In an event in Sydney yesterday, WD unveiled its latest network storage drive, called My Cloud. The new drive is aimed squarely at consumers, and is designed to take the difficulty out of setting up and installing network storage in the home. The new drive is available now in 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB capacities in a single-drive design, and pricing starts from $199.99 ($269.99 in New Zealand) for the 2TB version.
WD recently conducted research that showed users were concerned about their data access, control, security, and ownership when storing it in the public cloud, and the My Cloud is a direct response to that finding. The My Cloud drive plugs in to a home network using Gigabit Ethernet and it offers users their own ‘personal cloud’.
The My Cloud drive is essentially a repository for all data that users want to share (and stream) between computers and mobile devices on a home network, and WD supplies an app for both the Apple and Android platforms. WD claims that the new drive requires no set up at all apart from plugging it in, downloading the app on your phone, and connecting to the drive. It’s designed to be as user friendly as possible in this regard, but users can still access the drive’s settings from a Web page on a computer. Through here, users and access can be managed.
The designation of the product as a ‘personal cloud’ means that a user can store and access data that resides on their own network attached storage (NAS) device (the My Cloud), rather than through an online storage service such as DropBox or Google Drive. The advantage is that users can store large files, sensitive files, and anything else deemed important, and access that data directly on their phone or computer without going through a third-party connection.
My Cloud does allow for remote access to a user’s data as well, which requires the user to have a WD My Cloud account. This will allow users to store and retrieve data from their drive while travelling, though the performance of these tasks will depend greatly on the Internet connection.
Because it’s a ‘personal cloud’, all responsibility for the data stored on the My Cloud drive resides with the user. Regular backups will be required of data stored on the My Cloud drive. To facilitate this, the drive has a USB 3.0 port through which another drive can be connected. WD ships the My Cloud with SmartWare backup software, and it also has support for Time Machine.
Physically, the My Cloud has a slightly different appearance to previous WD drives, it’s fanless, and it runs a Cortex A9 dual-core CPU. On the inside it features WD’s Red drives.
For small business users and advanced home users, WD also released the My Cloud EX4, which is a four-bay NAS device that can be set up in a variety of RAID arrays and which has a more comprehensive set of backup features.
It’s a unit that can be purchased either as a NAS box only (without drives), or populated with drives in a RAID 5 array. The drives reside in bays that don’t require a tray, which makes installation and removal a tool-less affair. Up to 16TB of storage can be installed via four hard drives, though the total capacity will depend on the RAID implementation (there is support for 0, 1, 5, 10, JBOD, spanning).
Reliability is a key feature of the My Cloud EX4. In addition to data redundancy via RAID, it also has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and two power adapter inputs (though only one adapter is supplied in the box). It has a 2GHz, single-core Marvell CPU, and populated versions of the EX4 are supplied with WD’s Red hard drives, which are optimised for the NAS environment.
WD said it is attempting to reach new NAS users with this unit, rather than take away users of other brands of NAS devices. The target market is users who may not have previously considered buying a NAS device for their storage needs. Like the consumer My Cloud device, the My Cloud EX4 can also be used with the company’s My Cloud app.
The WD My Cloud EX4 costs $599.99 on its own ($699.99 in New Zealand), and it’s also available in 8TB, 12TB and 16TB versions. The 8TB unit costs $1199.99 ($1299.99 in New Zealand), the 12TB version costs $1399.99 ($1499.99 in New Zealand), and the 16TB version costs $1599.99 ($1699.99 in New Zealand).