When it comes to digital storage, cloud is the latest innovation. We hear about new services almost every month, but not too many can rival with the big players in the industry such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive or others. A few days ago we’ve talked about Younited, F-Secure’s upcoming cloud storage that wants to unite all your cloud storage accounts and also provide complete privacy or your data, away from NSA’s prying eyes.
But I always wondered why traditional, physical storage companies like Seagate, Corsair or Western Digital don’t come up with a similar service. After all, physical storage is not yet dead and the best way to keep your clients with you is by offering what they want and what they saw somewhere else. Western Digital is among the first to break the ice with the MyCloud product which, just as the name suggests, is a cloud of your own.
Your PC becomes a personal Dropbox with MyCloud
What’s really terrific about this is that you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription, which is the default model for most cloud storage services. There’s just a one-off price that you pay and that’s it. The MyCloud comes with three different capacities and prices:
- MyCloud 2 terrabytes – $150
- MyCloud 3 terrabytes – $180
- MyCloud 4 terrabytes – $250
Most of us already have hundreds of GB of data, filled with pictures and movies and according to research firm Gartner, the average US household will own approximately 3.3 TB of digital content by the next four years. Western Digital’s MyCloud home servers aren’t only much cheaper, but they are also safer. There’s a big difference between storing sensitive data on Dropbox’s servers and your own which could be secretly locked up somewhere in your garage or basement. And with all this NSA talk, I think this product was launched at the perfect time after ongoing works for an entire year.
As expected, there are apps (iOS/Android) for smartphones, tablets and computers so that you could access your storage from anywhere you want, provided you have an Internet connection. You can also upload photos and videos directly to MyCloud using the apps. Even more, the apps are integrated with Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive so that you could transfer files between the services. Fast gigabit ethernet access and USB 3 is also present for an increased speed. If you want, you can add extra USB storage and WD said there’s no limit on the number of drives you can attach via the USB port.
But MyCloud has some other features beyond storage. You can use it to tream content to any DLNA-certified device, so it becomes an entertainment hub, as well. You can also back-you your PC using My Cloud as it comes with Western Digitals’s own built-in back-up solution – WD SmartWare (for Windows). Mac users can resort to Apple’s Time Machine utility, since My Cloud is compatible with the service. To ensure security is also taken care of, My Cloud uses a 128-bit AES encryption algorithm while the files are being transited.
Jim Welsh, executive vice president and general manager of WD’s branded products and consumer electronics groups, said:
We believe that there’s no place like home for the cloud. Everyone is inundated with thousands of digital files scattered across multiple computers and mobile devices, and controlling that chaos is a challenge. WD’s personal cloud is the easiest, most secure and most affordable way for customers to control that chaos, with access to all of their files anywhere, anytime.
Liz Conner, Senior Research Analyst at Storage Systems, IDC wanted to highlight how useful this device will prove to be for families:
Families are connecting, sharing, syncing, and backing-up numerous mobile devices and computers in their household, with the amount of digital data being created on these devices growing dramatically. Personal cloud is an ideal solution to simplify the complex issue of organizing digital files across various devices so that users can enjoy their digital videos, photos and music on all of their devices.
I don’t know about you, but this is the first product that really interests me from the “cloud” industry. Like myself, many always wonder what is the best solution for storing music, movies and pictures. MyCloud can be that solution. Yes, it’s not a new concept as such. We have had NAS (Network attached storage) connected hard-drives for years, but MyCloud makes it really easy to setup and get going. Sure, you can’t blindly rely on WD’s MyCloud, as appealing as it might seem, you still need to have an offsite copy of important stored files, in case it fails. But, still, this products seems to be the right step for taking care of our digital storage needs.
What do you think about it? Would you make an investment in such a product or you’ll rely on services like Dropbox and your good ol’ hard drives?