A simple-to-use, well-priced NAS, but it's a little slow and you get faster devices for less
The WD My Cloud EX2 is a NAS device aimed at users looking to create their own personal cloud storage setup. The model we reviewed came with a pair of 4TB WD Red hard disks pre-installed, but there are also cheaper products with two 3TB or 2TB drives, as well as a product that comes without disks if you already have your own.
Installing your own drives is a simple and, more importantly, tool-less process despite the relative compactness of the enclosure. A push-button clip on the top of the device opens the air vent and beyond that just a quick release screw stands between you and the removal of the disk caddies, which also have handles attached to them so you don’t have to turn the EX2 upside-down to get them out.
While the EX2 is a good-looking and compact device, it’s a little irritating that the USB ports aren’t immediately accessible and are instead found on the back of the device. There are two USB3 ports, but if you want to back up to or from an attached USB device, you’ll likely have to move the EX2 in order to access the ports. There’s also no one-touch backup button; there are no buttons whatsoever, in fact. This means that even basic functions such as rebooting or shutting the device down must be done via the web interface. If you want to turn it back on, you’ll have to remove and reinsert the power supply.
Out of the box, our EX2 was set up in RAID 1, meaning there was just under 4TB of space available, with the other 4TB used for redundancy. RAID 1 protects against hardware failure, but it halves the amount of usable space you have available when compared to RAID 0, where the two disks are treated as one drive.
The main attraction of WD’s My Cloud range is its simplicity, and its web interface is both simple and attractive. Under the surface and in the Storage and Settings menus there is a great deal of customisation so you can set your system up exactly how you like it. Managing users and assigning them to groups with different permissions is very easy if you have multiple family members or colleagues whom you want to give access to the drive.
Creating a share is also very easy. Simple on/off buttons denote which features will be enabled for each share, although by default some additional sharing options such as FTP, WebDAV and NFS are disabled and require you to edit your EX2’s settings in a separate menu, which seems like an unnecessary additional step.
|Default file system||EXT4|
|File attribute support||Yes|
|Price per gigabyte||18p|
|Hard disk interface||SATA3|
|3.5″ hard disk bays (free)||2(0)|
|RAID modes||JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1|
|Networking||1x 10/100/1000 Ethernet|
|Front USB ports||None|
|Rear USB ports||2x USB3|
|Universal Plug and Play||Yes|
|DLNA media server||Yes|
|USB disk server||Yes|
|Mac file sharing||Yes|
|Other services||Remote access, download manager, mobile apps|