It’s more than a little disingenuous to call WD’s latest storage product the ‘My Cloud’. Touted as a “cloud of your own” in the marketing bumpf, it’s really no different than many other internet accessible NAS devices we’ve reviewed in the past.
Which is not to say it’s a bad product per se; we’re just nitpickers when it comes to proper nomenclature, and this is very much not a cloud device. It is, however, very handy, and very good at what it does – offer you seemless access to all of your data wherever you are.
We tested the 3TB model, and you can get two and four terabyte versions depending on your storage needs. The My Cloud (grr) follows the usual WD book-like design, sitting upright and looking stylishly unobtrusive. The included setup instructions are simple, but the process itself is a little back and forth – the initial install hung indefinitely until we tried to access the My Cloud through the web interface, at which point a firmware update seemed to fix things up.
It’s not an insurmountable problem, but it’s annoying nonetheless.
On the flipside the setup utilises the My Cloud’s power LED to let you know what’s going on, changing colour as it goes through each step, which is a handy little indicator.
The device comes with no software, but once downloaded from the WD support site, the My Cloud’s easy to use. You can set up multiple users complete with passwords, and WD’s dedicated backup software is both simple and relatively useful. Access to other storage services like Dropbox and SkyDrive is built in, making actual cloud sharing and storage very easy.
But the real power of the My Cloud is the ability to set up shares and access data remotely. You can log on via a web service, desktop application, or via a smartphone app, meaning that your own personal storage is never far away – assuming you’re not going to be blasting any mobile data caps (though you can at least set a warning for this in the app, which is a welcome touch).
But for sharing things like family photos, media collections around the house, or just having foolproof access to important documents wherever you are, the My Cloud is very useful, poor naming be damned. And, thanks to easy to navigate interfaces, it’s pretty straightforward. Setting up the various apps on various devices, from work PCs to the machines of relatives and friends, makes for easy sharing – an important aspect if you’re trying to share baby pics with the grandparents!
In fact, this is one of the more ingenious uses we’ve found for the My Cloud – my colleague John Gillooly has set up one at his parents’ home, and with access to it he can now easily share all kinds of stuff with the family, and easily monitor the device on their behalf.
Ultimately, the My Cloud is more of an evolution in storage than the revolution that WD claims that it is, but that doesn’t mean the My Cloud is any less handy. If you’ve yet to invest in networked attached storage devices this is an easy and affordable place to start. Just keep an eye out for the install issues we mentioned, and you’ll be set up in no time.