At $309.99, the Western Digital My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 (4TB) network-attached storage (NAS) is a slightly less-expensive upgrade of the WD My Cloud Mirror (4TB). While similar in appearance to the previous iteration, the Mirror Gen 2 has a better CPU and an update of the proprietary WD Cloud OS to help you deal with your growing library of digital documents and media files. It's easy to set up, and comes with two 2-terabyte hard drives preinstalled. It's an excellent choice if you're setting up your first NAS, but you may want to keep shopping if you're a power user.
Design and Features
The My Cloud Mirror Gen 2Best Price at Amazon resembles a large external hard drive. Its casing is physically siimilar to the Western Digital My Book Duo Best Price at Amazon, a direct-attached USB hard drive. The My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 is mostly white, with a silver cutout (like DROBO PRO ) in the shape of the Western Digital logo on its front panel and three blue LEDs for power/activity and status lights for both drives. The LEDs change to orange if there is a problem.
The case measures 6.8 by 3.9 by 6.1 inches (HWD). There are no front-mounted USB ports, like on the Netgear ReadyNAS 202Best Price at Amazon and the QNAP TS-251$249.00 at Amazon, which makes the My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 less convenient when you want to back up a USB flash drive's contents. On the back panel, there's a Gigabit Ethernet port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and a Kensington lock port. A hole for the reset button and a jack for the AC adapter are the only other ports on the device.
RAID 1, also known as mirroring, is preset on the My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 by default. That means that any data you upload to the NAS is copied and stored on both internal drives. That gives you insurance against a single-drive failure: If one drive goes bad, you can still access your data and use the remaining drive while you get a replacement. Since the data is written twice, the NAS's 4TB overall storage space is halved to 2TB of protected storage. If you want all 4TB accessible, you can reformat the drive for RAID 0 or JBOD. That process will, of course, negate the RAID 1 safety net. The My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 is also available in 6TB (3TB formatted) and 8TB (4TB formatted) capacities, at $369.99 and $409.99, respectively.
Replacing a hard drive is a more involved process on the My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 than it is for other drive arrays like the Buffalo TeraStation 5200DN (2TB)$576.49 at Amazon and the Netgear ReadyNAS 202 because the latter devices have easily removable sleds. On the My Cloud Mirror Gen 2, you first have to pop open the spring-loaded top panel, unscrew and remove a retaining bracket, and then remove the defective drive and its sled. The process can take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how proficient you are with tech repairs. In comparison, the drive sled on the Netgear ReadyNAS 202 pops out in a second or two.
Setting up the NAS involves plugging it into your home router via Ethernet, and accessing the mycloud.com website from a laptop or desktop PC or Mac on your home LAN. Once there, you create an account, the website finds your NAS, and the two are linked. NAS administration is very rudimentary on the mycloud.com site. You can set up shares, manage folders, copy files, and manage users, but not much else. The strength of the mycloud.com page is that you can then access your files from any PC or Mac with an Internet connection.
If you're a power user, you'll want to access the My Cloud OS 3 interface, which runs off of a built-in Web server on the NAS itself. There, you can check the firmware, reformat the drives, manage local and remote backups, manage your personal cloud, perform diagnostics, and check on the general status of the NAS. It's GUI driven, so you should be able to find the settings you need to change while digging around.
The My Cloud OS 3 interface is also where you can administer services like DLNA, iTunes Server, Time Machine backup support, Windows workgroup and SMB2 support, and change the NAS network settings. The My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 supports a small selection of third-party apps, including aMule (peer-to-peer networking), Dropbox, Icecast (MP3 media streaming), Plex(multimedia streaming), and Transmission (BitTorrent). It doesn't have the breadth of apps and services of the Netgear ReadyNAS 202 or the QNAP TS-251, but it's also a lot easier to administer without all those bells and whistles.
Personal Cloud services are turned on by default, and you can access your files via the mycloud.com website or by using an app installed on your mobile phone or tablet. The My Cloud app has a built-in player for music, pictures, and videos, and you can reach your files over Wi-Fi or cellular connections. The app has a setting to disallow cellular downloads, so you won't burn through your data plan too quickly. The WD My Cloud app also has a camera backup function, which automatically sends new photos over the Internet to the shared pictures folder on the NAS. Western Digital bundles in a two-year warranty with the device.
Performance and Cost
The My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 has a 1.33GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM. That's a lot less memory than the 2GB that the Buffalo TeraStation 5200DN and the Netgear ReadyNAS 202 have, leading to slower transfer times, but it's enough power and capability for home use. We were able to transfer our test folder at 49MBps write and 73.1MBps read speeds over a wired LAN. That's significantly slower than the 64.5MBps write and 90.7MBps read speeds the ReadyNAS 202 achieved over a wired LAN. Speeds over wireless are slower (17.1MBps write; 18.5MBps read), but certainly fast enough for serving files and videos to several client PCs or mobile devices simultaneously.
Using its default RAID 1 setting, the My Cloud Mirror Gen 2's 2TB of drive space costs $0.15 per gigabyte. That's a lot less than the $0.45 per gigabyte of the 2TB Buffalo TeraStation 5200DN or the $0.20 per gigabye of the previous iteration of the Western Digital My Cloud Mirror. That makes the My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 a really good value, especially since you won't have to source and install your own hard drives, as you would for the Netgear ReadyNAS 202, which is sold diskless.
The Western Digital My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 is a capable choice if you're buying your first NAS. It's easy to set up and administer and has 2TB of protected storage space. However, the Netgear ReadyNAS 202 remains our Editors' Choice for consumer/SOHO NAS, because it has more I/O ports, better wired-throughput performance, more power-user-friendly features like TiVo backup, and a longer three-year warranty. But the ReadyNAS 202 is sold without drives. If you want a NAS with preinstalled drives that's easy to set up and use, the My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 should be on your short list.