My Cloud EX2 is an easy to configure, affordable solution to the data backup chore. Its intuitive user interface makes managing complex tasks a snap. Personal cloud storage gives this device the power to be the only drive you own.
Everyone wants precious digital assets secure and properly backed-up. One solution is a public, cloud-based storage service like DropBox, Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud. Western Digital offers an alternative with their line of personal cloud storage devices that ensure the integrity of your data without having to entrust a third-party.
Consider this scenario: you begin working on an important file at home and copy it to a flash drive as you head to catch a flight. Panic strikes in the hotel when you realize you left the flash drive at home. Calm returns when you remember you also emailed the file to yourself. A week later while working on the file, you begin to doubt which copy is the most recent. Is it the one you emailed, the one on the flash drive or the one saved at home?
Western Digital's My Cloud EX2 offers a solution to the dilemma posed above. My Cloud EX2 has the power to be the only storage device you need to own by offering data access at home, office or on the road with a laptop, tablet or smartphone. There’s nothing new about using backup drives to protect mission critical data, but what sets My Cloud EX2 apart is its added ability to serve secure personal data over the Web.
Here we’ll explore Western Digital's My Cloud EX2, which sits in the middle of Western Digital’s line — between the consumer-focused My Cloud and the top-of-the-line My Cloud EX4.
Cloud storage includes any data stored on equipment not under the control of the owner. The concept of the “cloud” is not new. Web-based email systems — like Hotmail and Yahoo Mail — are pioneering examples of cloud services that store personal data somewhere other than the user’s own device.
My Cloud EX2 supports 3.5-inch SATA drives (6GB/second) with a maximum speed of 7200rpm and up to 4TB each. The unit reviewed for this article shipped with two 2TB Western Digital Red drives, specially designed for 24/7 duty and offering an advertised read/write speed of 145MB per second. A range of other Western Digital drives are compatible with My Cloud EX2, as well as select Toshiba and Seagate drives.
In practice, performance will vary with the chosen drive and with Internet connection speed. A sluggish hotel DSL connection might cause frustration.
My Cloud EX2 requires attachment to a router with an active Internet connection. The two-step software installation is quick and painless. Step one is to download and install the My Cloud EX2 Setup application. Step two is to install WD My Cloud software on each device you wish to connect to the server.
WD My Cloud was an easy install on an iPhone and flawlessly streamed an HD movie over an LTE cellular connection. Before the video began, the software gave a welcome warning to alert that the connection was not Wi-Fi and that it would use data from my cellular plan. Also available is an Android version of WD My Cloud.
Once installed, management of My Cloud EX2 is a snap with Western Digital’s intuitive browser-based dashboard. The dashboard makes quick work of adding users, changing RAID configurations, managing connected devices, controlling backup settings and more.
My Cloud EX2’s minimalistic design includes a power on LED, and one LED for each drive. Flashing speed and color changes keep us apprised of the server’s status. For example, if an incompatible drive is placed in the unit, the hard drive’s LEDs rapidly blink red. Additionally, a back panel LED offers status information on the network connection.
Ready to toss your flash drive in the drawer with the floppy disks and 8-tracks? Western Digital’s My Cloud EX2 could render that flash drive obsolete. Maybe it’s time to move up to your own personal cloud.
Western Digital Technologies, Inc.
$200 - $550 (0 TB - 8 TB)
Processor: 1.5 Ghz
Memory: 512 MB
Maximum Capacity: 8 TB
Drive Type: SATA
Drive Speed: Up to 7200 rpm
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS 10.6, Windows XP SP3
RAID Configurations: RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, spanning
Connection Ports: Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0
Dimension (LxWxH): 6” x 4” x 6.75” (155 mm x 99 mm x 171 mm)
Weight: 1.8 lb to 5.0 lb (0.8 – 2.3 kg)
- Access data anywhere with Internet connection
- Easy set up
- Supports many devices
- Lack of file search feature
- Flimsy tab used to remove drives
David G. Welton is a professor of Media Studies.