Use Morro Data Cloud Storage Gateway to easily save files, link Dropbox/OneDrive, sync/share and transfer files into Cloud storage, with local Cache.

Data files are getting bigger and we need options to quickly and securely store and move our files.  Living in the data age can sometimes be overwhelming.  It is now common to have smartphones with up to 256 GB of baseline internal storage.  If your device supports memory cards, you can utilize this feature to store images, videos, music, etc.  Unfortunately, Apple does not allow portable storage in their iPhones/iPads.  Instead, Apple hopes that you will utilize their online cloud storage, which has a tiered storage fee scale.  The first 5 GB of data are free and you can pay $0.99 per month for 50GB, $2.99 for 200 GB, or $9.99 for 2 TB (USA).  This may seem like a reasonable option, but when you consider paying $120 for a single year and you own nothing, this is much less reasonable.  I have tested devices such as the Lima and Lima Ultra, which are devices that you buy once and link to a hard drive.  With a single purchase and without recurring fees, you can link a large hard drive to an internet linked device.  These devices have garnered quite a bit of controversy with Kickerstarter issues, connectivity issues, data storage issues.  I did not have similar issues with the Apollo Cloud device, which has been tested as well.  With the ability for up to 10 people to utilize the device, Time Machine capabilities and a 4 TB size, it has been my go-to personal cloud storing option.  I also have a Synology Diskstation with 12 TB of storage options, but this may be a little too complicated for some.  I was thus really curious about the Morro Data Cloud Storage Gateway.

Packaging:
The Morro Data Cloud Storage Gateway arrived in a plain 6 inch by 8 inch by 3 1/4 inch cardboard box with a white slip cover.  The cover has a cartoony cloud drawing representing “a Folder in the Cloud.”  The left side of the box provides information about the device and a QR code link to additional information.  If you desire to store files in the cloud without a need to backup, sync and share files between remote offices, speed up cloud storage access, the Morro Gateway may be a great option for your home/business. The right side of the packaing details the contents of the packaging:  Morro Data CacheDrive G40 with Intel Dual Core Processor, 1TB HDD Cache, Power adaptor with multi-country prongs.  Furthermore the panel details the need for a network cable, internet connection and a Morro Cloud service plan subscription.  Evaluating the rear of the packaging, you will again see the cartoon cloud drawing linking devices in New York, London and Tokyo.  The Morro Cloud Storage Gateway comes with a 3 year warranty and promises no per user fees and unlimited storage growth.

Morro CacheDriveUnboxing:
Once you remove the slip cover and open up the plain cardboard box,  you will notice a few pieces of paper: a 3×5 card with a link to support, a 2 1/2 inch diameter Morro Data Cloud sticker, and a folded quick start instruction manual.  Beneath the papers, the package is separated into two zones by white styrofoam packing.  To the right of the box, you will find the charging equipment: 1 15/16 inch wide by 3 1/8 inch tall by 15/16 inches thick charging adaptor with exchangeable tips: type A (USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan), Type I (Australia, Argentina, China, New Zealand), Type D (India), Type F (Europe, Russia) and Type G (Great Britain/UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong).  The power adaptor has a 97 inch cable and an included velcro cable management strap.  I wish that there was a small storage bag for the accessories, as I fear they will get lost without it.

The device measures 4 1/2 inches by 4 3/8 inches by 1 7/8 inches thick and weighs 1 lb 7.4 ounces.  Along the front of the device, there are two USB interfaces, one colored yellow and one colored blue.  Additionally there is an audio output panel.  Along the left of the device, they included a large port for an SD XC card and a K lock port (computer lock).  I am a fan of K locks for devices, especially for colleges, dorms, cubicles, etc.   The back of the device has an AC adaptor 19V input port, VGA and HDMI ports, Ethernet port, Audio/optical out and two more USB 3.0 USB A ports (blue).

Morro DataSetup:
Reviewing the instruction manual, setup was pretty straightforward.  I wish that it was as easy as the 3 step process promised by the instruction manual, but there were a few hiccups that required attention.  After you remove the product from the packing, you will notice that there is no included ethernet cable.  If you do not already have one lying around, you may have to purchase one.  I would recommend Newegg.com or Amazon for this cable as Walmart and BestBuy are not typically the best choices.  Plug the power adapter into the wall socket or surge protector and then into the device and then connect the ethernet cable.  For step two, you will need to navigate to https://account.morrodata.com and follow the prompts.  You will need to create a business account by adding email, your full name and then choose between Morro Data CloudDrive, CloudNAS, CloudNAS Business, or CloudNAS Enterprise.  I plugged the Cloud device into my TPLink 8 port switch and then attempted to find the Gateway with my MacBook Pro.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find/detect the gateway.  Along the bottom of the device, the company provided the UID.  You are supposed to be able to search the system for the UID, if the Gateway name is not immediately detected.  I was unable to complete this step either using my MacBook Pro.

