Published on October 8th, 2017 | by Greg0
My Cloud Home: Storage Made (Too?) Simple
It’s a whole new world of hard drives- today’s doesn’t even offer a traditional power button, doesn’t connect to your computer at all, but isn’t really a true network-attached storage system either. There’s a USB port- but simply for connecting other USB thumb drives. For those with a lot of data, folks who edit video or music or graphics, there are lots of options with direct, high-speed connectivity. And serious enthusiasts probably want a true NAS, which can serve as a multi-function server. But if you are used to the convenience of the cloud and primarily want to back up media from phones and laptops more securely than relying on off-site services, then we’ve got an interesting new option.
The My Cloud Home is the latest in WD’s long line of consumer-focused external network hard drives, and it’s available in a really wide range of sizes- as well as a somewhat-unusual dual drive version that can build in redundancy (in the form a perfect copy of your data in case of a drive failure, called RAID). We’ve been testing the four terabyte single-drive variety, which we set up on our office network which also hosts about a half-dozen PC desktops and OSX laptops along with a wide range of Android and iOS smartphones. You’ll need to create an account to make use of My Cloud Home, and then you’ll be able to access everything on the drive even when you aren’t at home or work, creating your own personal cloud service. And it couldn’t be easier to use, compared with other often-cryptic backup systems.
Unlike most of the competition, no computer is needed, making this a truly mobile-first platform. But that means that some of the typical backup software and normal NAS functions you might be familiar with won’t always work- it’s all about the apps (even on the desktop), though this one is Time Machine compatible. We liked that no monthly fee is required, and that much of the focus is squarely on photo management, making it easy to handle libraries and make sure your phone’s pictures are backed up. But there was a flip side- we didn’t seem able to back up other documents from our phones, and music files (like those in your iTunes library) are largely unaddressed. As mentioned earlier, there’s no power button, since it’s intended to be always-on, but that means no big LED distracting you at night. And the case is sleek, a little more classy than the previous models.
It’s not as fast or as quite as an solid state drive (SSD) option, and the My Cloud Home definitely isn’t meant for those with a single computer that they want to backup from. This one is built for family-proof simplicity, designed for those who want the easiest possible way to ensure they’ll never need to worry about their phone’s image collection again. Capacities range from 2TB all the way up to dual-drive 16TB, and at press time they are exclusively available from Best Buy with wider availability expected in the near future. Prices are quite reasonable- not much different than a normal desktop drive- around $199 for the 4TB My Cloud Home.