Western Digital (WD) has been steadily growing its line of My Cloud devices – external network-attached storage (NAS) hard drives with a simple user interface designed to work with mobile and desktop devices. The company just launched new two-bay and four-bay version in its My Cloud Expert series, made for prosumers and other power users who work with lots of data, like photographers, videographers, and creative professionals.
Unlike the consumer versions, the My Cloud EX2100 (two-bay) and My Cloud EX4100 (four-bay) Expert drives are designed to be high-performance workhorses. They use dual-core Marvell Armada processors, and support fast read/write speeds that allow for multiple HD media streams, for example. Depending on configuration, these units can offer up to 24TB of storage.
If you’re a photographer who shoots uncompressed RAW files, a videographer working in 4K, a graphic designer, or someone who works with lots of large and important files, and needs to access them both locally and remotely, the Expert drives are for you. With two or four hard drive bays, they can be configured as large-capacity storage or smaller-capacity drives with redundancy (backup). The USB ports also support instant file transfers when connecting a digital camera.
Besides WD’s SmartWare Pro backup software for Windows, the drives work natively with Apple’s Time Machine for OS X. They can also function as FTP servers if you choose not to use WD’s My Cloud mobile app (iOS and Android) or desktop Web interface.
Or perhaps you’re a media junkie. The drives can complement your home entertainment setup as a media server. They support DLNA/UPnP, Twonky, and iTunes server.
The drives have WD’s My Cloud OS (Linux based) preinstalled and, after you plug them in and create a new admin login/password, are ready to go when you take them out of the box. The My Cloud dashboard, which you access via a Web browser, shows the status, such as energy use, system health, and other activity. For advanced users, you can also tweak the settings. From our experience with WD’s consumer versions, which use the same interface, it’s easy to use. The mobile app lets you access the content from anywhere with an Internet connection (as long as your drives are connected to a network with Internet access), and can sync with other cloud services (Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive) for file transfers.
Available now via WD’s online store and in March at select retailers, the EX2100 has list prices of $250 (no drives), $430 (4TB), $560 (8TB), and $750 (12TB). The EX4100 will cost $400 (no drives), $760 (8TB), $1,050 (16TB), and $1,500 (24TB).
In related news, WD also announced two new two-bay and four-bay My Cloud models in the Business series. These are designed for small businesses with employees ranging from 25-100 people (the four-bay version can theoretically support up to 500 employees, but that’s not an ideal setup). These drives are similar to the Expert series, except they are designed to support many users at once and have file encryption, backup, and other security measures to protect sensitive files. The Business drives use Intel Atom dual-core processors with 2GB of RAM (expandable to 6GB) for extra horsepower. They also support other IT protocols such as iSCSI target and initiator, replication and file synchronization, integrated FTP, WebDAV server, SSH Shell, and Microsoft Active Directory. These drives can also automatically back up to another NAS drive or cloud services like Amazon S3 (the USB 3.0 port also supports one-touch backup to another connected drive). Storage is scalable via dual Gigabit Ethernet and USB, and offer two power supplies (in case power goes out, it can switch over to an uninterruptible power supply).
The Business drives cost $350 (no drives), $530 (4TB), $650 (8TB), and $850 (12TB) for the two-bay model (DL2100), and $530 (no drives), $880 (8TB), $1,170 (16GB), and $1,530 (24TB) for the four-bay model (DL4100).