NAS are scary because they have a reputation for being difficult to install and use for non-specialists. With the My Cloud Home Duo, Western Digital (WD) offers a “light” NAS which simplifies all handling to the extreme. It retains certain characteristics of the NAS since it combines several internal disks, two for this model, and connects to the network (the cable is supplied). The remaining objective is to store all of its data and then share and access it from any device including outside the home. Is the promise kept? This is what we will see together.
No complex instructions for use with this model, but a simple card which explains that the device must be laid on the network (the router or the Box) and on the sector, via the external adapter delivered. After a few minutes, the storage server signals that it is operational by a horizontal light located on the front.
The second step is to connect to the same network as the My Cloud Home Duo with a computer, tablet or smartphone, launch the Internet browser and type in the address mycloud.com/hello. After creating an account, required for remote access, the Web Assistant automatically detects the NAS and, for mobile devices, offers to download the app for iOS and Android. It couldn’t be simpler!
A well-designed mobile app
We appreciated the clarity and simplicity of the app. It automatically backs up photos and videos from the mobile device, and also provides access to files stored on the My Cloud Home Duo. It can also organize the backup of files stored on a Cloud account (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive). This function is one of the few services available but, on this point, it should be noted immediately that the WD server is significantly less well supplied than a traditional NAS. No need to search for a module to receive videos from IP cameras, host its website or manage the download of Torrent files, there are none. We appreciate, however, the presence of the famous Plex multimedia server, as well as the IFTTT (If This Then That) automation system. The manufacturer also plans to invite other users to store their data on the NAS, but in separate spaces, without the possibility of having a common storage area.
If the app is very practical for use from a smartphone or tablet, Western Digital has also provided access to the My Cloud Home Duo from a simple web browser, by connecting to the mycloud.com website. The interface then displays the list of files present, with the possibility of playing JPEG photos and MP4 videos directly. Other types of files will need to be downloaded first before being played.
Use with a computer requires software
To use the My Cloud Home Duo from a computer, you must first download the WD Discovery program. The latter makes the NAS accessible as if it were a traditional hard drive. Thus, it appears on the Windows desktop as an additional unit. The program also adds some handy functions to the file explorer. It is thus possible to synchronize folders – local updates are then automatically reflected on the versions stored on the My Cloud Home Duo – or to make the contents of a NAS folder available offline. These features are very similar to what OneDrive offers in Windows 10.
Configured in Raid 1 for more security
We reviewed the My Cloud Home Duo in 12 TB version, the one that includes two internal 6 TB disks, configured in Raid 1 for more security. The data is stored on the first disk and duplicated on the second, which protects it in the event of failure of one of the disks, but reduces the storage capacity to 6 TB. It is possible to access the 12 TB by changing the storage mode in JBOD (Just A Bunch Of Disks), but in this case we lose the security of redundancy. In the event of a breakdown, opening the top of the case gives access to the two discs for possible replacement, WD Red models identical to those used in traditional NAS, which is a good surprise in terms of robustness.
On the performance side, the scores are correct but nothing more. We measured a maximum bit rate of 103 MB / s. On the other hand, the My Cloud Home Duo proves to be rather silent with a sound level of 31.9 dB in standby and 33.1 dB in activity.
Limits in USB devices
Looking at the back of the case, we discover two USB 3.0 ports for connecting a USB key or an external drive.
The idea is attractive, but again, the My Cloud Home Duo is more limited than a traditional NAS. For example, when connecting a USB key, the key is not directly accessible and you must first copy its content, or a part, to the server via the mobile application. The operation turns out to be simple, but we would have liked to have direct access to the files.