Cloud computing isn’t just for the enterprise – many small businesses are starting to move some of their content to the cloud, typically through public cloud solutions such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and others.
With today’s release of Pogoplug Teams, really small companies looking to get into cloud storage have an even cheaper, though slightly geekier option – turning an existing computer or server into a private multi-user cloud. To use Pogoplug Teams, you install the software on any computer or server running Windows, Mac or Linux, and then assign various folders on the machine to the employees needing access.
Files are locally hosted, so there are no file size limits, and onsite transfers move at LAN speeds, not cloud speeds. Remote access lets you view and download files from any PC, web, mobile or tablet device, and the user interface can be customized and branded to better match your company’s other online properties. To increase storage capacity, you simply add another hard drive to your computer or server.
This approach isn’t for everyone – you’re relying on a local machine that needs to be maintained and backed up, not on a third-party service with plenty of built-in redundancy. But for some companies, the price advantages are compelling (especially if you already have a spare computer available).
Pogoplug Teams costs $75 per year for 2TB of storage and access for up to 5 people, or $150 per year for 4TB and 10 people. It’s impossible to compare this directly with public cloud service providers, but similar storage capacities on Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive would be at least $1,000 to $2,000 or more annually (though these vendors are providing additional services, including the hardware).
If you’ve explored a DIY cloud solution, I’d love to hear about it in the Comments.