Transporters give you private cloud storage with no hassle.

For quite some time, I have wanted to create cloud storage from my redundant back up raid of choice, Drobo. I’ve run into bumps along the road to making it a true cloud-based system. Luckily, Connected Data, the company behind the Drobo system, also has a Dropbox-like device called, the Transporter.

transporter1 (copy)The Transporter is a private cloud storage device. Because it is private, there are no fees, no privacy concerns, and no data storage limits (only the size of the drive you use). Users can access digital files from any computer or mobile device, back it up, collaborate with colleagues, and sync across multiple devices.

Transporter supports 2.5″ SATA II/III hard disk drive of any brand, speed or cache. Unfortunately, it does not support SSD. The best part is that no tools are required for hard drive installation. Transporter can connect to your network via Gigabit Ethernet or by USB 2.0 port for optional wireless adapter. Transporter has device management features like status lights, Connected Data Management website and browser support. Files can be accessed from the Connected Data download assistant, the iOS  app or local network. The Transporter is shipped with a 5ft. power cord and power supply, a 3ft. Ethernet Cable, Drive carrier, Set up guide and the product information guide. It also has a one year hardware warranty.

Installation of the Transporter was quick and easy. I took the top off, placed in my hard drive, put the top back on, plugged in the Ethernet cable and then the power cable. Once I ran through the software install on my Mac, I waited for the Transporter to format the drive. It took a bit longer than what the instructions said it would, but once it was finished formatting, I was able to start using it right away.

transporter4The hard drive I decided to use is a 5400 read speed 750GB hard drive. Being a 5400 RPM drive, I thought someone downloading a big file from me outside my home network would take a long time. I was pleasantly surprised to find out differently.

My first test with the Transporter after setting it up was to send some Photoshop actions to a friend who ives in a different city. I wanted to see how long it would take for her to receive the files and how hard it would be for her to understand how to get them from the link. Most people are familiar with cloud-based file transfer like those coming from Dropbox. Dropbox provides a link for users to share. To download, the end user simply needs to click the link. With Transporter, users have to install a download helper first. When my friend clicked the Transporter link, she was presented with the download. When she tried to install it, her Mac told her it was not compatible. It turns out that the she was running Lion OS and the Transporter will not allow her to run the downloader.

Even though I know this process is in place to help protect files, I find having to install additional software before being able to get files is a bit of a pain. If you are trying to send a file to someone who is lacking computer knowledge, this could cause a problem.

After trying to send the actions to the first friend, I tried sending a 1GB movie file to someone else. She was able to download that from me and I was told it took no time on her end to get the file. This movie file is on the transporter library and not on the transporter folder. We will explain the difference a bit later in this review. I was glad she was able to download it quickly and that the download helper was easy to understand.

The Transporter has two default folders when setting it up. The first is the Transporter folder. This is a folder that the files stay stored on your machine, but can be accessed from other Transporters or shared with friends. When putting something into this folder, your Mac moves files to it.

transporter3The next is called the Transporter Library. The Transporter Library stores the files on the Transporter and not your machine. This is my favorite option because you get files off the local hard drive and store them on your cloud where they can be accessed from anywhere.

The web interface made it easy to find my folders and indicated space left on my Transporter.

The complaints I have about the Transporter are few and far between. What really matters is that it gives you private storage cloud. Knowing my files are on my Transporter and the Transporters I share them with is important to me. Being able to lock it down or just pull the power to my Transporter if need be is amazing. No cloud service can give you that kind of control.

In addition to security, the second best feature is price versus storage size. Have you ever looked into pricing 2TB cloud storage? Don’t. Your heart will stop. Being able to have a laptop sized drive up to a 2TB in a Transporter is great. I control how much my private cloud can hold and never have to worry about a monthly or yearly fee. I just paid for iCloud storage today and for my year of that it runs $40 for 20GB.

Making sure I have money in my account every year when this service renews is something that I don’t have to worry about with the Transporter.

transporter6Because I work with people from all over the world, the Transporter gives me a way to get files back and forth between them with ease. Transporter’s price gives me an option to buy and send friends or co-workers a Transporter to place on their network, which would give us the ultimate private cloud. Have I stopped using Dropbox? Almost. I’ve moved all the files I share between friends, family and co-workers to my Transporter. Some files I had to leave on Dropbox because app developers have not started giving you options yet to store your files via the Transporter. For example, 1Password has cloud storage through Dropbox. That is a database that stores all my passwords to every account online. It does encrypt them, but having the option to move them to my Transporter would be great. I would feel so much more secure if information like that was located on the Transporter and I had full control. I would love to see developers or Connected Data start allowing this in the near future. I think as the Transporter becomes more popular, they will.

With its easy setup, small design, no fees and awesome storage capability, I’m shocked more people don’t have two of them in every house. I’ve heard a few people complain about the price of the Transporter, and I can tell you that for what you’re getting, the price of $199 with no drive, $299 with 1TB or $399 for a 2TB, is amazing. I couldn’t be happier with my Transporter.

transporter5I would also like to mention that the Connected Data support team. Shortly before finishing this review, my original Transporter was experiencing power failure with no known reason. I mentioned this problem on Twitter and Connected Data reached out to me to remedy the issue. We walked through some basic troubleshooting steps and when a reason couldn’t be found, the support team replaced the Transporter overnight. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to work with and how quickly they wanted to fix the problem. This is just one more reason to recommend the Transporter.

You can find out more about the Transporter by visiting http://connecteddata.com/

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