|Hard Drive||10 TB External|
WD 10TB My Cloud EX2 Network Attached Storage - NAS - WDBVKW0100JCH-NESN
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- Two-bay tray less enclosure design
- Multiple drive management options, including RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD and spanning
- Multiple data protection options, including RAID 1, USB, cloud or LAN/WAN backup
- Includes WD Smart Ware Pro for PC users and is Apple Time Machine compatible for Mac users
- Twonky 7.2 DLNA 1.5 & UPnP certified media server
- iTunes support
- Anywhere access from computers, tablets and smartphones with My Cloud desktop and mobile apps
- Advanced software suite including FTP and P2P torrent servers, WordPress, Transmission and many others
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Designed from the ground up with the quality and reliability you've come to expect from WD and backed by a two-year warranty, My Cloud EX2 is a high-performance, two-bay NAS for your home or small office. Save all your content in one place and protect your data with RAID 1, cloud or LAN/WAN backup options. Stream large files to any screen and expand your NAS features with a full suite of apps.
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1. This WD My Cloud EX2 4TB
2. Synology DiskStation 2-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage (DS213j)
3. NETGEAR ReadyNAS 100 Series 102 4TB (2 x 2TB) 2-Bay Network Attached Storage (RN10222D-100NAS)
4. Buffalo LinkStation 420 4 TB 2-Drive 2 x 2 TB High Performance NAS Personal Cloud Storage and Media Server (LS420D0402)
The Western Digital My Cloud EX 2 I was shipped sports a pair of WD Red NAS drives. TheNetgear ReadyNAS came with a pair of Toshiba DT01ACA100 drives - 7,200 RPM drives Toshiba touts as being engineered for high performance and low power for cooler operation. I installed in my Synology Diskstation DS-213j two Seagate NAS drives (ST3000VN000). My Buffalo LinkStation also shipped with a pair of TOSHIBA DT01ACA100 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s Drives. As for price, the WD, Netgear and Synology are within a few bucks of each other if you buy them diskless. The Buffalo is by far the cheapest - as it should be.
As for processors and memory, they all have 1.2 GHz processors and 512 MB DDR3 RAM. They use different chip manufacturers (ARM, Marvel etc.) but for home use I did not notice any significant speed differences that would make me want to choose one over the other.
In all other hardware aspects Netgear leads the pack. The ReadyNAS sports two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 followed by WD's two USB 3.0, Synology's two USB 2.0, and Buffalo's one USB 2.0. ReadyNAS has an eSATA expansion port and the rest do not. ReadyNAS has quick tool-less disk access and a metal enclosure. All of the competition has plastic enclosures with tool-less access except Synology - to get to the Synology drives you need a screw driver to open the housing. They are all hot swappable except for Synology.
All of the units have active fan cooling. WD cools mostly by convection through numerous vents in the top and bottom and a very small (maybe 1") fan in the bottom front where there are no vents to pull in cool air. My concern here is twofold. First, and most obvious, is about overheating in a warm environment (like my home A/V closet). The second is what a great dust collector this will be. They me be non-issues but time will tell.
In the area of quiet operation, WD is the hands down winner. The only way I can tell if it is running is if I touch it for heat or to feel the drives run. All of the others put out some resonating vibration that lets them be known when operating on a nearby desktop.
WD and Synology tie the software arena for user interface and ease of management. While all use a web browser for management on the LAN, the Synology has an intuitive desktop theme while the WD web interface is very slick and responsive and easy to navigate as well. But theme aside, Synology is just plain easier to use. For instance, to access a movie/song/photo via my phone from the DiskStation I just installed the media server package on the NAS and the free apps on my phone. On WD everything is on the cloud other that pictures (which has its own app). That means a few more folders and navigation but not a huge deal. On ReadyNAS the same task requires installing Plex media server, creating a Plex account, buying the Plex app and managing more passwords.
If versatility is what you are looking for, look to Synology for the most packages (applications) and Buffalo for the least. WD and ReadyNAS fall in between. So make sure to check the add-ons (all free) before you buy if you want a web server, media server, wiki data base etc. ReadyNAS is the only one to use Plex If you are a fan of that particular media server.
