Last year TechCrunch estimated there would be 500 million cloud storage users by the end of the year and 625 million in 2013. The cloud has become a preferred storage medium, especially in light of the increase in mobile devices. Well-known storage manufacturer, Western Digital, has just released a hybrid type of storage: a cloud that sits on your desk.
A Cloud You Can Touch
The WD My Cloud is really a network-attached storage (NAS) device accessible on the network, Mashable says. It’s a type of cloud storage physically located in your home or office.
The actual hard drive comes in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB versions. It has a small footprint, so it will fit on a desk without taking up much room. It has an Ethernet connection to hook into your home or small business network. With just this set-up, you have access to a fast storage device on your network. Like any other network device, you can configure who has access to use the device.
During the set-up, you’ll be asked to configure the My Cloud software. This is what enables you to access your files from anywhere on the Internet. Set-up will ask for an email address to which a link will be sent for authentication. Once authenticated, another link will be sent, which you’ll use to access your cloud drive.
The My Cloud software runs on a dual-core processor for high performance. Combine that with a high-speed Internet connection out of your home from a service such as http://www.centurylinkdeals.com/high-speed-internet.html, and you’ll have fast access to all of your files on the WD drive at home on your desk. You can have files on your WD drive and in Dropbox, and your applications won’t know the difference.
The Differences in Cloud Storage
An NBC News Technology review of the WD My Cloud expects the market to be those consumers who have terabytes of storage needs. The cloud-based storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive are good for a few gigabytes of storage. But for large streaming video or music files, that won’t do. In fact, Mashable estimates the average user consumption of storage may exceed 3TB by 2016.
With services such as Dropbox, your data resides on their servers for which they are responsible. A typical personal account will store less than 100GB of space. More storage is available with paid subscriptions. For example, 500GB will run you $50 per month.
With the WD My Cloud, your files are stored on the physical drive you maintain. You’ll buy the size of drive you want — like $149 for the 2 TB drive — and that’s all you’ll ever pay. There are no monthly fees for having access to your files on the Internet.
The cloud vendors do offer extra applications and services not available with the My Cloud. Most cloud services have backup and recovery applications to do automated backup of files from different computers. Some services have office automation tools you can use to edit and view your files. Some have FTP capability. A review of My Cloud in PC Magazine says there isn’t much you can do directly from the My Cloud interface, but you have many options using a browser when accessing your files.
Your mobile device apps that connect with cloud services such as Dropbox or Box won’t be able to make the same connection with My Cloud until third parties create their own interfaces. Because WD is an Apple partner, it is restricted as to what it can and can’t do in the way of apps. For instance, saving photos automatically from your iPhone to My Cloud won’t work, as it does with Dropbox.