ctera-cloudplug-hi-res1After announcing plans to create a new kind of online storage service in January, a startup called CTERA Networks is now unveiling its first products. It says its two devices, dubbed the CTERA CloudPlug and the CTERA 2000, combine the virtues of network-attached storage (where, as the name suggests, a storage device backs up files from your company network) with those of web backup services like Carbonite or Backblaze.

Here’s how it works: The data from your network or your computer is backed up on an external hard drive. Then, using your Internet connection, the CloudPlug sends that data from your hard drive to an online storage site. That means your files are backed up offsite, and CloudPlug could save you money and space on additional storage hardware. Unlike standard online backup, the computers don’t have be turned on, or even connected to the Internet for backup to continue. (In contrast, the initial backup of my hard drive on Backblaze took weeks, because files only uploaded when I was online.)

cloudplug-diagramCTERA says the CloudPlug doesn’t require users to download any software, either. They just connect the device to an external hard drive, then to their Internet network, and they’re ready to go.

The CloudPlug is aimed at small businesses and individual consumers. It will cost $199, which includes 10 gigabytes of storage for a year. The CTERA 2000 is meant for slightly larger offices, and will cost $499. (CTERA will charge for extra storage.) To promote the product, CTERA has scored a deal with hosting company Rackspace to market the CloudPlug.

CTERA has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Benchmark Capital.

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