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Western Digital My Cloud DL4100 SMB NAS Review

Western Digital My Cloud DL4100 SMB NAS Review
Recently WD introduced its new My Cloud DL4100 SMB NAS to the world, and today Chris puts it through its paces. A lack of performance may deter some.
By: Chris Ramseyer | Network Storage in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Mar 2, 2015 10:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 89%Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction

 

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We sat down with Western Digital recently to learn more about the company's rapid growth in the NAS market, and new models released this week. In a short period of time, WDC has gained a significant amount of market share in the two and four-bay NAS market. Instead of taking a foot off the throttle while in the lead, Western Digital has pushed the pedal to the metal with new products, new features and more focus on additional markets.

 

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Western Digital's latest push brings four new Linux based products to market. Two 2-bay and two 4-bay products spread across the prosumer and small business market segments. The new units replace existing products and fill in open gaps, allowing Western Digital to expand in this market.

 

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In just over a year's time, WDC has went from an 8% market share to 26%. The graph provided by WDC shows an increase in the number of NAS products shipped as well as the company's portion of the market. Estimates from market research specialists show large gains in the NAS market for years to come. Western Digital plans to ride the wave.

 

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Before we jump into the SMB-focused DL4100, let's take a brief look at the new DL2100 and new Expert Series models position to prosumer users. From the outside the two products look identical and even use the same Western Digital operating system.

 

The main difference between the new Expert Series and the Business Series products is found in the processor. The Expert Series for prosumers use Marvell Armada processors for high speed reads and writes. The Armada 385 and Armada 388 are Marvell's newest processors for the NAS market, the most powerful to date from Marvell. The new Business Series NAS products use Intel Atom processors to provide the power necessary for small businesses to share files across multiple platforms.

 

 

Hardware Specifications and Pricing

 

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Today, we'll focus on the new My Cloud DL4100, but we will touch on the more economical DL2100 briefly as well. Both models use Intel Atom dual-core processors and support a number of shared features. The smaller DL2100 ships with 1GB of DRAM and is upgradable to 5GB. The DL4100 ships with twice as much DRAM from the factory and can accept up to 6GB total. The DL2100 uses an embedded processor from the Rangeley family, while the DL4100 uses one from the Avoton family. Both systems run at 1.7GHz with two cores that consumer 6 and 7 watts TDP.

 

The DL4100 model that is our focus today has four drive bays for internal storage, along with a dedicated flash-based storage device built in for the Western Digital operating system. WD uses EXT4 for the files system and supports RAID 0, 1, and 5 for redundancy.

 

External connectivity comes from two gigabit Ethernet ports that support NIC Teaming for performance or redundancy. You can also connect the DL4100 to two separate networks and all the system to serve files on both. As the My Cloud product name suggests, this model also works seamlessly as shared storage across the web with WD's software on other devices including tablets and cell phones.

 

Three USB ports on the DL4100 increase the connectivity options. Two ports on the back and a one-touch copy USB 3.0 port on the front. The front USB port allows uses to quickly and effortlessly backup mobile storage devices. It also makes for a handy cell phone charger if the NAS is sitting on a desk close by.

 

WD's Business Series models also incorporate a LCD display that provides system status and configuration information to uses.

 

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The Business Series products with Linux operating systems have already entered the market. WD delivered four DL4100 models based on overall disk capacity. Users can opt for a drive-less system and add storage as needed, or purchase 8TB, 16TB or 24TB units.

 

Both the DL2100 and DL4100 units with included storage ship with Western Digital's Red HDDs that were built specifically for NAS products. The Red family is the bestselling NAS specific HDD on the market today and provides users with the features required for this environment.

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