back to article Do-it-yourself Dropbox: Western Digital's My Cloud 2TB NAS box

Western Digital’s My Book Live line has been around for three years now, but beyond the addition of a 3TB model to 2010’s 1TB and 2TB versions, WD hasn’t done a lot with it in the intervening period. Sure, we’ve had some regular firmware updates - not all of them meeting users’ approval, incidentally - but there’s clearly …

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  1. Popup

    There are lots of bad reviews...

    Incidentally I almost bought the old version earlier today, but I was dismayed by the sheer number of one-star reviews at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Personal-Cloud-Storage-Share-Photos/product-reviews/B0047FL85U/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0)

    Apparently /some/ people experience serious performance problems.

    Another question:

    - Does it support rsync protocol out-of-the-box?

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: There are lots of bad reviews...

      Yeah, I saw those, but reading some of them I get the feeling that many of them were written by the "Instructions? We don't need no stinkin' instructions" crowd. All the higher reviews seemed more...erudite and knowledgable.

      Of course, that could mean they have spent all night using mad NAS skliz to get the things working.

  2. Tom 35 Silver badge

    WD’s servers use to establish a connection from one to the other

    So you need WD servers to be up to connect to your stuff, and it sounds like it's no more secure then dropbox is to the snoops.

    If I want to create my own dropbox I think it would be better to deal with DNS and IP address.

    I also hate the snaplock with a hidden screw plastic boxes WD likes to use.

    1. Steve Graham

      Re: WD’s servers use to establish a connection from one to the other

      How are the NSA going to know what you're doing if you don't route your connections through WD's servers? The survival of democracy depends on it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My QNAP box is a year old, has 2 TB of storage and does a whole lot more for the same money. FTP, HTTP, email, security camera controls, etc. Plus RAID 1.

    This device looks good, but falls short of the competition.

    (Am not a QNAP employee, affiliate or consultant. Just a happy end user.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what model and where from? need a new device and qnap seem a lot more expensive than the WD equivalent. Had a WD before, don't want another.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I must say that yes, the NAS options other than WD are more expensive.

        But for this circumstance, "You get what you pay for" is an old truism.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 14:46

      Also do not forget what many ex-WD owners will complain about: reliability. Regretfully WD external drives have long term reliability issues and, as usual, it will come back to bite you at just the right moment (read: when you usually depend upon it the most). IMHO do not trust a single-drive WD product, only their RAID boxes are even worthy of consideration.

      QNAP makes a great product, as well as Synology. I was looking at those but went with LaCie's 2Big NAS and am one absolutely ecstatic customer: 4TB, FTP, SFTP, HTTP, Time Machine, RSync, BitTorrent, DNLA, RAID1 etc etc etc plus full Wuala integration, enabling access via website, private direct DNS link sharing, Android and iPhone. I think what I most love about the box is that it is passively cooled; it is sitting just below my television, eye-visible (as it is so pretty anyway), and I don't think I've *ever* heard any [auxiliary] fan noise .

      My WD device dying turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to get some great kit.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Single HD !

    Don't think so, needs to be RAID if I'm trusting it. Don't waste your money and get a proper NAS like a Synology.

    1. Kraggy
      FAIL

      Re: Single HD !

      Because this device is in the same league as a Synology box.

      Chalk and cheese comparisons are rarely useful.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Single HD !

      They do a RAID 1 version (My Book Live Duo, or whatever the My Cloud equivalent is called or will be called). Haven't had any problems with mine although that said I've not tested the cloudy stuff. In fact you can disable the cloudy stuff, which is what I did.

      Now I've said that it'll probably explode as soon as I hit submit.

  5. moiety

    Seems like all the pain in the arse of just using USB drives with the insecurity of being open to the web. And no RAID. I honestly can't think of a valid reason that anone would buy this as opposed to -say- a full-fat NAS box or just going with Dropbox or equivalent.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One word describes the old model: SLOW!

  8. Alex Walsh

    What sort of actual HDD is in these? Red or Green?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      I have a couple of old ones with Green drives, but they hadn't invented Red drives at that point.

    2. happyBoy

      My 3TB WD MyBook has a Red drive.

      For some reason, after I reset the drive once - I can no longer get the Wd2Go app on my Ipad to work - just wont validate the activation code :( apart from that the only gripe I have is that Apple Time Machine backup seem to get corrupted or something every 2 months (some message from the Mac book about needing to do a fresh backup for improved reliability...).

      Works well enough for streaming etc. within the house though.

  9. Andy Watt

    Or...

    Just buy an old ReadyNAS Duo (and get the security of RAID into the bargain), set up a Pi as a VPN server... was streaming music from the NAS in the house to the south of spain 3 weeks ago, by the pool. Unlimited HSPA, and fast, too.

    1. Homer 1 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Or...

      Or just get any PC, any HDD and use any transfer protocol, directed using a free service like DynDNS and port forwarding on your router.

      One ultra-cheap example would be a Raspberry Pi running OwnCloud, which has the added benefit of not only supporting file storage, but also acts as a rudimentary media server, as well as a CalDAV and CardDav server (calendar, contacts and tasks) - Android client included. Adding services like E-mail, BitTorrent and so on is also fairly straightforward.

      For a bit more money you could use a self-built Mini-ITX system with RAID instead, but really for the purposes of phoning home over the Internet, with its typically slow uplink speeds, the cheap option is probably good enough, as the slow uplink will be the weakest link anyway, even for vDSL customers (448Kb/s -> 20Mb/s, compared to 1000Mb/s over the LAN).

  10. The_Idiot

    Oh dear. Oh, um... dear.

