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NAS Reviews

Performance

The My Cloud was tested with its factory-installed 1.02.02 firmware using our standard NAS test process to run tests. Results are shown below in the Benchmark Summary. File Copy Write performance was fairly consistent between RAID 0 and RAID 1. However, RAID 1 File Copy Read Performance was 33% faster than RAID 0. In addition, the NASPT Directory Copy to and from NAS as well as NASPT Content Creation results placed the EX2 at the bottom of comparative charts.

WD My CloudEX2 Benchmark Summary

WD My CloudEX2 Benchmark Summary

To see how the My Cloud NAS fared against other dual drive NASes, I filtered the results for two drive devices and single-core SoC (SoC-1) and then generated charts for File Copy Read and File Copy Write performance. The composite chart below yields some interesting results.

File Copy Read & Write Performance Comparisons

File Copy Read & Write Performance Comparisons

For the File Copy Write test, the My Cloud EX placed fourth with 55.8 MB/s as compared to the chart topping Thecus N2310 at 85.7 MB/s. Still, the EX2 was clustered with eight other products that had performance in the 50 MB/s range.

File Copy Read results were a different matter. The EX2 ranked 13th at only 64.2 MB/s as compared to the Buffalo LinkStation 420 at 101.3 MB/s. Only four devices turned in poorer read performance. These results caused me to dig a little deeper to compare other tests.

I created the table below to compare the EX2 with Buffalo's LS421e, Buffalo's LS420, and Synology's DS214se. All four of these devices are powered by the Marvell Armada 370. All are running at 1.2 GHz except the Synology DS214se, which is running at 800MHz.

The Synology is also running with another hardware handicap - it only has 256 MB of RAM, while the other three devices all have 512 MB. Also, for comparison, I included the EX2's siblings, the EX4 as well as the original My Cloud. All performance reported in MB/s.

Test Western Digital My Cloud Western Digital My Cloud EX4 Western Digital My Cloud EX2 Buffalo LS421e Buffalo LS420 Synology DS214se
File Copy Write 50.6 54.5 55.8 53.3 55.2 57.5
File Copy Read 62.5 66.1 64.2 95.8 101.3 93.6
RAID1 File Copy Write N/A N/A 54.6 51.4 53.6 56.1
RAID 1 File Copy Read N/A N/A 85.5 88.1 102.8 92.3
USB3 Backup - FAT N/A 15.2 18.8 17.5 N/A N/A
USB3 Backup - NTFS N/A 16.6 21.1 20.0 N/A N/A
iSCSI Write N/A 37.9 49.3 N/A N/A 47.9
iSCSI Read N/A 49.8 56.5 N/A N/A 53.7
Table 2: Performance Comparison

Several interesting results pop out of this table.

  • The EX2 File Copy Write is slightly better than the EX4 and is in line with the rest of the Marvell Armada 370 NASes.
  • At 64.2 MB/s, EX2 File Copy Read is significantly slower than the other Armada 370 based devices with Buffalo's LS420 running almost 58% faster (101.3MB/s).
  • While RAID 1 File Copy Write results were fairly well clustered, again, the EX2 was at the bottom of the pack with 85.5 MB/s for RAID 1 File Copy Read. Apparently Synology's slower clock speed and half the RAM didn't hurt its performance too much.
  • The EX2 outperformed both the EX4 and the DS214se for iSCSI reads and writes.
  • The EX2 also outperformed the EX4 as well as the LS421e for both USB 3.0 backup tests.

Ranking

Below is the Ranker Performance summary for the EX2. Note that this ranking is for all products tested and doesn't relate to a particular class of processor or number of drives. For the Total NAS ranking it ranked #42 out of a total of 72 products tested. Relatively low read scores undoubtedly dragged down the overall ranking.

The EX2 ranked #41 for write benchmarks. But relatively poor performance (#65) on the NASPT Directory Copy Write test undoubtedly offset some of the better scores. Similarly, for read benchmarks and mixed read/write benchmarks, the EX2 had several rankings below its #42 total rank.

WD My Cloud EX NAS Ranking

WD My Cloud NAS Ranking

Filtering the NAS Ranker for dual drive devices with a SoC-1 processors, the EX2 came in 10th out of 17. Not surprisingly, the other three Armada 370 based NASes that I included in the comparison above all ranked higher. Ranked at #29 overall, the Buffalo LS420 was the best-ranked two-drive NAS. Ranked at #34 overall, the Synology was the #4 two-drive NAS followed by the Buffalo LS421e (#35 overall) as the fifth place two-drive NAS.

NAS ranker filtered for two drive systems and SoC-1 processors

NAS ranker filtered for single drive systems

Closing Thoughts

Even though the My Cloud EX2 uses slightly beefed up hardware, the performance results don't really show too much of a difference compared to the EX4. The EX2 does have a slight edge over the EX4 on USB 3.0 backup and on iSCSI, but those aren't really the features that most buyers care about. Since the EX2 is feature identical to the EX4 with the exception of additional RAID configuration options and storage capacity, my conclusion on the EX2 echoes Tim's thoughts on the EX4: Great features; disappointing performance.

One of the ways that I like to look at products is to use the NAS Ranker to filter the products down to a comparable set. Then I sort the results by ascending price. If a cheaper product has an overall NAS ranking low (better) than a device that's more expensive, it's probably worth taking a second look at those products. The problem with sorting by price is that some of the NAS products are BYOD, and others include some type of storage, so ranking by price may yield some misleading comparisons. In the case of the EX2, it was populated with 2 X 2TB, so the price in the charts was $369. If, instead, you look at the BYOD version that has a list price of $199.99, you might get a better idea of overall value. Assuming that the EX2 should be in the Ranker at $200 to be comparable to the BYOD devices, there were 11 NAS products that had cheaper prices. Of those 11, five of them had rankings that were lower (better) than the EX2's #42 ranking.

The NAS Ranker is primarily about performance. But there are some intangibles that are hard to measure. How good is the phone tech support? How easy is the device to set up? What kind of remote access does the NAS have? If remote access is important to you, you'll find WD My Cloud products are hard to beat. But if remote access and having your "personal cloud" isn't of primary importance to you, there are a number of two-bay NASes that offer better performance for less money.

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