I’ve purchased a lot of external storage devices over the last 30 years, and the one brand I keep turning back to for future purchases is Western Digital. I’ve had rotten experiences with LaCie and Iomega in the past and, to date, I have yet to experience any sort of hardware failure — or glitch, or even momentary pause — with a Western Digital drive, and I’m hard on my storage devices.  In fact, I’ve never NOT had a LaCie drive either be dead-on-arrive or die within two weeks of setting up the device. I run my HDDs 24/7/365 and I not only expect them to work, but to thrive in all hostile environments.

For the past few years, I’ve been using a 2 TB WD “My Book” as my iTunes media server and secondary backup drive.  The drive has performed flawlessly and is accessed all day long.  As new book and media projects arise on the horizon, I realized I needed to get a bump in my offline storage capacity for both safety and speed of convenience.  My 1 TB Google Drive is perfect for my online work and now, coupled with my new 4 TB Western Digital My Cloud drive, I’m covered from every angle of yaw.

The WD My Cloud is a pro-consumer product.  It’s made to be easy to set up.  There are cartoon instructions.  There’s a toll-free phone number you can call for “concierge service” and the Western Digital tech support folk will set up your drive for you from afar and get you running.

The instructions are simple.  Plug in the drive to an AC outlet. Plug in your drive to an ethernet connection.  Go to the WD home page and start the setup process.  It really is just that dead simple.

Even though the WD My Cloud is cartoony and iconic — that doesn’t mean it suffers from not being an of-the-moment product that cuts the edge.  There’s great sophistication behind the icons and the inviting color schemes.

The WD My Cloud is actually a pretty sophisticated Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device.  If you aren’t running some sort of NAS in your home, home office, or dedicated business, you are not fully exploiting the computing power available to make your digital life safer and faster.  A NAS operates as a dedicated file server and it has the excellent ability to foster more than one computer at a time.

The genius of the WD My Cloud is in the subtle marking.  You get your own “cloud” storage space at home.  The trick behind My Cloud is that, while it is in internet-connected device, the “cloud” is actually sitting on your desk so you can easily access the drive via the web away from home or while using a handheld device like an iPad or an iPhone.  The “cloud” is in the ability to access your content via the internet wherever you are, and not where the actual drive exists.

If you’ve ever owned a Western Digital “My Book”-like device in the past, you know getting into the administrative guts of it was a slow and ugly process.  With My Cloud, WD put great emphasis on beauty and design.  Interacting with the drive is seamless and quick.  I am impressed with the comprehensive sleekness of it all.  Updating my drive’s firmware was a mindless, one-click, experience.

Interacting with your My Cloud on the internet while away from home is easy.  Type in the URL, login, and you’re good to go.

When you click the on device you want to access, you get some cartoon entertainment while the drive content loads in your web browser.

Once your drive is active, you can click around and access your content at will.

The integration with iOS and my iPhone is impressive.  In fact, Western Digital makes itself your cloud storage hub by also letting you access Dropbox and SkyDrive and Google Drive from right inside your WD MyCloud iOS app!

Accessing your My Cloud content is blazingly quick.  As fast as you can touch an icon, the screen changes and the file loads.

I’m incredibly impressed with my new WD My Cloud, and with 4 TB at my disposal, I have no fear of running out of room for my video and book and media projects any time soon.  The technological leap in speed and ease-of-use from the WD My Book to My Cloud is absolute and undeniable — and if you’re wondering if you should upgrade to My Cloud or not — the answer is, “Yes, you absolutely must.”

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