Western Digital (WD) My Cloud EX2 has been designed for those who are looking for the convenience of cloud storage, but do not want to store their files on servers that they do not have access to. This is a great choice for avid amateur photographers and semi-pro photographers or videographers. When it comes to easy remote access and a user friendly interface, there are few like this NAS box. The performance is somewhat lagging though.
For those that are not familiar with network storage concepts or NAS, the WD EX2 is a good box to begin with. It has a lot of help embedded into the configuration pages and it is possible to access the files that are stored on it from any computer or mobile device that has access to the internet. All you have to do is enter a code or a password. Let’s take a deeper dive to WD My Cloud EX2, and let’s review what we have in our hands.
The X2 is available in 3 different options, a 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB. The cost for each is roughly $370, $470, and $570 respectively. The factory configured version comes with RAID 1 drives. Since this is a 2 drive set, each of the drives has the same data written to them. This means that if one of the drives fails you will be able to recover your data from the other one. This means that the 4TB actually only has 2TB of storage. There is the option of reconfiguring the drives to be RAID 0. This will allow the data to be written in strips across both of the drives. When you do this, the drives have more capacity and a higher performance. However, if either one of the drivers fail, all of your data is lost.
Each of the capacities available comes with 2 USB ports so that you can expand your backup and storage. There is also a single gig Ethernet port on each. In addition, the EX2 can be backed up using a second remote EX2 or to an EX4, which has 4 bays. The drives are vertically mounted and can easily be accessed from the top. To access the drive, simply press the release button and the top will pop open. You will then simply press the top down to secure it when finished.
There is a great HTML interface that can be accessed using the URL of the drive on your local network. Perhaps the best features of the WD My Cloud EX2 are the ease of access. In order to get to your storage from another PC there is a WDMyCloud.com portal that can be used. If you need to access your data from an iOS device, Windows phone, or Android device, there is a 2go app available. You will need to generate a code from the admin section on the web interface and enter it into the 2go app and you are ready to go.
The feature set of the storage unit is advanced, focused, and extensible using different applications. The basic set of features includes support for multiple users, iTunes and DLNA media servers, shares, and of course easy remote access.
Some of the more advanced features include iSCSI that has virtualization, as well as SMART drive information. There are apps installed in order to cover HTTP, FTP, and P2P access. There is also file viewing from the browser as well as a number of other applications that can be downloaded to facilitate Bit Torrent, content management and more.
When it comes to performance, it is decent for larger files. It can write an average 10GB file at 65 MBps and can read it at around 66 MBps. While these numbers are not close to Synology or QNAP, they are acceptable for an average consumer box.
The EX2 mimics the original design of My Cloud, which is actually a good thing. The EX4 had hard angles and were not necessarily living room friendly. The EX2 offers sweeping curves that provide it with an almost cute appearance that can be placed almost anywhere.
Since price is a consideration, the build quality is not the greatest and the plastic chassis has quite a bit of flex. This is most notable in the lid that pops open like a garbage can. The drive bays have a weak mechanism that is somewhat unimpressive. You need to be really careful when you are slotting the drives in and out.
There are several key features of the EX2 that make it worth considering. These include:
- unpopulated, 4,6, and 8 TB capacities
- remote file access
- Two 3.5 inch HDD bays
- iTunes support
- 1 gigabit Ethernet
- Time machine compatible
- Two USB 3.0
There are several great features of the WD My Cloud EX2. Perhaps the biggest pro for this device is the fact that it is relatively simple to use. Other positive aspects of the WD EX2 include:
- Intuitive setup
- Fast for a consumer drive
- Minimalist design
- Smart design
- Decent value
While there are many great things about this storage device, there are a few areas that could be improved. Some of the cons of the WD EX2 include:
- Build quality is a bit flimsy
- RAID cannot be expanded
- The app for the PC could be improved
Overall, the WD My Cloud EX2 is great for new users of network storage. Unlike some of the other network storage devices, the WD EX2 My Cloud does not allow for you to swap to a larger drive to automatically expand the capacity. Instead, you will need to transfer everything off of My Cloud, install drives that are larger, which have to have matching capacities, and then put the data back on the devices once again.
This particular line is focused on the mainstream consumer. The company does not expect you to upgrade the EX2. For this reason, if you plan on upgrading to something bigger in the future, you might want to consider looking into a more advanced drive to start with.