The world used to be simpler. A few years ago, all of our digital files were on our computer's hard drive, or on some CDs (or floppy disks) next to it. But at some point the situation got out of hand. Phones, tablets, televisions connected to the Internet or cameras with WiFi arrived at our house. All these gadgets that are here to stay generate files of different types and sizes, which often end up forgotten in memories and cards distributed among the different sites.
Is the future in the cloud. A storage that we can access from anywhere just by being connected to the Internet. But many users are not convinced by leaving all their files in the hands of a clouding company . So WD and other manufacturers are working with another idea, that of the local cloud . The concept is similar: to be able to access our data from anywhere with a device connected to the Internet . But there is an essential difference: in this case, the data is still in our possession , on a hard drive that is within the walls of our house.
The WD My Cloud is an example of how to do this. At Tuexperto.com we have gotten a unit to test what can be done with it and see if it is a good idea to buy one. Next, we test all the details of this WD My Cloud.
When we talk about hard drives the first point must always be the capacity. And we are talking about a device that is used to store files, so the first question that arises is: How many files can fit in it? the drive we tested has 2 TB capacity. There is also a model with 3 TB on the market and another with 4 will soon arrive . It is in principle a huge amount of space. To get an idea, let's see how many hours of video, minutes of audio or photographs we could save. We saved the pages of text, there would be too many millions.
Assuming that a photo in JPEG format occupies about 5 MB, in 1.82 TB we could save about 300,000 images. Yes, we have said 1.82 TB and not 2. This is the value that we will see in our computer when we connect the disk, it is the result of converting megabits into megabytes. Do not be angry, this is done by everyone. For music we choose the MP3 format. It is the most used to save audio files in general, and in particular for those that move from one device to another regularly. In the 2 TB WD My Cloud we could store about 18,000 hours of music in this format. 750 days, more than two years of music playing non-stop (if the speakers can hold).
If we talk about hours of video, the calculations become a little more complex. And is that the audio files, although they come in the same format, vary greatly in size depending on the resolution. Therefore, for once we are going to trust the data provided by the manufacturer, which says that about 150 hours of video can be stored in DV format. The data is more than approximate, it is already known: higher image quality also means larger file sizes.
Ok, we already have a hard drive full of things, but in there they are useless. Now we have to output the data to the different pots that we have at home. Music to audio equipment, movies to TV, and a bit of everything to mobiles and tablets. So let's connect the disk.
The first step is to connect it to the WiFi router we have at home, that thing with lights that the technician put us in and that we only remember when the Internet goes away. It comes with a network cable designed specifically for this, and a simple schematic explains where to plug it in. From here the rest we do from the computer, tablet or mobile. You enter a web address that indicates WD, as if we entered any other website. At this point, we can only download the software that makes the disc work. In the event that we enter with a mobile or tablet, the process is very similar, although the process is much faster from the computer.
The idea is that we download a program to create a personal data cloud. It may seem complicated, but the program guides you through all the phases in a fairly simple way. Once completed, the WD My Cloud appears on the computer as a second hard drive, and accessing its files is just as simple as accessing the files we have on our computer's drive. For mobile devices we have a specific application called My Cloud (yes, just like the disk).
And from there to enjoy. And it is that to access the data from any computer that is connected to our WiFi network will be quick and easy, in either of the two directions. But the data does not stay at home. With mobile devices we can access whenever we are connected to the Internet (for example by 3G or LTE) wherever we are. And from another computer, the one at the office, the one at a friend's house, too. We will enter a web address through the computer and enter the username and password that we choose (as long as the disk is connected at home, of course).
It has a USB 3.0 port although its purpose is not to connect to a computer. Its functions are to connect another hard drive in case we want to carry out a backup or download data directly from a camera.
Design and resistance
The disc has a simple white design and is quite small and light . It is not designed to go from one place to another, and you have to be careful with the blows, that's what portable hard drives are for. However, it is not a huge hulk to be hauled around either. In reality, there is only one thing to care about exterior design: the rear vents .
And this is a disk designed to work 24/7, that is, 24 hours a day, 7 hours a week. At all hours. It may seem like a no-brainer, but the truth is that not all hard drives perform well at this point. Some, like laptops, are intended for occasional use, and subjecting them to this life can kill them.
So we have to be careful with the ventilation. One of the biggest enemies of a device that is always working and has moving parts (yes, the discs spin inside, and very fast) is heat. It is very important to keep the disc in a vertical position and not cover these grids with anything, not a wall or a grandmother's rug to make it look nice.
Conclusions and price
The WD My Cloud is a practical gadget, especially if we have the “tech home syndrome” , that is, we have a house full of gadgets. It is a good way to organize all our files and not lose them without having to be aware of cables, pen drives or memory cards passing from one device to another throughout the house. With the added advantage that we can access them wherever we are.
In reality, the end result is very similar to hiring a cloud storage system, but there are some differences in the process. On the one hand we are going to pay good money at the beginning for the album, but on the other we save the (high) monthly fees that one of these services costs. On the other hand, the data is at home, a plus for those concerned about privacy. Also, we can always plug the disk into the computer to move large files. Of course, if our disk crashes to the ground and we lose all the data, we will not be able to make any claim to the company.
The 2 and 3 TB versions are already available in the Spanish market and have prices of 180 and 230 euros . The arrival of the largest model, the 4 TB, is expected by the end of this year, although we still do not know its price.
|Model||WD My Cloud|
|Capabilities||2 TB, 3 TB, and 4 TB (coming soon)|
|Interface||USB 3.0 and Ethernet|
|Dimensions and format||170 x 139 x 49 |
|Compatibility||Windows / Mac |
|Price||180 (2 TB) 230 (3 TB)|
|+ info||WD |
Chema Lapuente, Oscar Alcaraz (WD) and David Readman