American technology brand Western Digital (WD) has launched its 2015 range of small business and SOHO network accessible storage (NAS) and personal cloud devices.
NAS devices are essentially hard disk drives that connect to a user’s router to become part of their home or business network. The stored data can then be accessed from any device connected to the network, either via wires or wirelessly. The personal cloud component means users can access data remotely, through web, desktop and mobile apps. Logins and passwords can be created to ensure that only approved parties can access the data on the NASes.
WD has divided its new releases into two ranges: the My Cloud Expert Series and the My Cloud Business Series. Jim Welsh, executive vice president for WD’s content solutions business and worldwide sales, explained the differences.
“The My Cloud Expert Series includes My Cloud EX2100 (2-bay) and My Cloud EX4100 (4-bay) high-performance NAS systems designed from the ground up for creative professionals and prosumers that need to reliably save, share, back up, stream and manage large amounts of digital data,” Welsh told me.
“The new My Cloud Business Series includes My Cloud DL2100 (2-bay) and My Cloud DL4100 (4-bay) high-performance NAS systems built to provide the reliability, security and scalability small business customers need.”
The term ‘bay’ refers to how many slots there are within the NAS to hold hard disk drives. With both the My Cloud Business Series and My Cloud Expert Series avaialble in 2- and 4-bay options, there are four distinct options for customers, before even factoring the size of each drive. Customers can choose included storage starting as 0TB (meaning the bays are empty and user bring their own memory) up to a whopping 24TB.
Here is WD’s pricing table:
My Cloud Expert Series EX2100 (2-bay)
0TB — RRP $449
4TB — RRP $799
8TB — RRP $1,049
12TB — RRP $1,349
My Cloud Expert Series EX4100 (4-bay)
0TB — RRP $749
8TB — RRP $1,399
16TB — RRP $1,949
24TB — RRP $2,699
My Cloud Business Series DL2100 (2-bay)
0TB — RRP $649
4TB — RRP $949
8TB — RRP $1,199
12TB — RRP $1,599
My Cloud Business Series DL4100 (4-bay)
0TB — RRP $999
8TB — RRP $1,599
16TB — RRP $2,199
24TB — RRP $2,849
Simon Whitford, senior regional marketing manager for Asia Pacific, told me that the Expert series is targeted at prosumers that like to access their data across multiple devices and/or want to stream media content. Another target is the so-called Creative Professional, such as a photographer, videographer or media creative. These users often need quick, reliable and secure access to files wherever they are in the world, such as with a client, on location or simply in the office.
As the name suggests, the My Cloud Business Series is intended for small business and home offices envoirments, those that want to be able to share important files among a tightknit group of employees, including those that travel for work and need constant access to important files.
On a individualistic note, I have been using WD’s My Cloud EX2 Personal Cloud NAS drive and applications for the past six months. WD markets this product at you bog-standard consumer, rather than prosumers or businesses, and, as such it is somewhat cheaper and with fewer business-grade specifications. Regardless, it has absolutely revolutionised how I consume content. Since transferring all my video and music files over to the NAS, I have been able to access and play back this content on my several PCs and Macs, on my iPhone and iPad and through my Sonos. No matter where I am in the world, I can watch videos and play music stored in my home, rather than on my device, provided I have internet connection. Furthermore, I created a login and password for a friend living in Mexico City so that I can share files with him; suffice to say he is quite grateful to have access to such a deep and broad catalogue of media files for free at the touch of button.
On a related note, current users might also be interested to read that sources with knowledge of WD’s operations told me that the mobile application used to access WD’s personal cloud on smartphones and tablets will be refreshed in June 2015.