does what they are claiming to do?

Re:ummm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277645)

For a moment there, my eye caught the NSA-Adapter changed back to NAS-Adapter in the URL.

May be NSA should be paying for these as it would simplify their work.

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277679)

They never said the hardware was new. It's about the software. In fact they say towards then end of the page, "The hardware used by the current version of Plug is a proven, tested hardware. Our manufacturer has already produced thousands of units successfully for other clients."

Re:ummm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277965)

Umm? It looks like that one is pretty terrible: http://www.amazon.com/Addonics-NASU2-NAS-Adapter/product-reviews/B001OC5J9U/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one/177-3651886-7118831?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0

What? (0)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#44277441)

Can anyone explain why I would need this and what is the point?

Re: What? (1)

caution live frogs (1196367) | about a year ago | (#44277535)

Yeah, it would be great if there was an entire website, with a video, explaining why you would want this and what it does, perhaps even linked in the article posted above?

Re: What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277665)

Having read both of the linked websites, I still don't know why any sane person would want this.

It appears to be just a low-end NAS head with some bundled crapware. Hopefully it is cheaper than other NAS heads? I dunno.

Notice that they spend a large amount of the article making strawman comparisons against cloud storage bullshit, but none of it comparing against, just, you know, buying a usb hard drive or a thumb drive, or even some blank dvds. So they are trying to appeal to suckers who don't have a good handle on the economics of storage, or who are overreacting to the latest internet non-privacy scandal. Seems to be working.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277573)

I have been following this and I think the best selling point comes from the kickstarter page ...

With Plug, all your devices are connected with each other thanks to a zero-configuration, private and encrypted VPN (asymmetric encryption based on RSA-2048/SHA-1 keys). We had excellent speed benchmarks on this network. It goes through any main NAT & firewall we tested, it's decentralized when possible, and it doesn't require any user configuration. It's safe and does the job.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44279003)

With Plug, all your devices are connected with each other thanks to a zero-configuration, private and encrypted VPN (asymmetric encryption based on RSA-2048/SHA-1 keys). We had excellent speed benchmarks on this network. It goes through any main NAT & firewall we tested, it's decentralized when possible, and it doesn't require any user configuration. It's safe and does the job.

What does that mean? Is it some kind of ISP? I know it's not the cloud. The cloud sucks, but what does this device do? It's just a VPN?

Re:What? (3)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44279307)

It's VPN, a NAS file server and desktop software integration.

I'm especially curious about their APIs and whether it'll be hackable.

Re:What? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44279291)

Yup, that's the main point. And that you can send links that allow access to a single file.

Re:What? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44277607)

Because you don't want to configure iSCSI to a cheap, small device with GigE which runs Linux (like a PogoPlug) yourself, or because the OS you hope to use as a client doesn't come with iSCSI drivers.

I've never actually tried it myself, so I won't use words like "lazy" since it might be a lot harder than I imagine.

Supposedly (according to Wikipedia) there has been an iSCSI initiator in Windows since Win2k. It's certainly in Linux these days, and in Linux since 2.6.12 or 3.1 depending on how you're counting, I don't know which came first but would guess 3.1.

A second-generation pogoplug (not first-and-a-half, which is what the rev.2 really is) has GigE and USB3 and can run Debian. If I were looking for a cut-rate way to attach a remote storage device to my PC as if it were local, that's what I'd use.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277721)

Their product is software+hardware. It allows sharing across multiple devices including mobile devices with versioning and other features.

iSCSI gives a block device over a TCP network. If it needs to be shared, you need a multi-access aware filesystem (e.g. OCFS, GFS) and they're not suitable for general purpose use.

Technology doesn't work by just guessing at it's functionality. Perhaps you should try it to make sure you understand what it is and why it's used? I really don't know how you got modded up for something which is clearly nonsense.

Re:What? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44278317)

Their product is software+hardware. It allows sharing across multiple devices including mobile devices with versioning and other features.

You can do that with rsync, which is available on multiple platforms. Whoopee!

Re:What? (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#44277815)

It was funded well beyond it's goal of $69,000 ($295,998) by 3,279 people. So obviously somebody wanted/needed it. You're just looking for people to agree with you so you can feel better about yourself for not contributing to the goal; admit it. =p

Re:What? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#44277903)

Let me know when they produce a tangible product.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278261)

the problem is the tangible product has existed for YEARS!, its the software that they created, which you could have just downloaded some FTP client for free

Re:What? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44279359)

There will also be some infrastructure needed for VPN support - at least for routing, key exchange and NAT traversal.

Not a new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277451)

Here's an article that talks about the problems of Cloud computing and ends recommending the same thing as Plug says they will offer:
Link [zsmith.co]

Pre-Ordering Closed-Source Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277717)

How is this different from a pre-order, other than that the company is not obligated to fulfill the order? The campaign does not say the software will be open source, so backing it means I'm just loaning them money with no promise of a scalable return if their product does really well at market.