For power savings, WD automatically spins down the drives after a set time but does not automatically hibernate for the best power savings. I still can't figure out how to hibernate and wake up the ReadyNAS other than pushing the buttons on the front of the unit - so I haven't been able to take advantage of any power saving mode. Synology hibernation settings are quick and effective. WD and Synology can be shut down through the web interface. I don't see those options on the ReadyNAS or Buffalo - to power down you need physical access to the device. Managing user permissions is much more straight forward on the WD and the Synology.
As for remote access, all the NAS devoces required punching some holes in my firewall for media access away from home using their respective android apps. WD My Cloud internet access, touted for access everywhere, has failed on me twice in the first week. Enough to make me not want to bother using it. Netgear's ReadyCloud Internet access was quick and painless to setup without any router changes. ReadyCloud also allows remote file access and other management of the ReadyNAS via accessing Netgear's cloud website. Synology can be accessed via the web but you're connecting directly to the Diskstation (via an IP address or DNS service and opening a port on the router).
In the Android App arena WD has apps for accessing the cloud and photos. Synology uses a different app for files, video, photos and audio. ReadyNAS uses the Plex app for videos, photos and audio - which Plex charges you for. WD and Synology's apps are all free. They are all easy to install and use.
AND THE WINNER IS:
If you are mainly interested in file sharing on a home or business network, your interactions with the interface of the NAS will likely be minimal and all of these NAS handle such a tack effortlessly. They all offer file synchronization, fast access, backups and easy accessibility through Windows Explorer or a DLNA compliant device. You can drag and drop files from both wired and wireless devices on the LAN, and watch movie files and listen to mp3 files with any nearly any device that is DLNA compliant or that you can install an app on.
Other than that, the winners by category:
Quite and unobtrusive: Western Digital My Cloud followed by Synology Diskstation
Best Hardware: Netgear ReadyNAS followed by a tie with WD and Synology
Best Interface: Tie with WD any Synology
Best Apps: Synology
Price: Buffalo Linkstation
UPDATE 07/2014: I switched my ISP from AT&T to Comcast and was able to use WD My Cloud as it was intended for remote access over the Internet- without any port forwarding on the new router. I would also note that the WD NAS is now faster and more efficient at streaming content over the Internet than the Netgear device. It is competitive with the Synology for that purpose.
The operating system presents a very clean UI. Everything is well organized and I took no issue with getting setup and starting to use the unit. My biggest issue was that despite disabling the media server the unit was constantly running a wd photo manager process that would just chew away at the CPU. For 48 hours the unit's drives were constantly clicking away. This is a huge concern to me, because any spinnie drive will wear out faster this way and that's definitely NOT what you want. I had full expectation of using the spin-down functionality, which is essentially worthless when the unit is running a process like this constantly.
Another process related issue I ran into involve cloud access. This also runs a very CPU intensive process that caused my unit to be constantly working and making noise. I ended up disabling the cloud access altogether. Truthfully I don't need the cloud access for what I am doing, but I will say this - compared to the cloud based solutions that other competitors are doing (ie. Synology) WD has done their cloud implementation right. The app is well thought through, very usable, updated regularly and most importantly it allows for selective syncing to your mobile devices. The actual Mac implementation leaves something to be desired, because it's not a sync solution in the vein of Dropbox, but I am less worried about this since I can map the network drive to my machine and use it like that. I would prefer a more purist sync solution that kept local copies on the mac, but it is what it is. The problem with all of this though is how much CPU the cloud process uses and how active my drives were when doing absolutely nothing.
Ultimately I turned off cloud access, the media server and then ssh'ed into the unit to disable these services. You'll find a lot of noise on the WD forums about the process issues. I hope that WD will listen and address these things in future firmware editions. I am using this primarily as a TimeMachine backup at the moment, which it does a fantastic job of. If you're looking for more a media server this is NOT the unit for you. If you want an inexpensive backup device (meaning don't use it for day to day operation) than I think you'll be please with this unit.