Setting up the CloudStor Solo is a very different experience compared to setting up a traditional Buffalo NAS. With a non-cloud Buffalo NAS, you install a “NAS Navigator” application from a supplied CD and then run the application to find your device. To configure the NAS, you then connect to the IP address of the NAS on your local network.
With the CloudStor Solo, there is no supplied software. The Quick Start Guide doesn’t even instruct you how, simple as it is, to connect your device to your network and power. Instead, you are directed to launch your browser and connect to http://cloudstor.pogoplug.com/activate. If you want to see the setup procedure, check the gallery later on.
If all goes well, your device will be located and you’ll be ready to create your account on Pogoplug. Since I have reviewed other Pogoplug-enabled devices, I already had a Pogoplug account. So I entered my email and password credentials, Pogoplug recognized that I already had an account and just added the CloudStor Solo to it.
I was pleased to see that Pogoplug had given me 5 GB of free cloud storage (Figure 3).
Figure 3: My Devices tab
Once setup is complete, you log in at either http://my.pogoplug.com or http://cloudstor.pogoplug.com.
If you log into the first URL, you will see Pogoplug's generic interface. In order to have full access to your CloudStor Solo, however, you should log into the cloudstor.pogoplug.com URL instead. Using the CloudStor URL will let you completely configure your device's NAS features as if you had logged on locally using the Solo';s IP address.
When you log into cloudstore.pogoplug.com, you'll land at the page shown in Figure 4. In this image, you'll see that I have created multiple shares. By default, the CloudStor Solo is preconfigured with a public share named cloudshare. On your local network, no credentials are required to access this share unless you change the defaults. Currently, My Drives for the selected CloudStor (CS-XL523) shows the available shares on my CloudStor.
Figure 4: My Drives view
As you load the CloudStor with media files, it automatically reads the meta tags embedded in the files and collects media by media type. You don’t really need to know anything about directories and subdirectories. The image gallery below walks you through a description of the Jukebox, Gallery, Cinema and Sharing tabs.
You manage your CloudStor device two ways: From your cloudstor.pogoplug.com account page or the Solo's IP address.
An alternate method of managing your Solo is to enter this IP address into your browser and access it directly. The user interface for managing the Solo’s NAS features is identical whether you log in directly, or through cloudstor.pogoplug.com.
Of course, if you want to manage features associated with your CloudStor account, you need to login into cloudstor.pogoplug.com. (Note: if you have a traditional Buffalo NAS, NasNavigator will also discover the IP address of the CloudStor Solo)
Most of the functions are fairly self-explanatory, so I’ll comment on them only briefly.
BitTorrent – enable or disable BitTorrent and select a folder for BitTorrent downloads.
Backup – enable or disable Time Machine and select a folder for Time Machine Backup files.
Local Users – create, edit or delete users
Folders – create, edit or delete folders. By default, the Solo has a single public share named cloudshare. You can create additional folders and assign read-only or read/write access to each local user. You can also enable/disable each folder as a BitTorrent and/or a Time Machine target. Optionally, you can choose whether to share each folder with the cloud (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Folder options
System – the submenus allow you to configure system-related settings on your CloudStor. Frankly, most of the submenus could have been collapsed into one or two screens.
- Device Name – change the name of your CloudStor
- Password – create/change administrative password
- Set Time zone and choose manual (use local time/date) or automatic (NTP).
- Select Automatic (DHCP) or configure IP addresses manually
- Storage – shows disk health and percentage used/free statistic
- Notification – enable/disable daily drive status, and disk errors by email at a specified time.
- Sleep Schedule
- Maintenance – restore to factory default and optionally erase data; Force rebuild of media library
- Updates – enable/disable automatic firmware updates
For more fun, you can download Pogoplug Software for your Mac or Windows machine. The software gives you a convenient window that you can use to drag and drop files to your cloud storage. You can also specify files or folders on your local computer to make available via Pogoplug. Figure 6 shows that I’m already sharing a folder named Small Cloud Builder on my PC, and I have opened the dialog box to add another folder.
Figure 6: Remote access enable
Pogoplug software also supports drive mapping to each of the folders on your Pogoplug cloud account. If you’re running out of drive letters like I am, you can map all of your folders to a single drive letter. Figure 7 shows that I’ve mapped all of my folders to drive P. This shows up as a local drive.
Figure 7: CloudStor folder mapping
What is really nice about drive mapping is that no matter where I may travel, as long as I am running the Pogoplug software, the drive mappings for my CloudStor folders, shared folders and my Pogoplug Cloud storage will be the same. The connection is made using WebDAV over HTTPS. The only difference is that I’ll just be accessing the files using a slower network connection (Internet) rather than my local LAN. (Note: I also mapped drives “V” and “W” through Windows.)