WD My Cloud EX2 Personal Cloud Server Review


Measuring performance on a device such as the My Cloud EX2 that communicates over an Internet connection is a bit dicey. And because the EX2 operates over a network instead of a local storage interface, we aren’t able to run our normal spate of benchmarks.

However, we want to give you a sense of how My Cloud performs, so we conducted timed file transfer tests and also used versions of ATTO and CrystalDiskMark that can run on mapped network drives.

Timed File Transfers
Sending files

For comparison purposes, we clocked several file transfers of different sizes from an external hard drive to our test PC, and then we repeated the process by moving those same files from the PC to the My Cloud and recorded the time each one took. Thus, we got a sense of how transfer times of local storage via a USB 3.0 interface compared to those of the My Cloud EX2 from a PC.

WD My Cloud (Original)

WD My Cloud EX2

Here we're looking at how the original My Cloud (top) performed compared to the new My Cloud EX2 (bottom). Just like the original, as file sizes increase, so does the percentage of the gap between how long it takes the PC to transfer data to the My Cloud EX2 versus an external HDD to a PC. What is perhaps a bit odd, though, is that the My Cloud EX2 takes longer to perform the transfers that the original My Cloud. This likely has to do with the fact that the EX2 was configured in RAID 1 and there is a bit more latency with respect to mirroring and parity checks in this configuration, versus a single drive setup.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
More information here: http://bit.ly/btuV6w

ATTO is a "quick and dirty" type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. We chose .5kb through 8192kb transfer sizes and a queue depth of 6 over a total max volume length of 256MB. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc.

WD My Cloud (original)

My Cloud EX2

First of all, look at the above charts carefully to see that the MB/sec numbers along the bottom are different, and thus the graphs are different unless you focus on the numbers. But when you do, you'll see that the EX2 blew away the original My Cloud. The former delivered over 70MBps write and 105MBps read while the latter managed 49MBps and 74 MBps, respectively.

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks
Synthetic File Transfer Tests

CrystalDiskMark is a synthetic benchmark that tests both sequential and random small and mid-sized file transfers. It provides a quick look at best and worst case scenarios with regard to drive performance, best case being larger sequential transfers and worse case being small, random transfers.

WD My Cloud (original)

WD My Cloud EX2

In CrystalDiskMark, you can see that the My Cloud and the EX2 posted quite similar write scores, while the latter delivered a far more impressive read score.

Performance Note: In addition to the raw numbers above, we felt it appropriate to mention some anecdotal performance information. We installed the WD My Cloud mobile app on a Samsung Galaxy S2 and opened different file types to see what it’s like to try and handle files in real-life situations. We found that smaller files, such as PDFs, opened in seconds, and MP3s will launch and play in the My Cloud app’s built-in music player with surprisingly little lag, as well. Larger photos took much longer to open, and if you want to watch videos, well, you probably should be on a WiFi connection. On a newer-model Nokia Lumia device, we found performance to be essentially the same, and note that you have to have a third-party viewer or player for most file types.

Thus, on mobile devices, the convenience of being able to access certain files is limited, but you’ll still be able to pull up that one photo you wanted to show someone or play a friend a few tracks of your favorite album. And of course, you’ll thank your lucky stars that you have everything stashed on My Cloud that one time you have to retrieve that incredibly important file right before some big presentation.

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