To complete step 2, I logged into the system using my hardwired desktop PC.  You will need to create a Gateway Name for the CacheDrive G40 device and then you will need to create a permanent Team Name and Team portal (cannot be changed).   You will then need to add your credit card information, review the information and then select “create.”  Once you create the TeamPortalName, you can use the link https://{team_portal}.morrodata.com to log into the system.  Once logged in, you will see notifications along the top right and along the left you will see Dashboard, File System, Devices, Team, Apps, Logs.  The online application helps you to navigate the system, with suggestions and walk-throughs.  You can add members of the team by selecting the team tab and then clicking the ” + ” along the bottom right.  There are three types of users: Business Administrator, Global Administrator, or Standard User.  You can manage access, Read/write, Read or no Share.  Give them a network user name, select an email and allow them to link to your network. Once online, each step of the setup is directed by active/realtime navigation.  An active arrow will point at an option and provide you with information about the tab.

The included instruction manual mostly details the setup process, but not the use and the management of the system.  Luckily the above instructions were detailed within an included walkthrough/tutorial system.  The company did a great job making this system intuitive for the average user.  If you have questions, you can navigate to the top of the screen and select the help icons.  There are a plethora of written descriptions as well as video instructions that will help you to navigate this system, without an IT college degree.  There is a mild learning curve to understanding groups, pools, shares, Gateway, etc.  The real-time navigation/tutorial really makes this more understandable and helps you to navigate the system.  The dashboard tab is really designed to show the mapping of your cloud storage group/pool/shares and user permissions.

If you select file system, you will notice that the initial page is blank.  You will need to select the little orange “+” along the bottom right, which will open the provider page.  Again, the real time/active navigation/tutorial is incredibly helpful, intuitive and may be one of the best tutorials I have used to date.  You can select between Dropbox or onedrive (dual cloud logo) and then add a name for the group. You will then need to log into the system (I chose Dropbox) and give permission to see the files.   I had to do a lot of reading to understand this process.  As a single home user, this system may be more than you need, as I can link to dropbox directly.  However, it is nice to be able to have shared folders among devices, using the Morro device.  Additionally, it is really nice to be able to have cached copies of larger dropbox files to share on the local network.  This keeps the bulk of the file in the cloud and allows you quicker access to the files.  As of 9/12/17, there was a new firmware update (2.1.1-Build3175).  To update the firmware, select devices, choose the little blue down arrow to the top left and then this will open a gateway tab to the right.  Select maintenance, update the firmware and then wait the 3-4 minutes for the server to reboot.

Morrow Network
I was able to talk to Tony Chang tonight, a very helpful team member of Morro.  The mistake that I made above was not creating a share.  To do that, I needed to go to File system and select the “+” icon in the bottom right and then select share.  Add the name of the share and then you can access the Morro from your home network and from the File Explorer.  Copy the link and then you can drag and drop files into the file explorer as you would any other folder.   This will create a sync folder in dropbox and you can access it from the web, you can access the file through file explorer and with finder on my Macbook.  After I created the share folder, I was able to complete the tasks that I had issues with previously. This system worked amazingly well, once I understood the step that I had forgotten.

Summary:
This system was really easy to setup using my desktop but not wirelessly with my laptop, at least not at first.  Creating the share folder was the step that I missed.   Being the only person on my network (except my wife), this system was much easier for her to understand than my Diskstation.  She can now access the bigger videos on her desktop, stored on dropbox and cached locally.  We use Dropbox for our phone picture/video storage, and some of the videos are rather large.  She likes that she can see the files, even if the internet is down, thanks to the Cache files.  This system would work incredibly well for photographers, for small business or for friends that are at a distance to be able to upload larger files.  Web uploads to dropbox can take a while.  All of the data stored on the 1TB HD is encrypted with AES-256 and all transit data is encrypted by SSL.  You get the benefit of compression, file splitting for upload to the cloud into 96MB sizes for faster upload (additional data loss protections).  Use the Time Sync feature to sync data when it is convenient to you.

If you have multiple offices, multiple business contacts, this system may be ideal for you.  For a base of $499 and a once yearly $29 dollar fee, I can control my data, on my time, in my own way.  I get up to 10TB of storage using this system.  For business users, you can get similar features for a $10 per month fee and 2 devices can be linked.   It is rather exciting to have Enterprise type data management in our own homes/businesses.  Now you can work on a file at home or at work and sync it to your device and your partners can access this anywhere in the world.  If you have multiple of these devices, they will sync across the devices and they can access the cache file incredibly quickly.

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