Review: WD My Cloud

 

My Cloud Box Shot

WD (also known as Western Digital) has a long history of hard disk drive manufacturing and remember them well when hard disk drives had capacities in the region of megabytes. It is incredible how just one or two of my raw digital camera image files could take up the entire capacity of the Caviar series drives.

Today, hard disk drives are in gigabyte capacities and even then slowly we are seeing the disappearance of the gigabyte to be replaced with a minimum of a terabyte. That brings me to the WD My Cloud which is available in three capacities – 2, 3 and 4-terabytes. The device itself is about as big and thick as an old Oxford dictionary but can certainly hold a lot more data than the Oxford dictionary.

When I received my sample unit I neglected to take photos of it, actually, I shot some pictures but I got busy, went on a long needed holiday and now cannot remember where amongst the 8-terabytes of hard disk storage I have. :) It can get unmanageable especially if you are not diligent with housekeeping tasks. Anyway, WD has some nice shots of the device which I am using for the review.

3 Quarter View Top

You can see it is very straightforward in design. My one gripe with the design is it can topple over if you keep the unit in the upright position. If you lay it flat you end up defeating the ventilation system which is on the top of the casing. On the back side you have access to all the connectivity and power. A gigabit port, USB port and 12-volt power supply socket provides the bare essentials.

My Cloud Back

As this is a personal storage device that enables Internet access to your store it is best equipped with the gigabit network. That gigabit capability is more than adequate for network file activity in the local area. The throughput from your local area to the public will be limited by the speed of your Internet connectivity.

So, you are probably asking what’s the big deal with My Cloud. Well, if you have terabytes of data and you would like to access it any time, any where, you will end up paying a lot of money for a subscription based service. Some may add that your files in the Cloud is vulnerable. The former is my concern having already had to increase the iCloud subscription I have with Apple and the amount of pictures I have been shooting with my iPhone and my Sony Wi-Fi enabled RX100M2 and Alpha A7R, I may have to increase the capacity again or do some serious house cleaning.

icloud_subscription

Setup and configuration of the WD My Cloud out of the box is as easy as plugging in the Ethernet cable and power. Follow the fold-out quickstart guide to launch the WDSetup program on Windows or browsing to the specific URL. After answering the few prompts about username you can access everything through the browser dashboard.

Home Menu

Home Menu

At a glance you will be able to see all the important bits of information on one screen. Across the top of the dashboard you have 5 additional screens to configure Users, Shares, Cloud Access, Safepoints and Settings.

Users Menu

Users Menu

Setup and manager user access easily to make the shared space manageable and secure. With individual login access and dedicated store it is easy to manage backing up the files without fear of cross contaminating each users files/folders and securing files/folders for your eyes only.

Shares Menu

Shares Menu

From the Shares configuration you can create folders and assign user(s) to the shared folder. No rocket science and it works really well.

Cloud Access

Cloud Access

Cloud access is the part all the users, including the person administering the My Cloud, like because you create login access for a user and assign folder access. So now, even when you are outside the home local area network and connected to the Internet via WiFi or a wireless broadband connection you will be able to access your files. I can beat having to carry around a USB flash memory stick around with important files and accidentally misplacing that memory stick. Instead just access the files remotely like you would from a Cloud based service like iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox or other Cloud based storage.

Safepoints are like snapshots of the hard drive at that point in time and to ensure the ability to recover to that safe point the safepoints are created on an attached USB drive or on another network connected hard disk drive.

Settings

Settings

Use the Settings navigation icon to access and configure the settings for DLNA, Firmware updates, Network Connectivity, iTunes and more.

Performance of the My Cloud may be its downfall for users demanding the fastest transfer rates. Personally, I found the transfer rates good enough for use on my gigabit network for saving and loading large Adobe Photoshop files. It will never be as fast as a direct connected drive but it is a lot more versatile.

If you are considering buying a large external USB connected hard disk drive, I highly recommend you consider a setup like the WD My Cloud. Firstly, with all the local Telco’s offering pretty fast broadband speeds you can virtually eliminate the need to carry around a fragile hard disk drive. If you do like the idea of still using those portable USB drives don’t fret the My Cloud has a USB port that can be used for such devices to expand or safeguard data on the My Cloud.

If you are looking for something a little more robust and capable I suggest you look at the WD My Cloud EX2 or EX4. The later has 4 drive bays which should be enough for most buyers. Here’s a breakdown of the models and price:-

 2TB version SGD239

3TB version SGD289

4TB version SGD399

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