Revamped software, faster internals fuel WD My Cloud storage device

Data storage comes in all sorts of flavors these days, and the external options are getting more and more capable. The latest is WD's My Cloud, a "personal cloud storage" device designed to provide fast access to your data locally and easy access from afar.

The My Cloud is basically a single-drive NAS device. It offers Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 connectivity, ensuring speedy transfers for local machines. Under the hood, a single 3.5" hard drive provides up to 4TB of capacity. A dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor runs the show with the cooperation of a Linux-based operating system that's been completely rearchitected with the My Cloud device in mind.

WD has offered external storage devices with similar capabilities before, such as the My Book Live, but this latest one features all-new software that's supposed to be much easier to use. The initial configuration process has been simplified, according to WD, and mobile sharing has been smoothed out by dedicated apps for Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone. Sorry, BlackBerry users, there's no native app for you.

Of course, the My Cloud also works with Windows and Mac machines. The accompanying software handles automatic backups, and it can transfer files between the drive and cloud-based storage services like Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive. DLNA streaming is supported, too, and so is 128-bit AES encryption. The only thing missing is built-in redundancy to protect against physical drive failures. At least the My Cloud drive can replicate its contents on a second device connected to the same local network; that should provide some peace of mind.

The My Cloud is due to be available starting today. The 2TB version has a $150 suggested retail price, while the 3TB model is set to sell for $180. In November, a 4TB variant will arrive at $250. Those prices don't seem unreasonable if the software is as slick as advertised—and if it helps everyday folks avoid situations like these. WD's older My Book Live drives are priced at $130 for 2TB and $180 for 3TB. The 4TB variant is a dual-drive unit that will set you back a whopping $350.

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