Western Digital Release System Update for My Cloud EX4 NAS

When I took a look at Western Digital’s My Cloud EX4 NAS a few months back I found the system to be a strong contender in the SOHO and SMB markets, offering up not only the ability to access your data from anywhere on the globe with the confidence that it is not being scanned by any third parties, but also the security of redundant storage. Whilst the EX4 has heaps of features on offer, the local network performance that was experienced left the EX4 a little behind other 4-bay systems in the same market segment.

Since our review on the EX4, Western Digital have been continuing to improve the My Cloud range and for the EX4 this has meant a major firmware update. Granted this is not something that I would normally cover in a news article, but for the EX4, WD state that the performance increase that is on offer from the update is quite considerable, bringing the system up and in line with the systems that previously left it standing behind. In addition to the read and write performance experienced over the network, the update also pays attention to the reliability of network connections, correcting the issue where some users were observing dropped connections when working remotely, better sustained file transfer rates, faster backups, faster build and recovery times of the systems RAID array(s) and finally improved CPU utilisation to improve the overall speed of the admin panel.

The firmware update is being rolled out to EX4 systems with a flag that a the new firmware revision is available for download, or alternatively users can download the latest firmware directly from WD at http://support.wd.com/product/download.asp?groupid=905&lang=en.

Source: Press Release

 

Western Digital EX2 2-Bay 8TB My Cloud NAS Review

Introduction


Since the launch of Western Digital’s single bay My Cloud NAS and its bigger brother the four by EX4 is we have seen a strong movement over to cloud-based storage and thought of doing so less daunting. The latest addition to my cloud family comes in the form of a 2-bay system, offering both the benefit of a multi drive setup with the option for data redundancy along with a simple clean design and a small desktop footprint.

Like the other two systems in the cloud family EX2 is optimised from Western Digital’s own red NAS drives and the particulars system that we have today to look at comprises of two 4TB drives giving us a total of 8 TB of storage in RAID0 mode, although out-of-the-box system is configured in RAID1 leaving 4 TB of space to work with. Like the EX for the EX two comes in a number of different capacities including 4, 6 and 8TB models, along with a disk-less option for those who want the flexibility to install their own drives.

At the heart of the EX2 we are given a Marvell Armada 370 single core 1.2 GHz processor, along with 512 MB DDR3 memory, two SATA 6Gbps interfaces, a single Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB three ports. On the software management side we are given the same interface as seen on the my cloud and the EX four along with the same mobile application as previously seen.

with the EX two following in the footsteps of the older MyBook Live in respect to its design, it is suitable for both the consumer and prosumer environment giving the functionality to access our files on the go along with data redundancy, which for some of us is more critical these days and prices starting at around £160 or $190 US.

Inside the blue box which we have come to associate with Western Digital’s My Cloud products and alongside the NAS, we have a single Ethernet cable, DC power adapter with UK and EU tips (regional) and a few bits paperwork with warranty and quick setup information.

Western Digital’s Cloud Services Still Facing Major Disruption

Since March 26th customers who own any of Western Digital’s Cloud storage based products have been facing crippling connectivity issues after a vulnerability in the service was exposed, resulting in the downtime of connections to and from the WD2Go servers and consequently the loss of connectivity by users to their Cloud storage products that are installed in their homes and offices.

We are nearing two weeks since the service was interrupted and in most case lost completely, after an unknown vulnerability in the way that the service operates was exposed and since then engineers have been frantically working away to discover and repair the problem and restore service to thousands of users world-wide. Unlike Cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, Western Digital’s Cloud storage products such as the MyCloud, EX2, EX4 and MyBook World Live offer customers the ability to have all of their shared files stored within the confines of the home or office, whilst offering up greater storage capacities and the peace of mind that data is not being accessed or scanned by any third-party applications or sources.

A recent letter from WD President Jim Murphy stated “We understand how important your content is to you, your business and your family. Our customers are the reason we strive each day to make better products and services that enable you to enjoy this content. Your entire digital life must be safely stored and readily accessible, and is what makes the WD personal cloud, personal. While your data has remained safe and accessible in your home or office, the service disruption may have temporarily prevented some of you from remotely accessing that content. We’ve dedicated the past week to restoring your remote access as quickly as possible.”

Whilst this indicates to us that normal service is being restored to customers on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t mention what the vulnerability is and how it was discovered. Mr Murphy’s letter went on to say “All of us at WD are committed to minimizing downtime and ensuring the service information we provide is valuable and frequent. We already have implemented important changes to our infrastructure and network capability. While we have validated the vast majority of your remote connections, we continue our focus on providing uninterrupted access from your phone, tablet or computer. Your content deserves nothing less.”

