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Pogoplug Biz

At a Glance
Product Cloud Engines Pogoplug Biz (POGO-BIZ02-US)
Summary Business version of popular SOHO cloud NAS
Pros • Great improvements in speed and user interface since last reviewed
• Good level of control over shared files
• Good balance of customization versus HTML knowledge required
• Mobile applications cover most current smartphones
Cons • Expensive compared to standard Pogoplug Pro
• Certain features only available through web interface, which is not mobile friendly
• Security defaults should be set to more secure settings, not less
• iPhone application needs polishing

I’ve spent years working in IT departments of various sizes, from one-man (me) shops all the way up to hundreds of individuals in financial institutions. And there are a number of common challenges you always face regardless of the size of the company. One of the major challenges is sharing data in a way that is safe and secure, yet easy.

This particular task is even more daunting for smaller businesses where the IT responsibilities are usually either outsourced, or the responsibility of a person who is “tech-savvy”, but for whom IT is not their main focus. It is this audience that Pogoplug is targeting with their new Pogoplug Biz.

Previously, Jim Buzbee wrote a great review of the Pogoplug V2. Pogoplug Biz uses the same hardware as the Pogoplug and Pogoplug Pro models, so refer to Jim’s article for all hardware details. This review will be focused on the features that the Biz model brings to the table, and how they will help the SMB crowd.

First thing of note is the price—Pogoplug Biz is $299, which is $200 more than either the original Pogoplug or the new Pogoplug Pro, and it does not include the wireless connectivity that the Pro includes. The price alone will turn some people off as hosted solutions offer a lower cost of entry, like Dropbox which is $200 a year for 100 GB of shared storage.

Since the Biz is aimed at the “top of the line”, I would like to see the hardware updated to include wireless connectivity, especially since wireless networks are making their way into some of the most stringent network environments, like finance and healthcare.

The table below shows a feature comparison between the $99 Pogoplugs and their more expensive sibling.

Pogoplug Standard and Biz Feature Comparison

Pogoplug Standard and Biz Feature Comparison

Setup is extremely simple and straightforward and I was online within 5 minutes with minimal effort. The interface is responsive over both the LAN and the Internet.

Before I got down to checking out the "Biz" features, I wanted to try streaming a movie since the web interface claims HTML5 H.264 support. So I moved a HD movie encoded with H.264 into the root folder over the LAN.

Watching the interface showed that once the file had finished transferring, the Biz automatically began generating a “preview”, which is automatically played when you mouse over a video. This took a few minutes to generate. But once it was done, it played beautifully in both Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome web browsers.

A side-note on Chrome: Chrome will not start playing an HTML5 video until it’s fully cached, where Safari provides a more Youtube-like buffered video experience. Unfortunately, I could not get Firefox to work with it at all. But one of my testers managed to install a proper codec pack in order to get Firefox to stream the video. IE users will have to install Chrome Frame or wait for IE9 to get the full experience.

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