WD packed the device in a big blue box with enough information about the product and a picture of My Cloud EX2 Ultra. The drive looks like a little CPU with WD branding and three LEDs at the front, one for power and other two to show disk status.
This WD NAS system is full of features, each and every feature that you can think of; it’s there. My Cloud comes with some apps pre-installed, and you can install more from the apps tab in the control center. If you ran out of slots in My Cloud EX2, then don’t you worry because it comes with two USB 3.0 high-speed ports to expand the storage. As I said before that the device is highly customizable, you can insert any internal SATA hard disk drives to the two slots provided.
WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra is very easy to setup; WD provides a one page manual inside the box to get it working.
Now you need to download the My Cloud Setup (available for both Windows and Mac OS) software to access the cloud and making changes.
Once the blinking LED on your My Cloud turns steady blue (it could take some time according to the capacity of the hard drive inserted), click Next.
It will ask you to add more users who are again optional unless you are setting My Cloud for your workplace.
Next page will congratulate you upon setting up your My Cloud and ask you if you need to install the WD My Cloud application on your PC.
The setup will place some useful shortcuts on your desktop which includes WD My Cloud Dashboard, which takes you straight to the WD control panel in the default browser.
My Cloud OS is the website which is saved inside the My Cloud to control it and change some settings.
The main page shows you the pie chart, which displays the amount of size each type of files is taking up. Cloud Access tab give you can see the users who have access to the cloud remotely, clicking on any user will show you more information and settings for that user. Backups will show you different type of backup system which you can set up for your WD My Cloud.
Storage tab comes with various storage options like RAID, disk status, ISCSI and volume information. Apps tab contains the applications settings which are already installed on it and allow you to install official and third party applications on your device as well. Settings tab lets you customize your WD My Cloud like device name, clock, network, media, utilities, notifications and firmware upgrade.
My Cloud OS is the best control panel for people who don’t know much about networking or NAS.
The LaCie CloudBox comes with desktop software to automatically back up files from your Mac, or you can simply point your Time Machine backups at this network drive. For an extra level of protection, the CloudBox can back up its contents to LaCie’s affiliated cloud storage service Wuala. As a consumer-focused NAS, the CloudBox is designed to be the hub of your multimedia library – acting as an iTunes or DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) server for streaming music and video around your home.
The CloudBox only features a single hard drive, so there’s no redundancy and everything is lost if that drive fails. Setting up the ReadyNAS RN104 was a snap using the browser-based configuration tool that is replacing the tired RAIDar application that previous Netgear NAS devices used. As well as providing basic storage, the RN104 can be extended through third-party apps that can be added easily using the configuration tool. A step up in performance and reliability, the WD My Cloud EX2 is designed more for work than play.
Western Digital is better known for its basic, fully-sealed NAS boxes, but the My Cloud EX2 has room for two removable drives. This NAS can even host Joomla, WordPress and other server apps, but you won’t find high-end third-party apps such as Plex Media Server. If you’re looking for basic consumer features then WD’s My Cloud EX2 is probably overkill, but if you’re running a home office or small business, it may be the one for you.
Thecus is making the transition from producing devices that appeal to geeks to the hardware for the masses. Once we loaded the N2560 with a pair of 4TB Seagate hard drives – there’s a simple, screwless system that uses plastic rails that fit into the drive’s screw holes – it took a while for the N2560 to initialise. The N2560 can be used for Time Machine backups and there’s an in-built iTunes server so you can access your music from Macs running iTunes. There are also two USB ports, one at the front and another at the back for connecting printers and USB storage devices. The Synology DS214play has room for two drives, which can run side-by-side or else combined in RAID0 or RAID1.


