Private Cloud, some experiences
Not long ago I blogged about Public vs. Private Cloud services. Now I'll share some hands on experiences and who knows, it might be worth reading?
WD MyCloud Mirror - it's alright (literally speaking)
Right before Christmas eve 2014 I bought a WD MyCloud Mirror 4TB NAS or Private Cloud solution on a whim. It's called Mirror because it is a 2+2TB RAID solution. Don't mistake that for 4TB of storage space. This is a good thing and, should something go wrong, you can easily swap out one disk and your data will be rebuilt on the new drive, automatically if you like it to.
Fortunately it turned out my Private Cloud or NAS choice wasn't half bad, the product has gotten decent reviews. But let this be said right away, you get what you pay for. There are better/faster ones around. WD sell high end versions under the type name EX. And of course, there are a few serious competitors.
MyCloud Mirror - first impression
Unpacking the unit one quickly realizes this is a well designed, well engineered piece of hardware. Getting it up and running on your home network is a no brainer. You hook it up to your router or, as in my case, a Wifi repeater with LAN Connection. Yes, WD MyCLoud Mirror requires a LAN connection.
One thing that immediately impressed me was the noise level. You can barely hear it, got laptops and definitely desktops more noisy than the WD MyCloud unit. When the disks starts working and you run backup there's of course more noise but it's not at all loud.
Next, you install the WD MyCloud Software, also a no brainer, It's simple, with few important functions. Most of the administration is done via browser. The unit has a web engine (Apache) that serves you admin pages with quite a lot of functions.
Turned out that the web interface with all its functions is a blessing in disguise that sucks processor power and also quite a bit of memory. Use with caution if you're backing up files or streaming (especially if both). The Web services may affect overall performance. One thing that did impress me was access via an App, on iPhone or iPad, and how easy it was to set up, on WLAN or via mobile networks. Big plus for ease of use!
WD Smartware - fairly useless
Indeed, this software doesn't do the unit full justice. Called SmartWare it was an annoying experience from the start. Well designed graphically but lacked both basic as well as important control functions. Backup took forever, in fact it was so slow I thought something was wrong either with the network, WiFi repeater, the box itself or a combination. 12 hours went but a backup job of some 40GB was not completed. Plenty of errors I found too, lots of files that would not be backed up. Went online to the WD forum and found tons of complaints and frustrated users. Many with exactly the same experience.
The solution to the problem is simple. First of all, don't use SmartWare, there are many good alternatives available, from the function rich, graphically delicate and expensive, to the free, light-weight, less graphical and simple. I've not made a final decision at this time, recommend you read this review.
Myself I am running a test with a $20 software called Bvckup 2. A delight of a utility, does exactly what I want it to do and it needs to be capable of. A tiny little program "(<1MB installed!) with focus on speed, ease of use, good copy/scheduling features and ditto control of tasks. I'll be back later with more on this topic but what I can say this far is, backup is running flawlessly, fast, and no errors on any files.
What else is there to say, yeah I could have gotten a NAS/Private cloud solution with more power, and better speed. But they cost more, some cost a lot more. I've tested streaming of MP3 via both 4G and 3G mobile network, while several backup tasks ran on the internal/local network. It worked flawlessly. What you really need is upload network speed enough to service your streaming.
If set up and used properly it's hard to see how WD MyCloud Mirror 4TB can disappoint. My set up with a WiFi repeater is not ideal but using Bvckup 2 it's more than adequate for our needs. We can stream files while backup runs. The unit also exists in 6TB (3+3), 8TB (4+4) or even 12TB (6+6) versions. And you can attach up to 2 USB units additionally for backup.