The network attached storage market is growing by leaps and bounds. While the SMB (small and medium business) / enterprise market is driven by speed, IOPS and concurrent access support, the consumer segment is primarily driven by capacity and ease of use. Vendors have typically targeted the consumer / SOHO NAS platform with RISC-based chipsets, while Atom-based units target the higher-end SOHO and SMB market. Western Digital's SMB NAS units run Windows Storage Server (the Sentinel series), but they also have a Debian Linux platform for consumer units. We have evaluated the Linux-based My Book Live before. Running on the Applied Micro APM82181 PowerPC-based platform, the unit earned our recommendation for the extreme ease-of-use and mobile app ecosystem.

Today, Western Digital is announcing a very ambitious update to the My Book Live. At launch, the new My Cloud lineup will have only one member. This member, a network attached hard-disk, will come in 2, 3 and 4 TB capacities priced at $150, $180 and $250 respectively. However, under the same lineup, Western Digital also plans to bring out two and four-drive configurations to the market soon.

The My Cloud units sport a single Gigabit Ethernet connection and a dual-core processor (WD refused to disclose the identity, but it should become apparent when we receive units in hand). The units are backed by free iOS and Android apps (with direct upload from the mobile device to the NAS as the main feature) as well as well as the WD SmartWare Pro software for PC backups. Time Machine support is also available for Mac users. The units are also compatible with DLNA devices as a DMS (Digital Media Server).

The launch of the My Cloud lineup will definitely heat up the competition in the consumer NAS segment. WD's storage background will also help in making the units hit an optimal price point. Interesting aspects to look forward to would be whether the two and four-drive units will have removable drives and/or hot-swap capabilities. We are looking forward to review one of these when the multiple-drive versions hit the market.

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  • extide - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    Dual Core 1.2Ghz Cortex A9's, with DDR3, looks like it has ethernet built into the SoC, and also a hardware encryption engine (IPSec/SSL). This would be a great router SoC. It would be the Comcerto C2200. Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    Single Drive, What happens when it fails? Reply
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, October 3, 2013 - link

    It fails. Reply
  • chubbypanda - Thursday, October 3, 2013 - link

    You'd have your stuff already backed up since you pay attention to S.M.A.R.T. readouts (of course, if it's just sudden crash nothing would warn you). Reply
  • vijayaraghavan - Monday, October 7, 2013 - link

    Any update, Ganesh, on benchmarking? Has Anandtech received a unit from WD? Reply
  • soliloquist - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - link

    Well not sure if anyone is still interested in this product, but I will give you my experience with the WD My Cloud.

    I tested the transfer speeds to and from the WD My Cloud using an Intel 320 SSD:

    From the SSD to the NAS, sustained speeds of 59.5 MB/s.
    From the NAS to the SSD, sustained speeds of 85.5 MB/s.

    And for anyone that's interested in the power efficiency, I hooked the NAS up to a Kill A Watt EZ and measured the consumption in different states:

    Booting:
    peek 20 watts
    average 10-11 watts
    Idle but drive spending - 10-11 watts
    Standby (deep sleep) - 7-8 watts
    Transferring (reading/writing) - 12-13 watts

    Overall the user interface is pretty clean and works very much like an appliance. The mobile apps are simple and effective. The WD My Cloud comes with WD SmartWare to use the NAS as a backup drive. It works very well. Interesting side note, Windows 7 can only backup to a network drive in the Ultimate and Professional flavors. I tried using the Windows 7 backup utility with the NAS and had no problems with that either.

    All in all, works as advertised and is quite simple to setup and use. If you are interested in setting up your own FreeNAS this will be somewhat of a Plain Jane experience, but if you are just interested in a simple NAS that works well out of the box, the WD My Cloud will work well.
    Reply
  • soliloquist - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - link

    Well not sure if anyone is still interested in this product, but I will give you my experience with the WD My Cloud.

    I tested the transfer speeds to and from the WD My Cloud using an Intel 320 SSD:

    From the SSD to the NAS, sustained speeds of 59.5 MB/s.
    From the NAS to the SSD, sustained speeds of 85.5 MB/s.

    And for anyone that's interested in the power efficiency, I hooked the NAS up to a Kill A Watt EZ and measured the consumption in different states:

    Booting:
    peek 20 watts
    average 10-11 watts
    Idle but drive spending - 10-11 watts
    Standby (deep sleep) - 7-8 watts
    Transferring (reading/writing) - 12-13 watts

    Overall the user interface is pretty clean and works very much like an appliance. The mobile apps are simple and effective. The WD My Cloud comes with WD SmartWare to use the NAS as a backup drive. It works very well. Interesting side note, Windows 7 can only backup to a network drive in the Ultimate and Professional flavors. I tried using the Windows 7 backup utility with the NAS and had no problems with that either.

    All in all, works as advertised and is quite simple to setup and use. If you are interested in setting up your own FreeNAS this will be somewhat of a Plain Jane experience, but if you are just interested in a simple NAS that works well out of the box, the WD My Cloud is for you.
    Reply

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