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Hands On

When you launch the Iomega Storage Manager, the screen shown in Figure 4 appears with the default shares shown. As you hover over each of the icons, a brief description appears above the share names. Since the most unique feature of the HMNHD-CE is the “Personal Cloud”, I’ll look at that in detail.

Iomega Storage Manager Main Screen

Figure 4: Iomega Storage Manager Main Screen

Creating and deploying your personal cloud is a multi-step process. You access the personal cloud tab by clicking on the icon that I highlighted with a red rectangle in Figure 4.

Next, you select My Personal Cloud shown highlighted in Figure 5. This screen also provides a good overview of the setup process.

Personal Cloud Overview

Figure 5: Personal Cloud Overview

The next screen, shown in Figure 6, prompts you for the name of your Personal Cloud and an email address. After checking the box and clicking “Next”, your Personal Cloud is configured.

Personal Cloud Configuration

Figure 6: Personal Cloud Configuration

After a few moments, you should see that your cloud has been successfully set up (green check mark) as shown in Figure 7.

Personal Cloud Ready

Figure 7: Personal Cloud Ready

Note that the Personal Cloud feature relies on port 50500 being opened to the HMNHD-CE's IP address in your router's firewall. The HMNHD-CE will attempt to do this automatically using UPnP NAT Traversal. But if it fails, you won't get the Ready indication and you'll have to open the ports manually.

The last step in setting up your Personal Cloud is to add members. You do this by creating an email invitation from within the HMNHD-CE cloud manager to those you want include in your personal cloud. The email contains a link to Iomega’s portal download site along with the unique embedded access code for your invitee. Optionally, you can also include a personal note in the invitation email.

Updated: 30 March 2011

Before you send out invitations, you should remember that all HMNHD-CE shares are public by default. So you might want to enable security and restrict access to user shares that you create. Also note that when your invitee installs the Personal Cloud client, all public shares on the invitee's machine become part of the Personal Cloud and visible to all Cloud members. Iomega does not make this clear in its documentation and there is no warning displayed by the Personal Cloud client.

There are warnings about this in the screens shown in Figures 5 and 6. But the warning in Figure 5 should be expanded to better describe the risk to shared folders on client machines and highlighted. And we're so conditioned to blowing past software terms pages, that the warning on the "Create Your Personal Cloud" page in Figure 6 is easy to miss.

When your invitees click on the email link, they will land at the Iomega Download page. (Figure 8). Windows, Mac OS and Linux clients are currently supported, but there are no clients for iOS, Android or any other mobile OS at this time. You can also add additional Iomega Network Storage devices to your Personal Cloud.

Cloud Software download page showing supported clients

Figure 8: Cloud Software download page showing supported clients

When your invitee downloads and installs the software, they will join your Personal Cloud. The Iomega Storage Manager will create mapped drives on the invitee's machine for each cloud share for which they have access rights.

If you have enabled security and created access rights, your invitee’s client will pass along its current Windows user name. If the user name and password don’t match what has been configured on the HMNHD-CE, the invitee will be prompted to create an account with a password. If the user name matches and the password doesn’t, the invitee will be prompted for the password you created for them when you created them as a user on your NAS.

As the Personal Cloud owner, you can manage the membership for your cloud. Figure 9 shows the current status of my personal cloud. In this image, Craig_s Desktop, NetBook and Todd_s NAS are currently connected to my cloud. The Macbook has been disabled, and Dean isn’t currently connected.

For each client, you can enable/disable cloud access, resend an email invitation, or delete it from your cloud. For Todd_s NAS, which is another HMNHD-CE, an additional Copy Job icon appears in the action column that would allow me to create copy jobs between my storage device and Todd_s NAS.

Personal Cloud membership and status

Figure 9: Personal Cloud membership and status

As part of my testing, I took Netbook to a remote site to see how the personal cloud worked in a real-world, offsite remote location. Iomega Storage Manager correctly created a mapped drive for each resource on the HMNHD-CE to which I had been granted access. I was able to drag and drop files between the local computer and the remote HMNHD-CE as though it was on the same LAN.

Of course, since the file transfers were going across the internet instead of my Gigabit LAN, transfers were slower.  I also tested file copy speed between a computer on my network and Todd_s NAS, another HMNHD-CE located in Iomega’s test lab. Windows reported a file copy speed of between 150KB/sec and 160KB/sec so 17.2 MB took a little under 2 minutes to transfer. Most likely, my cable upload speed limited the speed of the file transfer.

I did have an interesting observation, however. At the remote office, before installing the client software on a Windows XP system, I was able to browse the resources on its (local) network. Once I joined the cloud, when I browsed the network, the resources I was able to see were the ones on the network. I was still able to map drives on the local network, but I had to use the resource’s IP address since name resolution was resolving to the remote network.

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