    So now we have WD's 'My Cloud'

    And for some time we've had 'mycloud':

    http://mycloud.sourceforge.net/

    And we have 'MyCloud':

    http://www.techinstyle.tv/20112113763/uncategorized/what-is-mycloud/

    And 'MyCloud':

    http://www.mycloud.net.my/

    and (for a total lack of variety), er... 'mycloud':

    https://o2tech.com.au/mycloud/

    Can we stop now? Please? I mean, like, really, really please?

    1. Homer 1 Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Oh dear. Oh, um... dear.

      Don't forget OwnCloud.

      1. James 36

        Re: Oh dear. Oh, um... dear.

        so there is still space for

        ownmycloud

        myowncloud

        powncloud

        clowncrowd

        ....no need to push, its the one with the bad week in the pocket

    2. Haku
      Coat

      Re: Oh dear. Oh, um... dear.

      So many? But I thought there can be only one?

      Ah, sorry, was thinking of MacLeod...

  11. usbac

    Old version not slow

    I have one of the WD MyBook Live NAS drives (3TB), and I don't find it slow at all. I work with enterprise class servers and NAS/SAN for my day job, so I have a good idea what real performance is.

    I run mine at home for media storage. I always have at least one backup of everything that's on the WD NAS. For the price I couldn't beat it (got it on sale for less than $150). I thought about building a FreeNAS device from a hand-me-down server, but I don't want the noise and the power consumption. The WD NAS uses less than 30 watts.

    I think most of the speed problems you read about in the reviews come from poorly set up networks. Someone using their $30 wi-fi router as their network switch isn't going to have the best network performance. I run a managed gigabit switch, and find no problems with performance (for what it is - it's not an EMC!).

  12. Efros

    ♫ Get off My Cloud ♫

    These things are truly awful, the whole My.... range is bedeviled with problems. I had a My Net Central for about 5 months, it died completely as far as the wireless and routing side of it was concerned and then had to be gutted to get at the hard drive that had required material on it. $199 for five months is not a good deal. Most of the remainder stores have been selling these off with massive discounts. If this thing is using any of the hardware that was in WDs previous boxes then I'd steer well clear of it!

  13. Goldmember

    So...

    ... WD have finally started to offer what Synology have done for years.

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Thanks for the tip. New WD Cloudyness on the way as I type.

    If it's naff there'll be hell to pay.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaand order cancelled when I got home and discovered that although I have Amazon Prime and although the link provided led to a unit offered via that service, that "two day mail" did not mean "arriving in two days" (that is in the TOS if you read it properly and I knew of the weasel words long before) but "fulfillment sometime next month at which point it will be delivered in two days". The earliest delivery date was November 4th and there was a two week leeway after *that*.

      So I decided to wait. Lost sale.

  15. Christian Berger Silver badge

    There is one thing you should never do to a harddisk

    And that is putting into a vertical box which can easily tip over. Tipping over it the worst you can do since that can seriously damage the spindle. Without the spindle in tact getting data of your disk will be a _lot_ more expensive.

    1. happyBoy

      Re: There is one thing you should never do to a harddisk

      probably obvious - but nothing prevents you from laying the drive on its side you know :)

  16. Herby Silver badge

    Does it do Linux??

    From what I read on the WD site, the data is stored on the drive formatted as NTFS. All fine and good, but it might be nice to have it formatted as EXT4 (probably better, please argue elsewhere). I'm sure that is OK, but if you have FTP access (among other things) and the processor is a nice ARM chip, maybe it is easier to get a Raspberry Pi and use one of its USB ports to attach a drive, and be done with it.

    Of course, if they DO run Linux, one could always fiddle with the source and get it fixed properly! (now where is the serial port?? Probably on 3 pins inside the box.).

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Does it do Linux??

      Processor is a MIPS. It's formatted as ext4. Firmware is Debian based. Source code is online. You can hack it.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Does it do Linux??

        Actually it's a Power PC.

        Icon for me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it do Linux??

      The PI has usb and network on the same bus, so makes for a bit of a shit nas unfortunately.

  17. frank ly Silver badge

    I'm a cheapskate

    I got an old NSLU2 on e-bay for 15 pounds, plugged a 16GB USB stick into it, connected it to my router then set up an FTP user account on it. I use an FTP transfer app on my Android phone to send batches of photos home, or use Filezilla on a PC for anything else. It's all solid state and has been working continuously for 4 years now. Apart from one glitch when Virgin Media fell over then gave me a new IP address when they recovered, it's been perfect for my needs.

    There may be some people out there who really need remote access to a TB or more of storage, but I can't imagine there are many.

  18. batfastad

    Check this out

    Here's a kickstarter thing I saw a while back, looks like they've busted through their target! It's a small gadget formerly called plug, now lima, that attaches between an external HDD and your router.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cloud-guys/plug-the-brain-of-your-devices

    Just thought it might be of interest to someone looking at this.

    1. marhor

      Re: Check this out

      That campaign is amazing - they wanted 70k and got 1,2 Million instead. Looks like a neat device in any case. The only open question is how secure the whole thing is...

  19. PLAzmA

    OwnCloud

    Why bother, when you can rock an OwnCloud server... http://owncloud.org/ (which has android and apple support as well as desktop support).

    One Low Power Atom Board or Opteron X-Series Board, Check

    One case with lots of drive bays and proper drive cooling, Check

    As many sata ports as you can shoe in, be it pci,pcie,minipcie, Check

    One penguin base distribution, Check

    Off you go :)

    That said, rsync works just fine for most things.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Clive Galway
    WTF?

    How is this, in any way, shape or form, a "Cloud"?

    If there is only one of them, it is not a Cloud.

    It's just an FTP server for god's sake.

    1. Spiracle

      True. If the answer to the question "Where are your files?" is "They're all in that white box over there", it's not really cloud storage.

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