WD My Cloud EX2100 Dual Bay 8TB NAS Review

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Software and Administration

Instead of shipping the My Cloud drive with an installation disc or having you download software from its website, all the administration for the drive is done through a web browser, just like with your wireless router. The interface allows you to examine settings, make changes, and administer users, shares, groups, and more. It's intuitive and easy to use. All you have to do to log into it is type "http://wdmycloudex2100" into your web browser to access it. Here's the main screen:

interface1
The main interface you see when logging into the drive.

Aside from showing you the free capacity of the drive and what types of files are taking up space, you can quickly check to see if the drive is healthy and what version of Firmware it is running. Tabs along the top take you to different administration areas so you can add or remove users, shares, devices, and more. The tabs on the bottom let you add cloud devices (tablets, smartphones), add users, and install apps. This was an area that was confusing to us, as clicking the arrow to expand Apps just gave us an empty pop-up window. How about some information on where or how to install them?

apps

Going back to the top of the interface, most of the actual administration of the drive will take place in the first tab, which is labeled Users. Here you can add users to the drive, add groups that contain multiple users, and control access to the drive's shares on a per-user basis. The administrator can choose whether or not the user can access files remotely by entering their email address. When logged in as a user they see the shares that are available to them, and can download and/or upload files according to their privileges.

Though we like how the Help area is prominently located front and center in each sub-category, we don't like how clicking any of the boxes opens up a pop-up window that can't be resized, and is about 25 percent too small. We're not sure why the info can't just open up in a separate browser tab, but it seems weird to have text not able to fit all the way across one row since the window is too small. Here's an example of a window that is way too small for the text it's trying to display:

help box2


Shares
By default the drive already has a public folder on it that includes sub-folders for music, movies, and pictures. Once we had it connected to our wireless router we were able to access the shared folders from any device on the network. It was literally the definition of Plug-and-Play. We were also able to easily map the location of the Public folder for quick access.

SHARES22

Controlling access to shares is quite simple too. When you are logged in as the administrator you can see a list of all the shares and what level of access a user has in the Users window. When you create a new share you can dictate whether or not it's Public, and if not who has access to it. It's all very slick and easy to figure out. This is what it looks like for a newly created user (the greyed out folders are "public" so they are available to anyone logged into the drive).
Tags:  Storage, NAS, RAID, Network, WD

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