Western Digital (WD) has just launched a new family of “personal cloud solutions” called My Cloud. This consists in new hardware of course, but includes an even more important software solution that lets users access and manage their data from a personal cloud in an easy way. The idea behind My Cloud is that managing a personal cloud based on one of more network attached storage (NAS) devices in your home shouldn’t be more complicated than installing and using an app on your mobile.
Western Digital realizes that the setup and utilization complexity is the number one issue that any storage company needs to tackle in order to successfully expand the personal cloud market. There is something that is instinctively good about owning at least one copy of your own data, and if users were given an easy system to deal with, they may be much more inclined to build a personal cloud than they are today.
And this starts with the setup. WD has managed to build a simple user interface that does not ask for anything that most users may not know, and provided that you have a modern router with uPNP, the setup should be able to setup everything it needs in terms of network access. The setup demo was one of the smoothest installs of this kind that I had seen, and Chromecast was the only other one that I was impressed by.
The second thing that stuck out was how easy it was to access the data from an app (from an external network). The user interface was simple and clear, although I wouldn’t say “beautiful”, but at this point, I just want to manage my data so any design changes may be appreciated in the future, but it’s not critical right now. WD will make the access app available on Android and iOS, so they have most of the market covered.
In terms of hardware, you can expect to see capacities of 2TB ($150), 3TB ($180) and 4TB ($250, in November) and all these boxes are compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8 and Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, Leopard. Additionally, any DLNA devices can access the My Cloud hardware.