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Western Digital My Cloud update adds phone backup, shared albums with friends

Mark Hachman | Sept. 1, 2015
My Cloud OS 3 adds syncing and sharing features you'd normally associate with Google or Dropbox.

The My Cloud mobile apps now allow users to back up data to the My Cloud device, for those who just want the peace of mind of a local copy of their photos close at hand. Like the cloud storage services offered by Apple, Google, and Microsoft, you can specify photos to be backed up only over Wi-Fi to limit cellular data usage, according to Greg Kopotic, a product manager for WD.

Even better, users can now send a link to their friends to create shared albums of photos (from a reunion or wedding, for instance) that are stored on the My Cloud drive. While the uploads aren’t automatic—the link generates a Web page that allows those friends to manually upload selected photos—they are all pushed to the drive over the My Cloud owner’s broadband connection. Only photos are stored, not videos, Vouri said. A Web interface also allows users to access their My Cloud data anywhere, including on devices like Chromebooks, he said.

If a Web interface sounds clunky—well, WD has thought of that, too. Part of the new My Cloud OS is a new API, where developers can write apps to access data stored on My Cloud devices; the other is a new device SDK, where apps can run natively on My Cloud itself.

WD is working with Adobe, for example, to save documents automatically to the My Cloud backup devices as well as Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and will provide two free camera licenses to be used with Milestone Systems’s IP security software, which will write data to the My Cloud.

Updated Cloud Mirror backup devices debut

Western Digital has also updated its My Cloud Mirror backup solutions, which, by default, places two hard drives in a RAID 1 backup configuration. (It’s also between 1.5X and 2 times faster, thanks to an upclocked Marvell 385 chip running at 1.3GHz.) So for the three options WD offers—a $310 4TB config, along with a $380 6TB drive and a $430 8TB option—you’ll actually receive either 2, 3, or 4 terabytes of available storage space, automatically set to back up each drive onto the other. You can, however, configure the drives into a shared RAID 0 pool that will max out the available storage space to the 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB levels.

WD, Seagate, and others would like you to think of external storage as a convenience, in much the same way you see cloud services like Google Photos. Unlike Google, Dropbox or other services, though, you’re being asked to pay for it right up front.


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