My Cloud Mirror, analysis: two hard drives to avoid losing anything on your network storage
We live in a connected world in which cloud storage services have become a useful tool, almost necessary for those of us who want to access our files from various devices. They are also for those who take pictures like crazy with our mobile and we do not want to have to be connecting it to the computer to save them.
But entrusting a company's servers with all our documents may not be the best option for those who care most about their privacy. And that's where proposals like WD come into play with its My Cloud Mirror, an external hard drive that will remain connected to our home network to create our own personal cloud.
But before we start our review, let's take a little look at the breakdown of its specs.
We are facing an external hard drive that will not be connected to our computer, but directly to our router through its Ethernet port. Thus we will have two ways to access it, through our local network and through the Internet using the different applications for PC, Mac and mobile devices.
The tests have been carried out with the 4 TB model, space that is divided into two WD Red hard drives of 2 TB each, although there are also models of 6 and 8 TB. In any case, these disks are perfectly removable, so we can replace them with any other we have of 3.5 ″ Sata III.
The Cloud Mirror allows us to configure the hard drive with a basic RAID, but when we get out of the box we will find it preconfigured with a RAID 1.This means that while we are using the first disk, an identical copy of our data will be kept on the second disk. Although it is something that may seem to waste the maximum storage of the device, if the main hard disk breaks, we would have the peace of mind of having all our data on the other.
The 1.2GHz 1-core processor and 512MB of RAM aren't too eye-catching, but more than enough has been shown for the unit to work smoothly. In addition, its operating system makes it usable from any Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari browser, and it has native applications for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS.
Curved and minimalist design
We cannot say that the My Cloud Mirror has a compact design, in fact it is similar in size to some mini-towers. It will have to be connected directly to the router and not to the computer, so if you have a rather small desktop you may have to put it somewhere else.
And it is precisely the fact that it has two hard drives inside which makes it so voluminous, with measures of 171.5 x 99 x 155 millimeters. It is not a light device either, since its weight reaches 1.6 kilograms. Fortunately, by not having to connect to the computer we can leave it fixed in one place and not have to move it at all.
As for the appearance itself, it is entirely finished in plastic. The front is a single piece in bright white and with curved U-shaped corners, which occupies both the front and the two sides. The back is matt gray, and in it we find all the connection slots.
The Cloud Mirror will give us the option of making backup copies on USB drives, so to take advantage of this function without having to move it around, some front port would have been good. But it seems that in WD they do not believe that this is a function important enough to alter its design, so it has remained so.
As for the upper part, it is a cover with ventilation slits finished in the same gray as the back. It has a small button that will allow us to open it to directly access the hard drives. In this way, just by unscrewing a security screw and pulling some plastic tabs attached to them, we can easily remove them to check or change them.
Finishing off the two-color design, on the front we find a rectangular sheet of gray color in which the logos, the three control LEDs and their legend are located. The LEDs show us both the connection and operating status of both disks.
The LEDs on the drives will stay on and blink blue when they are working, solid blue when they are working but not active, and flashing red if something is wrong. As for the operation of the device, it will remain solid blue if it is turned on without problems, flashing yellow if there is no network or the firmware is being updated and flashing red if there is an error in the storage volumes.
Therefore we are dealing with a minimalist design, with curved lines, which fits very well through the eyes and with LED indicators that are very easy to interpret. Could we have asked for better materials for the finish? Undoubtedly, but perhaps this would have led to a price increase that would have excessively weighed down the product.
See complete gallery »My Cloud Mirror, the design (12 photos)
Simple and virtually automatic installation
In order to become an alternative to third-party clouds, these types of devices need to be easy to configure. And this is something that WD has achieved, since the only thing we have to do is connect it to the router and enter the mycloud.com/setup page, a landing page that automatically locates it and guides us in the configuration.
Two automatic emails later we will have an account created and we will receive a link to install the client with which to finish the configuration. The whole process is automatic, and all you have to do is choose which folders you want to keep synchronized. From there all changes in them will also be made on the hard drive, and at any time we can add more or stop synchronizing some.
But beyond helping us in the configuration, it must be said that the native client for PC is quite limited. Yes, it configures everything so that we can access the hard drive through the home network, but little else. Therefore, if we want to have full control of the device, we will have to do it by accessing its operating system from our browser with the page wdmycloudmirror.local. We will talk about their options a little later.
As for the startup of the hard disk and its configuration, there is nothing to object to, as it is a fast and extremely simple process. The PC client is limited, but WD also has other specific ones for Android and iOS available. And after having been testing the Google operating system I have to say that it has nothing to envy to the other applications to manage our clouds.
Simple and easy to use
As I have explained before, WD offers us three types of applications: one for the desktop that only meets the most basic functions, one for mobiles with advanced functions such as allowing firmware updates or choosing in which folder to make our backups, and one webapp with access to the operating system in which we will have full control of the device.
From the mobile app we can have access to the data uploaded to the hard disk, and also configure other accounts in the cloud to access the data from Google Drive, Dropbox and company to their data from it from the same app. In addition, we can also create backup copies of our photographs by choosing or creating the folder to which they are uploaded.
In this last aspect, the only downside is that the desktop app does not allow us to synchronize folders that do not exist on the computer. Therefore, to have the mobile photos downloaded automatically we will first have to create a folder to save them on our PC, share it and then choose it with the mobile app. It's a bit cumbersome, and WD should do something to simplify the process, as it can be inconvenient for less advanced users.
In this way, between the mobile and desktop applications we will already have the basic functions of any self-respecting cloud. But as we said a few paragraphs ago we will also have access to the hard drive through the browser by entering the page wdmycloudmirror.local, and from there we can have full control of the device.
To start, we will have a complete view of the state of the system, from the amount of storage that we have used to the resources that we are consuming. We will be able to see graphs with the evolution of the RAM and CPU used, and also run a system diagnosis or update the firmware.
In addition, we will have other options to create and manage the users that we want to have access to our cloud and the folders that they can access, configure the connected devices of each user, create backup copies or configure if we want to use one of the hard drives As a second backup or use it to put even more files.
In the shared files configuration tab we will also have the always useful option of making our folders public. This will allow them to be accessed from any device connected to the home network and, for example, to be able to play the multimedia files on our hard drive on a smart tv.
Therefore, the WD My Cloud Mirror is postulated as a good alternative for those who want to have our own cloud without having to depend on third parties, it is easy to configure and has a sufficient ecosystem of applications to be able to be used from different devices.
It has weaknesses as a native application for PC that serves little more than to perform the basic configuration, and that having the photos of our mobile phone synchronized on the PC can be a bit cumbersome. Even so, the web application helps us to fill the gaps of the computer, and with a little patience we can adapt the mobile to our use.
In addition, one of the advantages of this model compared to others of the same brand is that having two hard drives we can use one of them to make a second backup of our files, thus ensuring that no error on the main hard drive can make them lose us forever.