Re:Pre-Ordering Closed-Source Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277803)

That's all Kickstarter is - a way to get no-obligation seed funding for your crappy startup.

Re:Pre-Ordering Closed-Source Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278363)

I'd much rather fund an open source project, even a Kickstarter one. The reward then is scaled in a sense, in that everyone interested can benefit from the funds the backers have provided.

Eight drives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277769)

Just eight drives? How that's supposed to be future proof...

Re:Eight drives? (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about a year ago | (#44278313)

The capacity of 8 drives goes up over time. 8 of my first hard drive would be 80MB total. Now it's 32TB. It's only going up.

Re:Eight drives? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44279375)

It runs on DD-WRT so you can assume it's standard disk handling under the hood and that limitation can be raised by swapping out or configuring the OS.

I'm much more interested in dm-RAID and encryption.

Plugging in the Plug at work ... (4, Insightful)

Enonu (129798) | about a year ago | (#44277807)

The biggest flaw in this device is that it's expected that you can plug in a plug at work for offsite backup. Do these people actually work at corporate america? It's a non-company sanctioned device connected to the corporate network consuming a non-trivial amount of bandwidth. The odds of this flying at the work place are nearly 0, and most likely the network admin would look at you like you're crazy for even suggesting it.

Re:Plugging in the Plug at work ... (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#44278477)

The biggest flaw in this device is that it's expected that you can plug in a plug at work for offsite backup.

I'm a home user.

Tell me what I should fear more:

(1) That my backups will be read by the NSA

(2) That my backups will be fried by an electrical storm, drowned in a flash food, or burnt in a fire.

Re:Plugging in the Plug at work ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278545)

Buy two of these, give one to a relative and set them up to backup to each other, according to the kickstarter page it can do this and will encrypt your data so the other person can't read it.

Why not use Samba or NFS? (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#44277899)

It seems like this is reinventing the wheel when we already have consumer NAS devices supporting Samba and NFS.

Re:Why not use Samba or NFS? (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about a year ago | (#44278083)

If it doesn't screw up constantly like Samba, I might be interested.

Re:Why not use Samba or NFS? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44278193)

I think it will depend on the software. This sort of stuff is not easy to setup. I've tried and it's beyond me (Admittedly I'm a Linux novice) There's no real user friendly software for this sort of thing. If they can just make an android app that automatically dumps your entire phone to a drive in your house on a regular basis, that'd be pretty handy for me. I've always liked the idea of Dropbox, but I would much rather have the storage on my own equipment. If they can make THAT an easy thing to do, I'll buy one.

Re:Why not use Samba or NFS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278423)

It's called Pogoplug.

Re:Why not use Samba or NFS? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44279379)

Yup, Pogoplug is more or less the same. It's also more expensive and has per client licensing.

Re:Why not use Samba or NFS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44281601)

owncloud
http://owncloud.org/

its dropbox but on your device. clients available for everything.

Re:Why not use Samba or NFS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44282429)

owncloud's WebDAV stuff is as slow as dogshit, only thing good about it is a working CalDAV+CardDAV solution that can run on a bogstandard web-host.

30 Mbps (5, Insightful)

ltwally (313043) | about a year ago | (#44277931)

From the article:

"The device includes a USB 2.0 port and a 10/100 Ethernet port with an average transfer speed of 30Mbps"

In what alternate reality is 30 megabit-per-second an acceptable speed for accessing terabytes of data? That's not even 4 MB/s of average transfer speed. That's not even fast enough to play a 1080p content, and a goodly amount of 720p content.

You want me to even consider a device like this? It needs to have USB 3.0 support, a gigabit link and be able to reliably push at least 500mbit in both directions (device dependant). If that raises the price, then the price needs to be raised - because under 4 MB/s is simply not an acceptable transfer speed. For crying out loud, hard drives have been faster than that for over 20 years.

Re:30 Mbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278067)

For me it needs to have InfiniBand support.
20Gbps adapter are pretty cheap these days. ( £30.00)

Makes 10Gig Ethernet look very expensive.

Re:30 Mbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278983)

Where are you buying them from?

Re:30 Mbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44280499)

Mellanox ConnectX-EN CX4 10GbE adapters. No one wants these things (who still uses 10GbE over CX4?) and they're one flash away from being a ConnectX-VPI DDR IB HCA ;)

Re:30 Mbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44282885)

Where do you get said adapters? ebay only shows one result at $130. Links please! :) (posting AC to avoid undoing mods)

Re:30 Mbps (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44278387)

In what alternate reality is 30 megabit-per-second an acceptable speed for accessing terabytes of data?