Unfortunately this information nor any official word from WD through the support pages appears to be easy to find, leaving the support channels inundated with requests from users for help and updates on the loss of connectivity to their systems. Although this looks to be a flaw in the network security at the service data centre, data stored on users devices is not at risk and if you feel concerned you can simply turn off your storage until we have confirmation that the service has been fully restored.

Considering I’ve got one of the latest My Cloud systems – the EX2 – currently in for review, I will be keeping an eye on the service status and will keep you all updated accordingly with news that comes to light. What is certain though is that this loss of connectivity will reflect the sales of and reputation of WD’s Cloud systems so they are working against the clock to restore the service and protect themselves from a financial hit.

Source: Press Release

Western Digital EX4 8TB 4-bay My Cloud NAS Review

Introduction


Many people today are demanding more and more from their storage systems and for a select group of users (such as myself), having the ability to get access to files whilst on the go is – in some cases – a necessity. As we know, there are many free and paid services to choose from, which include the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive, however, these services are not without their downsides. Whilst a number of them are free to use, there is the uncertainty as to where your data is actually being stored and there is also no guarantee that your data is not going to be scanned by third-party applications that the host run on their servers. With some of your data potentially being quite sensitive, the last thing you want is for someone else to be snooping through it all. To top this all off, the ‘free’ services are also quite limited in the amount of storage space that is on offer and this is the biggest stumbling block for the most of us.

Quite recently we took a look at Western Digital’s 2TB My Cloud NAS that gives all of the functionality of a local NAS, but it also allows for users to simply and easily get access to their data wherever they are in the world – just as long as they have an internet connection to use. Whilst the My Cloud offers up a good amount of storage for the entry-level user, there is a lack of data redundancy out-of-the box (although there is the option to create safe points when an additional external storage drive is connected to the My Cloud’s USB port). Data redundancy and integrity is where Western Digital have focussed their attention with the new addition to the Cloud NAS lineup with the EX4.

As the name suggests, the EX4 is a four bay system and when marked against the My Cloud 2TB that I previously had a play with, this bigger brother has the ability to provide all of the same functionality plus a whole lot more. Alongside its greater storage capacity – up to 16TB of raw storage in a RAID0, the EX4 more importantly gives users the piece of mind that their data is safe with full access to a number of RAID configurations including RAID1, 10 and 5. The latter of these, RAID5 is what any preconfigured systems will be shipped with as this offers the best combination of space vs redundancy.

Whilst we have seen what WD’s Cloud systems have to offer, I will highlight over these again in this review, however I will be looking more closely at the additional features that the EX4 has to offer and how this system might just be one of the best choices for SOHO and SMB users. So without any more delay, let’s get unboxing this system and see what’s included.

To get things up and running, Western Digital include a CAT5e patch lead, AC power adaptor, quick setup guide and a warranty leaflet for reference

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Western Digital Extend My Cloud Lineup With EX4 4-Bay Solution

Western Digital have been hot topic within the storage world since the release of their innovative personal cloud storage drives. In a follow-up to the single drive offerings that are aimed primarily for the consumer market, Western Digital have now upped their game with a 4-bay NAS that gives all the Cloud capabilities of the single bay unit, but with some added extras.

The EX4, for those who recognise it, is somewhat similar to the Sentinel DX4000 NAS that we looked at earlier in the year, however external appearances are where the similarities end. On the inside of the EX4, a Marvell 88F6282 2GHz single core CPU is in control with the system capable of holding up to 16TB of raw storage through RAID0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD configurations as well as Western Digital’s own Flex-RAID allowing drives of different capacities to be installed and used together seamlessly.

Designed for the ‘Prosumer’, the EX4 is one of the worlds first 4-bay cloud NAS systems and whilst it offers up cloud capabilities, it still gives total flexibility to be used as a traditional local NAS device. On top of the standard My cloud features that are on offer on the single bay systems, the EX4 also includes 10 user licences for WD’s Smartware Pro software for automated computer backups as well as the ability to have a full system backup made to another remotely setup EX4, giving the total piece of mind that your data is secure. For SOHO and SMB users, Active Directory support is also included and an SDK for app developers is available from Western Digital’s website.

The EX4 is available now through a number of e-tailors and also the reseller channel with four options to choose from. The entry-level system will come with no drives giving the best user flexibility for £319, whilst 8TB, 12TB and 16TB models all kitted out with WD’s own Red drives are available for £670, £799 and £999 respectively.

Whilst this is the only multi-bay cloud solution that Western Digital are offering for now, they have noted that a 2-bay version – namely the EX2 will be available in the early part of next year.

Source: Press Event