Introduction & Pricing, Availability and Specifications
As far as network storage is concerned, two and four bay appliances sell like hotcakes. Recognizing this, Western Digital, having previously launched MyCloud EX4, went to the drawing board to refine their cloud storage solution. The end result of this refinement is the product we have in house today, the MyCloud EX2.
The MyCloud EX2 features a design some will be familiar with. With the exterior, we have something that compliments the MyBook lineup, a tried and true design that most of us love for its simplicity and elegant curves. Internally, the drawing board comes into play. Here we have an upgraded SoC in the form of the Armada 370 operating at 1.2GHz, alongside 512MB of DRAM, with a single Gigabit Ethernet port placed on the back of the unit and dual USB 3.0 ports rounding out the I/O connections.
This new two-bay storage solution is available in 4TB, 6TB and 8TB capacities, all of which are setup from the factory in RAID 1. There is also a diskless option available from WD.
Pricing, Availability and Specifications
MSRP for the WD MyCloud EX2 in the 4TB capacity is set at $369.99, while the 6TB model is listed at $469.99 and the 8TB at $569.99. The Diskless option can be had for $199.99.
WD MyCloud EX2
Packaging and a Closer Look
The packaging for the MyCloud EX2 carries a nice blue exterior. On the front of the box, we have an image of the EX2 with minimal marketing information to the right.
Removing the packages from the box, we see WD has packaged the NAS in a separate setup of dense foam. The accessories for the unit are tucked away in their own box.
The scope of delivery includes the power adapter, Ethernet cable, and reading materials.
The front of the unit carries on the MyBook design with three LEDs mounted to the right.
On the back of the unit, we have the gigabit Ethernet port alongside dual USB 3.0 with power and reset on opposing ends.
One unique feature WD has always had with the MyBook setup was the removable drive via the top panel. As you can see, they have integrated that setup here with the EX2.
Internally, we have two 2TB WD Red hard drives.
Test System Setup and NAS Management
Our Consumer NAS test 'system' is setup similar to what you have at home. Here we have the GIGABYTE Z77X UP5 TH motherboard housing an Intel Core i5 3570K with 16GB of RAM supporting. Our Operating System of choice is Windows 8 x64 Enterprise, with all available updates and patches installed, on a Corsair Neutron 256GB SSD.
On the networking side, we utilized the Intel PRO1000 PT Server Adapter with a direct connection to each NAS appliance. This eliminates the need for a switch, and eliminates any bottlenecks that may occur.
Upon launching the web GUI, you get the sense that the interface is rather elegant.
After initial setup, the interface lands here. In this menu, you can get the overall scope of how your EX2 is doing with drive health and capacity listed next to firmware status.
On the shares tab, you can setup additional folders to store your data. Here you can see there are three predefined folders for use with Time Machine, Smartware, and public sharing.
Over on the backups tab, the option to setup USB transfers is available. You can also setup NAS to NAS transfers and online backups as well.
Looking at the Storage tab, you will see we have the option to setup the RAID mode though the unit is configured from the factory for redundancy. You can also setup and use iSCSI, a feature not commonly found on two-bay appliances.
The settings menu allows you to change the network name of the EX2 alongside the time and date settings. Further down, we have Cloud settings and Energy saving options.
Over on the networking tab, you will find options to enable and disable services along with changing the workgroup name.
The Utilities menu allows you to manage your NAS by formatting or scanning your drives, mounting ISOs to work from, and restoring your NAS.
Benchmarks - Single Client Throughput
HD Video Play - 720p HD stream from Windows Media Player, 256kB reads
2HD Video Play - 2x playback
4HD Video Play - 4x playback
HD Video Record - 720p HD stream, 256kB writes
File Copy From NAS - 4GB file copy, 64kB reads
File Copy To NAS - 64kB writes
In our testing, we first swapped the EX2 back to RAID 0. Here you can see the unit did quite well, topping out at 94 MB/s in all three video playback tests.
RAID 1 topped out at 98 MB/s in video playback and 94 MB/s in file copy testing.
Benchmarks - Random and Sequential Workloads
Our 4k Random read/write workload consists of sixteen threads, all at QD8; results are measured in IOPS (Input Output Operations per Second).
Our Sequential read/write workload is centered on 1MB transfer sizes, again using sixteen threads and a Queue Depth of 8.
In our first 4k random test with RAID 0, we find the EX2 competing quite well with previously tested solutions.
Moving to RAID 1, we find the EX2 coming in at 122 IOPS read and 512 IOPS write.
RAID 0 sequentials for the EX2 came in at 49 MB/s read and 51 MB/s write.
RAID 1 performance was close to what we found with RAID 0. Here we have 52 MB/s read and 40 MB/s write.
Benchmarks - Consumer Multi Client
Consumer Multi-Client testing is done using Helios LAN Test with eight virtual machines each having two processing cores and 2GB of RAM.
In our multi-client read testing, you can see how the EX2 scales as more clients access the NAS. Results range from a peak of 62.8 MB/s to a low of 7.2MB/s with eight clients.
Multi-Client write testing started out at 42 MB/s and ended at 5.82 MB/s with all eight clients.
The MyCloud EX2 is the final piece and rounds out Western Digital's personal cloud storage lineup quite well. The build quality of the unit is quite good, with durable plastics and a center steel structure underneath. Having the ability to upgrade this NAS is a great option as well, though as you can see in the image below, it did throw a fit when I installed a drive that was not a WD Red. In fact, after installing 4TB drives from another manufacturer, the drive sleep function ceased to work.
Performance of the EX2 was quite good in our single client testing with NASPT and even our workload testing where we saw the NAS touch 1550 write IOPS and 52 MB/s peak in sequential testing.
Multi-Client performance was decent as well, and in the future as we add more NAS appliances to those charts, we will see how things fill out as time passes.
Overall, I would say the WD MyCloud EX2 is a great solution for families to store their memories and something you can truly grow with. Setup of this solution is about as simple as it gets, and since WD has setup the NAS from the factory in RAID 1, it's almost plug and play.
The MSRP for the 4TB WD MyCloud EX2 tested here today is set at $369.99 with a two-year warranty.
PRICING: You can find the WD MyCloud EX2 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The WD MyCloud EX2 (4TB) retails for $369.00 at Amazon.
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