From the horse’s mouth
Western Digital have issued new iterations of their consumer network-attached-storage drives but have placed heavy focus on them being the heart of a “personal cloud”. Here, they branded this lineup of 2Gb, 3Gb and 4Gb book-sized NAS units as “MyCloud” and have supplied refreshed desktop and mobile companion apps as “MyCloud” apps.
They were pitching these drives more or less as part of a multi-tier storage system for personal or home data i.e. alongside your device’s built-in or directly-attached storage and any storage space you rent or have for free with a service like Dropbox. I had written about this concept in a previous article when WD were pitching storage management software that worked alongside a recent-issue NAS as well as online storage services.
The software will work alongside Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox online storage services and work the NAS as an “overflow” for these services. As well there is a semblance of data aggregation functionality in the software. The problem with the iOS version for this software at the moment is that if you want to offload photos from your device’s Camera Roll to the MyCloud resources, you have to do this manually – there isn’t yet an automatic backup or file sync for these devices.
As for network-local functionality, this unit ticks the boxes for SMB/CIFs file transfer and DLNA and iTunes media serving. The DLNA function has even been improved with TwonkyServer 7 being supplied as standard. This includes the ability to use the DLNA specification to upload content like digital images to the NAS, which comes in handy with DLNA-capable Wi-Fi digital cameras and advanced smartphone apps.
An issue worth raising with these so-called “personal clouds” is the ability to maintain multiple MAS devices in a “personal cloud”. This encompasses situations where you purchase a new NAS because you outgrew the existing NAS and you move some data to the new NAS, or you have another consumer or small-business NAS in another location and want to have a copy of some or all of the files in the other location either as a safeguard or for quick access. There could be support in the WD MyCloud platform for these scenarios especially as those of us who make use of these devices end up filling them with data.