Just about everyone these days uses some Cloud storage service, such as SkyDrive or DropBox, etc. Unfortunately these services are limited to a just few gigs, unless you pony up for a subscription plan. So while free cloud storage plans are great for some basic picture and document backup, if you want access to all your data from anywhere, things get much costlier. This is where Western Digital’s My Cloud comes in. With this suped up hard drive, you’ll have total control over your very own personal cloud – sans a monthly subscription cost.
Out of the box, the My Cloud looks like just another hard drive, but the My Cloud drive is far more than that. It functions kind of like a Network Attached Storage, and once you plug it into your home or office router, you will be able to access your files anywhere in the world.
Setup with the My Cloud is extremely easy. The initial set up process took under 15 minutes, and that included installing the apps on my Mac, iPad and iPhone. Setting up users access and permissions was also straightforward and easy to do.
Unfortunately, while the My Cloud app for Mac gets the job done, it’s slow and limited. It is also worth a few more minutes of time to “map” the network drive in order to access the files within Finder. On the other hand, the WD My Cloud Dashboard however is pretty slick and user friendly. This accesses the drive through your browser and lets you see the drive’s current stats and also lets you adjust the drive’s settings.
Of course, access from the mobile apps is what really makes this device like proper Cloud storage. The iOS apps are also designed with a simple interface, showing you your folders and files. From here you can download, as well as upload files directly to and from your phone to the drive. And just like with other Cloud storages services (e.g. Dropbox, Box) you can email a link to any of your files. The recipient will be given a link to that file only, thus keeping your other files secure and separate.
You can also stream music and videos to your iPhone/iPad through the My Cloud app. As long as your connection is fast, the streaming works well. It caches the files first too, so make sure you have enough memory on your phone for caching.
There are also lots of other features and tweaks on the My Cloud, which includes setting up ftp to access to your files, which is very cool. Given the fact that these drives come in 2, 3 and 4 TB sizes, you can throw all your files on here and still use it to back up your PC. But if you do want more storage, you can do that simply by attaching an additional hard drive via USB to the back of the drive. It can be setup to give you a redundant backup of the drive itself too, or just to expand your media storage.
The WD My Cloud Personal Cloud Storage device is a very cool concept that has been well executed. It’s simple enough for a novice to setup, but has loads for the more technically inclined to play with. The price is right too, since it’s priced only marginally higher than a basic hard drive. Right now you can pick up the 2TB for $138, 3TB for $171 and 4TB for $220.
The Good: Fair pricing + Saves you money on cloud storage services. Easy to get up and running and easy to use, with intuitive mobile apps. FTP support. Can expand with additional drives. Able to stream to music and videos to your mobile devices. Offers anywhere, remote access.
The Bad: Desktop app is buggy. Requires ethernet connection and doesn’t have built-in wi-fi.