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Here, there, everywhere: 3 personal cloud storage systems

Brian Nadel | May 29, 2013
When you use a public Cloud storage service, you essentially give up control of the data so here's an alternative.

You can also give friends, family and co-workers access to the actual files. You'll need to create a special folder for the files on the drive and create an account and password for them to use.

Performance

The My Book Live was the slowest of the three devices; when transferring 430MB of files, it ran at a rate of 5.3MBps. Its Crystal DiskMark score of 10.6MBps and 11.7MBps for reading and writing data were slightly faster than the others.

The system displayed an image in 37.3 seconds, nearly 6 seconds faster than the CloudBox but much slower than the ShareCenter.

Bottom line

Although My Book Live may not be the fastest device of the group, its wide range of apps and other software is a strong recommendation for those who need to get access to their data via a variety of ways.

ShareCenter 2-Bay Cloud Storage 2000 - D-Link
Price: $200 (list); $145 - $258 (retail)

D-Link's ShareCenter 2-Bay Cloud Storage 2000 is for digital DIYers who like to customize their equipment and set it up exactly the way they want it.

Unlike the other devices reviewed here, the ShareCenter is a full Network Attached Storage (NAS) system that doesn't come with its own hard drive. Instead, it has two empty drive bays that accommodate 3.5-in. SATA drives. If you fill both bays, you can take advantage of the ability to use RAID 0 or 1 or the JBOD striping method to get peak performance or fail-safe operations.

The ShareCenter is, of course, larger than the others at 7.5 x 3.4 x 5.6 in. Because of its greater capacity, it uses a cooling fan, although while I was using the device, it never got annoyingly loud. It can hold up to 8TB of data with a pair of 4TB drives. There is a USB slot in the back for use with an external drive or a printer.

Its LEDs are the most efficient of the three systems here at showing what's going on. There are four lights that indicate if it is turned on, if the USB is active and if one or both bays are occupied.

Setting up the ShareCenter is a little more involved than the other two personal cloud devices. You need to screw a small red plastic strap onto each drive before inserting it into the bay. Unfortunately, it's easy to put the straps on backwards — I did it wrong the first time and had to re-attach them. Also, if you use only one drive you have to use the right-hand bay or the system won't recognize it.

Like the WD storage system, you need to run installation software from the included CD to get started. D-Link offers software for Windows, OS X and Linux computers. The system can be used for storing backups made with Time Machine and Windows Backup.

 

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