Pogoplug: An Interesting, Linux-Friendly NAS
On the front of the Pogoplug is one USB 2.0 port along with a system status LED indicator below that. On the back of the device are three more USB 2.0 ports, the AC power connector, and the Gigabit Ethernet connection. The device is fairly small and its size should not be an issue for most users. The device is also passively cooled and does not put out too much heat with its ARM-based hardware. To some dismay, there is no Pogoplug model at this time that offers any wireless / WiFi connectivity support. It would also be nice if there was a physical on/off switch on the back of the device, but unfortunately, this is not the case.
Any USB 2.0 devices can be connected to the Pogoplug whether they are flash drives, 2.5-inch SSD drives within a USB enclosure, or standard 3.5-inch drive enclosures with a HDD. Up to four drives can be connected simultaneously and the file-systems supported by the Pogoplug currently include NTFS, FAT32, HFS+, and EXT2/EXT3. It would be nice if more Linux file-systems were supported (ReiserFS, XFS, Btrfs, etc) but it may be possible to add the support yourself to the device through modifications.
Pogoplug encourages developers to extend the capabilities of this unique NAS through its Linux-based system and they offer up an API for accessing their web-services. Pogoplug allows anyone to SSH into the system through enabling the option within the My Pogoplug web control panel. Unlike most device manufacturers that use Linux on their devices, CloudEngines even allows you to SSH into the device as root to have virtually unlimited access to modify the software as you wish. There is also an entire open-source area (http://www.pogoplug.com/opensource/) on the Pogoplug web-site where they make available all of their open-source packages for download that are used by the device. Among these packages are the Pogoplug U-Boot boot loader, the Pogoplug Linux kernel (based upon the Linux 126.96.36.199 kernel), the XCE Linux kernel support driver, Glibc 2.5, Bash 3.2, BusyBox 1.7.0, NTFS-3G 1.5130, FFmpeg, x264, FAAC, libgd, zlib, and DropBear, among others. The openness of the Pogoplug device is rather encouraging and allows for limitless possibilities. In fact, we have even been working on running the Phoronix Test Suite atop this mini Linux ARM computer.
Using the My PogoPlug area for managing the files and controlling the different settings is very robust and easy to use. This interface should be easy for nearly anyone to manage. Using the iPhone client also worked out well.
Overall, this is a very interesting Linux-based device that allows up to four USB devices to be connected and its contents to be safely and easily shared from a remote destination even if the device is running behind a network firewall. These capabilities alone are great, but what makes this device wonderful is how open it is with regard to Pogoplug playing well with the open-source community and encouraging developers to extend and modify the device to their needs. At this time, the device can be found for about $130 USD at Amazon.com, which really makes it priced fairly well for a multi-drive NAS device that can also be used as a mini ARM-based Linux computer with root SSH access.
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