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Performance

Jim's review of the V2 showed write speeds below 5 MB/s and reads of only around twice that. So I was prepared for the worst. But I was pleasantly surprised when copying a 4 GB file from my Mac took a mere 2 minutes. My network monitor showed a transfer speed of about 25 to 30 MB per second, which is about 7-10 times faster than the speed Jim averaged.

I thought that perhaps my Mac was just being kind, so I tried a similarly-sized file from my Windows 7 machine, and it too averaged 5-10 times faster. Read speeds showed an increase to speeds about the same as the writes. So it would seem that 10 months of firmware development has really improved the Pogoplug’s LAN capabilities to the point where it could be a feasible LAN-based NAS.

I would be curious to see if the addition of eSATA or USB3.0 would improve the speed any more, since 25 - 30 MB/s is about the maximum you are going to get from USB 2.0 drives as a result of the overhead and the overall latency of the USB2.0 protocol.

I also decided to test Pogoplug’s recent addition of Journaled HFS+ formatted hard drives, since HFS+'s journaling feature is quite helpful in the event of a power failure while the device is writing data to the drive.

I inserted a 250 GB 2.5” Western Digital HD formatted with journaled HFS+, and it showed up after a couple of moments ready for use. I then proceeded to install the Windows and Mac OS drivers to mount the device as another file store, and was ready to begin copying data. From start to finish, the setup took under 15 minutes.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, the Pogoplug Biz provides a good user experience for business users. And it's an easy way to set up a small-scale private cloud without the monthly costs of hosted cloud services or worrying about the security of your data sitting out in the cloud.

There are a number of feature requests in the Pogoplug Forums that could push the Biz toward use by larger businesses. For example, a way to connect into a central user directory and use it for authentication (like Active Directory). This could help make the business experience even more streamlined. But has to be balanced carefully against the target audience who might not have an IT infrastructure that has something like Active Directory.

A very important point that I find the Pogoplug is a little deficient on in their documentation is the importance of a solid Internet connection. Pogoplug’s claim to fame is their “private cloud” functionality. But the Internet still needs to find its way into wherever the Pogoplug is sitting, be it your home office or another location.

This means the user experience is only going to be as good as the Internet connection to it, particularly its upload speed. I feel this needs to be more clearly explained to the possible purchaser, although I admit it's not a positive marketing point.

If you want to host a Pogoplug from a location using DSL and plan to use it heavily, you might as well just save yourself the $299 and purchase a subscription to either Box.net or Dropbox. But if you happen to live in an area with higher speed Internet options, you could find the Biz to be a good addition to your client support options.

If I were in the position to be using it, Pogoplug Biz would definitely be an option to supplement my office NAS and provide an easy way to share files with clients without the hassle of setting up VPNs or opening router ports.

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