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WD My Cloud Mirror review: Your private cloud, now with built-in redundancy

Michael Brown | July 17, 2014
I liked Western Digital's My Cloud network-attached storage device when I reviewed it late last year, but relying on a single-drive NAS can be risky. If that drive fails, and you don't have a backup, you could lose all your data--forever.

Western Digital populates the My Cloud Mirror with its own WD Red drives, which are designed for 24/7 operation. The balance of the box's hardware features tilt toward consumer more than SMB. Unlike the more robust My Cloud EX series, this box has just one gigabit Ethernet interface and one power connector, so there's no failover protection on either count.

Consumers will appreciate the My Cloud Mirror's simple graphical user interface, which makes this machine very easy to set up. It comes from the factory with both iTunes and DLNA media servers for streaming media to PCs, smart TVs, mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), and media-streaming boxes in your home. WD provides free basic backup software (WD SmartWare) for your client PCs, and the box supports Apple's Time Machine technology for backing up Macs. Upgrading to SmartWare Pro ($20 per license) adds the ability to back up to non-WD drives and to Dropbox.

WD publishes a number of Android and iOS apps that will help you derive maximum benefit from the My Cloud Mirror. The WD Photos photo viewer is designed to replace your online photo service. You can store all your photos on the My Cloud Mirror and display them on your smartphone or tablet without needing to download the images to your device. You can do the same with your music and videos, although your media-streaming experience will vary depending on your network connection (you'll have the best experience when the NAS box and your device are connected to the same network, versus streaming over the Internet).

Performance

As we saw with WD's original My Cloud and its prosumer-oriented My Cloud EX2, the My Cloud Mirror is no barn-burner when it comes to performance. It wasn't terrible at dealing with very large files (we test read and write performance with a single 10GB file), but it was considerably slower reading and writing our 10GB collection of files. And that will likely be the more common real-world usage scenario.

If you think you'd benefit from the additional features that the prosumer-oriented My Cloud EX2 has to offer (dual Ethernet, dual power-supply inputs, and 10 licenses for WD's SmartWare Pro), that box is street-priced just $18 higher than the My Cloud Mirror. The SmartWare Pro licenses are probably worth it if you have enough Dropbox capacity to take advantage of that feature, but few consumers will. I imagine even fewer will be able to take advantage of the EX2's additional hardware features.

The original My Cloud is a very good — if a bit slow — consumer-oriented NAS box, and the My Cloud Mirror adds a valuable feature in RAID 1. If you use your NAS to store critical files, this is a solid buy.

 

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