Kickstarter begins for Transporter: Internet Connected Private Storage

Subject: Storage | December 6, 2012 - 10:12 AM |
Tagged: transporter, storage, NAS, cloud

I was recently briefed on an interesting new product called the Transporter, a file sharing device engineered by the same folks that took part in the creation of the Drobo. Connected Data has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its production, so I am now free to talk about it. Here's what it looks like:

View Full Size

Transporter is basically a local area network share. It connects to your router via Gigabit Ethernet (and reportedly runs at close to HDD throughput). With the software installed to your local PCs or Macs, it enables folder sharing and real-time syncing to any other Transporter-equipped location (i.e. a family member). There will also be versions of Transporter with 1TB or 2TB internal hard drives, which shift the file storage burden off of the local computers, if desired.

This may sound a lot like other cloud-based sharing solutions out there, but there are some very significant differences:

  • User data is only stored on local systems or shared with other user-invited locations (via their Transporter).
  • The capacity shared is only limited by your local storage capacity (plus whatever internal storage is installed into the Transporter via its internal 2.5" drive bay).

View Full Size

To put it simply, Transporter is similar to Dropbox in functionality and convenience, but your data is *only* stored privately, and there are no subscription fees or storage limits (beyond that of your local storage capacity). The Kickstarter has only been going for a few hours, and the 'early adopter' pre-orders are more than half gone. Once the 'early' orders are used up, price for a bare Transporter goes from $149 to $179. 1TB models go for $269 and 2TB for $359. We're definitely keeping our eye on this one.


Video News

December 6, 2012 | 11:34 AM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

Aren't there already software solutions for this? Sure you may have to open up port forwarding on your router but why buy another device when you can just integrate this functionality into your PC.

Correct me if I'm wrong. I've never looked into it myself but I always just assumed something this basic existed long ago.

December 6, 2012 | 12:59 PM - Posted by Terance (not verified)

Sounds like Cubby. You can sync to the cloud if you want but you can also just sync from pc to pc.

December 6, 2012 | 01:23 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

Great link. For those who don't know what it is. Cubby is run by LogMeIn and allows you to have unlimited versioning and direct peer to peer syncing so you can keep computers on different networks in sync without giving LogMeIn access to your files.

December 6, 2012 | 04:00 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Hmm sounds interesting, I'll have to take a look :)

December 7, 2012 | 02:58 AM - Posted by razor512

looks nice but is a bit too expensive for what it offers. Most of it's function seems to be located in their software that you install on your PC (I prefer to have support for what the OS comes with across multiple platforms as it ensures that you can make sue of the product without having to ask people if you can install some special software to their system.

while I am speculating because they are very vague on the advanced functions, it seems to be heavily reliant on the user creating an account with them. This carries the same risks of any online based DRM, if the server hosting the account or DRM dies, then so does most or all of the function of your device.

For that product to be viable long term, it must offer those functions in a pure P2P fashion where all you need is the users IP, or DNS address to connect.

They also need to offer some internal specs, mainly the storage controller and CPU, as well as reported read and write speeds.
When a company that makes a product uses vague terms to describe the speed, then it means that listing the speed will discourage people from buying.

the term "close to HDD throughput" means nothing because hard drive speed is not fixed. I have a hard drive that does only 10MB/s (it is very old)

also close is a relative term

Take 2 boxes on either side of the planet and ask people if the boxes are far apart or close, and people will likely tell you that it is far, but if you take 2 additional boxes (while leaving the previous 2 in place, and ask those same people (within group experimental design) if if the 2 additional boxes that are at either side of the city are close or far and they are likely to tell you that they are close)

close is relative and open to interpretation. The lack of hard numbers gives the impression that the read and write speeds are relatively low compared to what modern 7200RPM hard drives from the last 5 years offer.

overall their product seems expensive, especially since you can likely build a mini TIX system for less money that will definitely max out a modern hard drive. Furthermore, based on the info available, most of it's features listed as selling points suffer from all of the risks of cloud storage but carry none of their benefits (increasing the number of fail points).

With e-mail we store them in the cloud for the most part ad while that means lack of access if the internet connection goes down, or if someone at the company decides that the server is looking thirsty and pours a bottle of Jack in there, we will lose access, we have the benefit of if our house burns down, then the data will still be there, or if our computer and external drives are stolen, we still have the cloud data (many trade-offs)

All in all, it seems good, it just needs to be cheaper. it also needs to allow for a true P2P setup where their servers are 100% not needed to use the features of the device. If they cant offer that, then it seems to be better to just build a mini ITX system and turn it into a NAS and VPN server that other users and NAS devices can join in orde to share data.

Using an AMD APU based mini ITX system (has 4 sata6 ports, 1x 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, 4 USB 2 ports, supports up to 8GB RAM, 1x PCIe x16 slot(runs at X4), and has a gigabit network controller and onboard video will cost about $150
(and linux is free :) and the AMD Fusion APU 350D CPU can definately handle a the full speed of a modern HDD.

December 7, 2012 | 07:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Can I plug this device directly to my laptop through my laptop's gigabit ethernet and get faster than USB 2.0 backup speeds! I am looking for a product that can do this without using a router! Just give me an external disk drive with a gigabit ethernet interface directly to a SATA drive without using a router! Gigabit ethernet is faster than USB 2.0 and it would be great for those people with USB 2.0 only laptops!

December 8, 2012 | 12:17 AM - Posted by djotter

Please correct me if I am wrong, but how is this any different from a NAS + backup software?

December 8, 2012 | 08:13 AM - Posted by amadsilentthirst

Because it has lights, and a hip design and it's on kickstarter.

Couldn't agree more, you can have the same core functionality with a simple network share, or router with usb storage attachment.

It's really just trying to leverage some social aspects to sharing data, we have torrents for that

December 8, 2012 | 03:26 PM - Posted by razor512

That is pretty much what it is, A cheap basic NAS, and some custom software most likely running on a busybox linux install. Then their windows/mac software offers the main functionality but at a significant price premium compared to just building your own NAS. eg the one I listed earlier can be built with 1TB of storage for less money than that kick starter NAS. and not only with the NAS you build yourself offer all of the same functionality without relying on any 3rd party servers, and have support for multiple internal drives and the ability to run a full desktop OS and actually be used as a desktop PC.

I just cant see how they are justifying their cost.

August 11, 2013 | 02:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How does this transporter relate to the webhost? But many people are doing whole sale services. Is it good or bad for the whole market?
Movers Tampa FL

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.