Product Review: LaCie CloudBox

Product Review: LaCie CloudBox

LaCie recently introduced a new external hard drive/media sharing solution, and they were nice enough to send me one to review.  Here is the LaCie CloudBox!

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NOTE: UPDATED ON 1/27/2013 TO ADD PERFERMANCE MEASURES TO END OF REVIEW

LaCie recently introduced the CloudBox media sharing device.  We told you about that here, and here is a good video overview to get you started.

A few product shots are here:

CloudBox_BackCloudBox_Files_FewCloudbox_PKGCloudBox_Side

It is a really nice looking device and will be at home wherever you place it.  But enough of the introductions, let’s get to the review!

Installing the CloudBox

The process for installing the Lacie CloudBox is pretty straightforward:

1. Plug the ethernet cable into your router;

2. Power up the box by plugging it into your wall socket;

3. Wait 3-9 minutes for the device to prepare itself;

4. Log onto the device by clicking on it under Network in Windows File Manager (Shared on Mac OS).

I followed the directions, and lo and behold, the device was available on my network in 5 minutes flat.

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Under Network, I left clicked. As you can see, Family folders are already there, ready for content.

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This is all that most will probably ever do, and within 10 minutes of booting the device, including capturing screen shots, I was good to go. LaCie promised one-click setup, within 9 minutes, and they delivered. I copied and pasted content into the folders and was good to go. About 7.5 minutes to transfer 733 MB of photos, 1.51 MB/second. This is not the speediest hard drive solution out there, but it should be fine for most uses. Now to add music and video!

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  • John Zajdler

    Great job Jim, thanks for all the details.

    • http://twitter.com/jam3ohio Jim McCarthy

      Sure, John, my pleasure!

  • Bob

    Thanks for the review. Are there some other solutions for DIY remote network storage that we should check out in addition to the Lacie Cloudbox?

    • http://twitter.com/jam3ohio Jim McCarthy

      I like the Seagate Central announced at CES2013 http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2013/01/11/ces2013-seagate-announces-new-seagate-central/ and also full-on NAS units from QNAP/Synology/ASUSTOR/Buffalo are interesting options. It really depends on how technical you are, and what your exact requirements are…this is a simple product aimed at people who want minimal setup required…full-on NAS units add complexity, but deliver RAID speeds and other bells and whistles. If you can provide some additional data on exactly what you are trying to do, I might be able to be more helpful in recommendations.

  • Happyman

    Thanks for the review. I am looking to buy this box (3TB) but haven’t been able to find a good review. You have one of the first one. Thanks for that.

    The transfer speed you have is quite slow compare to spec speed – up to 60MB/sec. I am wondering what is your setup and if what you have may contribute to the slow transfer speed. Thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/jam3ohio Jim McCarthy

      Happyman–This is a single spindle product with minimal flash onboard, so it won’t be speedy. As far as network specs, this was connected to a Netgear gigbit switch, and the content was being copied over a wifi connection. You are correct in that this will under report the speeds if the entire pipe is gigabit ethernet, and I can update this to reflect all-wired speeds soon. Keep in mind that the target customer will often be connecting via wireless to the device, which will be slow. Thanks for the feedback/question!

      • Happyman

        Jim, thanks for reply. It makes sense that it was over wifi for the speed you have. Please let me know when you have the transfer speed over Ethernet. Thanks again.

        • http://twitter.com/jam3ohio Jim McCarthy

          Stay tuned…and thanks for the question. I will add that test as soon as I can.

        • http://twitter.com/jam3ohio Jim McCarthy

          Happyman, thanks for the question. I ran the Cloudbox through the Intel NAS Performance suite of tests, running each test 5 times and taking the average result. The sole exception to that is the Intel FileCopyToNAS test, which returned very high values due to the fact that my testbed machine has 24GB of RAM and the test can’t factor that issue out. To replace the Intel file copy test, I moved 42.1GB of data from another NAS with a RAID5 to the Cloudbox, which should give you a best-case real world throughput measure; this was about 30.3MB/s, roughly half of what I have seen in the Lacie 5big Ofiice+ with a RAID5.
          I intend to use this approach on all future articles, and appreciate your question as it motivated me to standardize our speed testing methodology.

  • M Yates

    Jim, I have been researching simple methods of backing up mulitiple PCs on my home network for some time. I have read tons of comments on this and it seems there are no 5 star solutions. However this product seems to have fewer issues and complexities than other drives. Adding the sharing features and more that are available on this I am almost sold. One sticking point is that it doesn’t come with backup software to perform auto backups of client PCs on the network. I definitely want this. Any recommendations on good software for this purpose and compatible with this box? Thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/jam3ohio Jim McCarthy

      Automated backups are not in this product’s feature set. If you need that, look at a traditional external drive that bundles backup software.

  • PM

    Very good review – thanks! Any experience how to backup the cloudbox in the network? Solutions like the LaCie Big series do offer an USB to do scheduled backups of the NAS source. Thanks for some feedback, PM

    • http://twitter.com/jam3ohio Jim McCarthy

      You can use rsynch to back this up to another unit on the network. Speeds will be a little slow but it can be done. And of course it bundles with Wuala for secure off-site backup; getting your backup into the cloud with Wuala may be the easiest if you can afford the cost for the Wuala data plan.

  • Raks

    Hi not sure if this thread is still active. I was hoping you could advise me on which nas device to purchase, lacie cloud box or seagate central 4TB. I can’t see the difference , does the central allow streaming media over the internet, I think the cloud doesn’t. My requirements are ease of use, able to stream to my Xbox, family to access all data, reliable and as fast transfer as possible in this price range. I travel a little so would like to stream movies to my tablet smart phone over 3G/4G. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have, or you may recommend another NAS in this price range.

  • Raks

    Great review by the way.