It's meant to intercept Cloud storage (like Dropbox) requests and put it on a local USB drive. 30 mbps upload to your USB stick is still hell of a lot faster than 768kbps upload speed most people have at home with their "broadband".

Re:30 Mbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44279113)

For a device like this I don't think USB3 is needed, the network connection is likely to be slower than USB2 anyway (assuming wifi). But 30Mbps is a bit slow.

Re:30 Mbps (1)

MinaInerz (25726) | about a year ago | (#44283501)

I'm not sure what 1080p content you have that can't be played at 4MB/sec. An hour-long 1080p h.264-encoded TV show runs at about 2.6GB on average for me, or about .75MB/sec. 4MB/s for one hour is 14.4GB.

Re:30 Mbps (1)

kylegordon (159137) | about a year ago | (#44289413)

You seem to have entirely missed the point of this device. It's not for your LAN, it's for your mobile remote devices. It just happens to be connected to the net via your LAN. Try reading the funding drive again.

Device? (1)

TimO_Florida (2894381) | about a year ago | (#44278075)

Why pay for a device? I've had my "MyDocuments" folder redirected to another (bigger) physical drive for 7 or 8 years.

Re:Device? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278769)

These days many people have a computer, smartphone and tablet and would like the same documents easily available on all of them. That's a bit different to sticking an extra drive in your PC and redirecting the My Documents to use that drive, especially when you may want the documents to be accessible away from home.

What the hell is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278335)

You can accomplish the exact same thing with SAMBA for God's sake, and without buying any new hardware.

Routers also have USB ports now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278695)

I have Asus RT-AC66U router and it has 2 USB ports. It allows to connect disks and make NAS too.
Why buy this specialized device Plug with bad reviews when Asus has stellar reviews and does about the same.
There are also much cheaper USB-equipped routers too.

Re:Routers also have USB ports now (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#44280107)

yep, same here, I have a no name router, which is a non-branded Belkin that has a USB port for NAS, its over a year old now and I only gave 40 bucks for it ... plug in set windows backup done

Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278745)

Wait no USB 3.0? No Gigabit?

What year is this??!

Re:Wait.. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44279415)

It's hardware that costs about $20-$30 to make. USB3 and GbE would add $10 or so - very significant. I'd access it mostly via wireless and for that the speed is very adequate.

However since their software runs on DD-WRT it should be possible to run it on more powerful HW too.

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44281145)

Have you checked the article? The cost of this thing is $69 if you are part of kickstarter donor, and an estimated retail price of $150. If you can't do at least GbE at those prices, there is something seriously wrong.

Re:Wait.. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#44281411)

You seem to confuse price and cost. I've been lurking on the ARM-netbook mailing list for a while; this stuff is dirt cheap to make in China. There's a reason why high volume low end Linux based systems have come down to $30-$40.
USB2 and 100baseT is probably built into the SoC while USB3 or GbE needs an additional IC.

DIY approach - beware USB HDD adapters (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about a year ago | (#44279455)

If you're thinking of doing this DIY with a router USD port or Raspberry Pi bear in mind that some USB IDE/Sata adapters don't support spindown (hdparm -y or -Y). As a result you have a 2.5" disk running constantly leading to failure and also a risk of overheating.

Unfrtunately I can't tell you which adapters support the poweroff or standby signals.

Re:DIY approach - beware USB HDD adapters (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44279943)

As a result you have a 2.5" disk running constantly

Anyone who uses laptop-sized drives and expects enterprise level results is ... ignorant?

Re:DIY approach - beware USB HDD adapters (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#44280115)

I have a 3.5 inch usb drive that doesnt spin down, there better?

really you could not just make sure your router (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44280059)

Had a usb port on it, plug in an extender add you non wifi printer and a usb hard drive.
How hard can it be.

What's up with that guy's voice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44281587)

It sounds like a computer voice. If Stephen Hawking lands a role in a Hercules movie, they should get that guy to overdub him.

Expanding through USB? (2)

T Becket E (2926093) | about a year ago | (#44285797)

I've been a fan of http://www.backupthat.com/ [backupthat.com] for a while now and they do something similar. You get unlimited (ever expanding) storage through your email. Essentially, when you run out of space, you just connect another email account. I've got about 500GB stored with them for free.

Plug ........already in existence ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44289109)

As I read the story these plugs are already in use for a number of years. I use one myself ;a Tonido Plug , an Ubuntu Linux embedded home server (size approx 110x70x45 mm) with an ethernet connection and a USB port . The USB port is to connect a storage device e.g. Hard Drive , Memory stick or SD card in a USB caddy . The stored files can be accessed within the local network ,but also remotely (worldwide) via secure Tonido https. Another (more configurable) device is the Sheeva Plug. Both cost approx US$ 100.-

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