The DS214play is a step up in price and performance from the standard DS214 thanks to the dual-core Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor accompanied by 1GB of RAM. Unfortunately, there’s no official support for the Plex Media Server app, although there are workarounds to get it up and running. There’s support for remote access via a web browser and you’ll find a range of Synology DS apps in the iTunes store, which make it easy to access your multimedia and other files.
Synology’s DS214play is a high-end consumer NAS aimed at those who want to make the most of their multimedia library.
Right off the bat, Seagate’s entry in this lineup offers something we haven’t seen in any of the other NAS devices we’ve tested over the years. USM drives can be connected directly to your Mac using a cable as well, making them a great way to easily move files between your Mac and the NAS if you’re out of the office often.
Like other NAS units, the Business Storage 2-Bay NAS supports connection of USB devices – there’s a port on the front and another on the back – as well as two Ethernet interfaces. Mac users will be happy that there’s native support for Time Machine backups and streaming to computers running iTunes from the embedded media server. The ReadyNAS RN102 supports two drives, running them side-by-side or else combined in RAID0 or RAID1.
The RN102 packs the same Marvell Armada 370 1.2 GHz processor and 512MB of RAM as the WD My Cloud EX2, but the Netgear is skewed more towards high-end home users than business users.
Packed with features and a wide range of apps, Netgear’s ReadyNAS RN102 is one with the lot. The Western Digital EX4 is a serious storage device that offers plenty of capacity and flexibility without requiring an advanced degree to operate. I have the Synology DS214play and it is simplicity itself to set up, data transfer speeds are excellent and the whole system is fantastic. At the 2001 Macworld Expo in San Francisco, just before presenting iTunes to the world, Steve Jobs outlined Apple’s Digital Hub strategy.
Inside the box we got the device itself squeezed between two styrofoam pieces to protect the device from shocks. These apps will let you use your My Cloud in various ways; WordPress app to host private websites if you are a website designer. You can attach a flash drive or a portable hard disk to share the data to all in the network. It is easy to add new drives or remove a faulty one; you just need to push the press release button on top to lift up the top panel.
The drives are labeled so add the drives into the respective slots if you purchased it diskless and inserted your drives then make sure to align the drive properly with the connectors inside the slots.
On hardware part, you just need to turn it on with the power adapter and hook it up to the network using the LAN cable provided within the box. Email ID is optional and only needed if you want to access your My Cloud remotely from outside of your home (or workplace) over the internet.
Public share which opens up the file explorer to show the contents of the drive and the My Cloud desktop app to access the data on My Cloud drive remotely.
At the right side, you will see a small picture of the device with the status and the firmware version. It’s a handy option, but not the cheapest – starting at around $4.50 per month for only 20GB.
You’ll find a built-in BitTorrent client for downloading files, but the CloudBox can’t run third-party apps such as Plex Media Server. You can also create private folders for different users and set different sharing options for remote access. Our test unit shipped with two drives, but we added another two drives to expand capacity from 4TB to 8TB. We immediately enabled real-time virus protection and there were options for media servers, web servers, MySQL and PHP for creating your own intranet, HR information systems and lots of other options. There are also USB3 and eSATA ports, so you can connect and back up external drives to the ReadyNAS. As well as working with Netgear’s own Vault service, you can choose to sync a folder from the ReadyNAS to Dropbox. We transferred a 1.3GB file package, including files of different sizes and types, to the RN104 from our Mac over Gigabit Ethernet. You can run them as two separate drives or as one combined drive striped (RAID0) for improved speeds or mirrored (RAID1) to protect your files should one drive fail. For an extra level of protection, you can back up the NAS online to Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive or Amazon S3 account. There’s a download client, handling HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent, but you can also run Transmission, aMule and NZBGet for file-sharing.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know what’s happening as the documentation was unclear on how long the initial boot world take.


While some other reviews complain about the N2560’s plastic casing, its elegant, glossy white finish was a nice contrast to the usual black or grey industrial design most other NAS makers prefer. An extra feature we really liked was the integrated media player and HDMI port, so you can connect the N2560 directly to your TV for media viewing.
We transferred a 1.3GB package of files to the N2560 in just 34 seconds – that’s more than twice as fast as some of the other devices we tested.
It can act as an iTunes, Logitech, DLNA and internet radio server, plus it can stream music to AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth speakers. The USM (Universal Storage Module) is a way of connecting external hard drives directly into the NAS.
The two drives in our unit were configured as a single RAID1 volume so that, in the event one drive failed, our data would be safe. It’s no slouch in terms of performance, but if you’re expecting to transcode multiple 1080p video files then you may be better off with an Intel-powered NAS – with Netgear this means looking to the business-grade models.
Multimedia fans will be pleased that it can act as a DLNA, iTunes, Logitech, TwonkyMedia and Plex server for streaming around your home. There’s also a backup button, which can be programmed to copy files from external storage or from the NAS to a wide range of locations. In addition to the pair of Gigabit Ethernet connectors, it also supports connection to two power supplies. You can also use the EX4 for Time Machine backups and there are lots of extra apps you can add easily. The device is compact and light (without hard disk drives inserted), and you can purchase it diskless to add your hard drives. The whole device weighs approximately two kilograms (with two 4TB WD Red NAS hard disk drives inserted). Plex and iTunes app to use your My Cloud as a media server and to back up the precious data, it comes with Dropbox app and compatible with Time Machine recovery app. Keep it on a stable platform as it contain the hard disk drive, which is prone to damage from shocks.
Below them, you will see the live graph for live network activity, some devices which are accessing the NAS, shows the number of users added to the device and number of apps installed. It only sports a Marvell 1GHz processor with 256MB RAM, which is enough to satisfy your average home user, but may frustrate power users placing heavy demands on their NAS. Adding each extra disk took about 18 hours as the system needs to rebuild the RAID array – we were using RAID5 – which is about normal.
This required the creation of a backup job in the configuration tool, which was easy to do.
If you’re not keen on this, you can still use the My Cloud EX2 as a personal cloud drive, accessing it via WD’s cloud service, which includes browser access and the iOS app across the internet when you’re out and about. The two drives are hidden behind a small door and they can be easily extracted by pressing down on a small lever.
So, even though the two-bay NAS we tested was equipped with a pair of 4TB drives, we could easily add a third drive in the USM bay that’s hidden by a small flap. Thankfully, the main tasks you’ll need to carry out, such as creating users and shares, are made easily accessible as they are listed on the main dashboard.
The browser-based setup tool and two-line LCD display mean you always know what’s going on with the device. Our experience with storage gear is that the power supplies often fail before any other components so this is a good way to ensure business continuity and break reliance on a single point of failure. It can handle connection of two USB devices as well, although the placement of ports is a hassle as they are on the back of the device. Out of the box, the EX4 has a download manager that could be used to retrieve files over HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent. WD provides the support for Mac users also, so you don’t need any particular Windows device to set it up.
There are also file synchronisation services, so you can automatically sync folders from your computer directly to the ReadyNAS.
Add to this a range of business-focused server apps such as WordPress, SugarCRM and Joomla.
Each of the four drives has a small LED over its bay so you can instantly tell if there’s a problem with one of the drives.
Downloads could be programmed to only occur at specific times so that users can take advantage of off-peak download allowances if your ISP has that option.



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