The Western Digital My Cloud DL4100 mixes great design with lacklustre performance. We were really impressed with the overall design, package, warranty, and hardware. On the other side of the coin, Western Digital has struggled to bring additional software features to the company's NAS products. We counted nine add-on third-party packages, less than a tenth of what some NAS builders make available for customers. By no means do we think anyone would or even should install more than 100 add-on packages, but making them available for those that need a special function is always nice.
It's been a few years since I tested a WD NAS product other than the actual HDDs launched under the same name. The performance scale was an issue then as well. Somewhere in the design, WD has a bottleneck issue that keeps the NAS from delivering higher performance.
I ran some additional tests to find where performance suffers. In many of the tests, we get expected performance from the DL4100, over 100 MB/s sequential read and over 100 MB/s sequential write speeds. In random performance tests with data flowing only one direction, we also observed high performance. Once we started mixing reads and writes, though, performance dropped off quite a bit. The numbers are far less than most of the NAS products we test. The sequential mixed workload test also shows us very low performance with 128KB and 256KB blocks, well short of what we expect from a SMB class NAS product.
Products like the Western Digital My Cloud DL4100 are about more than just raw performance data. This unit comes from Western Digital, a company many are familiar with and a name with a reputation. Given the performance shortfall of the WD NAS products and the company's high volume of sales, I'd say the name means quite a bit. To go with the name, WD also has a distribution channel so the products are easy to buy. The company also has makes an effort to inform distributors and resellers about products in a way that goes beyond just announcing their existence.
With the product in hand, the WD OS is easy to configure for an office full of workers. Many small companies have 'that one guy' in the office that doubles as the IT administrator. The software is straightforward and that lucky person will not need to spend a lot of time researching how to manage users or add the users to accounts, the software makes it a simple procedure.
The cloud functionality is also very good. Western Digital has a long history with the My Cloud product series that eliminates the monthly fees associated with products like Dropbox. Not only do users get the data on demand without a monthly or yearly recurring fee, but the data is safe in a device owned by the company. Given the current state of internet security, this is a big plus for companies looking to keep secrets from The Internet and others.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||94%|
|Bundle and Packaging||94%|
|Value for Money||89%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||89%|
The Bottom Line: Western Digital's name drove high sales volumes, but the WD OS lacks many of the features found in competitor's products. The DL4100 is easy to use and configure, but performance is lower than we'd like to see in an Intel Atom-based NAS.
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