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Backing up data is one of the most critical operations you can perform for maintaining your PC’s health. In the past, most consumers backed up data by shuffling the data from their hard drive to some external component (I’m old enough to remember backing up critical files to floppy disks, then hard floppies, then Zip disks, and now, external drives). But backing up your data manually can be cumbersome if you’re talking about terabytes upon terabytes of data and not just a few megabytes.
Here’s a scenario that you want to avoid. I have several hard drives lying around my computer workstation. Some of them are filled with data from my work as a freelance consultant, some are filled with sensitive tax information, and many are filled with thousands of pictures and video of my children. Just the other day, I wanted to consolidate these on to one central hard drive so that I could catalog, archive and possibly share the photos and videos with family and loved ones.
"A NAS (or network attached storage) system lets you keep multiple drives attached at one time so that data can be mirrored and replicated..."
I started by buying a hard drive dock and manually taking files from one disk and putting them on my workstation’s hard drive. I didn’t think ahead to determine how much drive space I needed, but in the end, I crammed about 4TB worth of pictures, music files, videos and sensitive data on to the main drive. Now all I needed was to transfer all that data to another drive to mirror it in case something happened to the original drive.
Which it did. I lost the main drive due to a complicated partition error, and all of that data is now lost. Maybe not permanently, but certainly lost within the confines of my budget. I cannot afford an expensive data-recovery service to pull all of that data for me.
I should have started my adventure in data archiving by looking into a small NAS system. A NAS (or network attached storage) system lets you keep multiple drives attached at one time so that data can be mirrored and replicated, hedging your bets against an almost certain Armageddon of data loss. Trust me—nothing is more frustrating, soul-crushing or heartbreaking than watching ten years of your digital life disappear.
But traditionally, NAS servers were cost-prohibitive, and the cost of replacing the drives was just as prohibitive. Not too long ago, a NAS server was something that required intricate and complicated integration into your home network, but these days, a lot of personal NAS servers are plug-and-play devices.
WD (also known as Western Digital) has been in the hard drive business for a long time, and now the company is looking ahead by providing cost-effective personal NAS servers with the ability to do all the mirroring and maintaining of your data for you. In addition to using a dual-drive system for maximum efficiency, there are a number of other features that will definitely have you looking into this as your new backup system. When considering the route you want to take with your data backup, you have to factor in the cost of the enclosure, dedicated fans, the cost of the individual hard drives, and any other expenses related to building your own NAS server.
The WD My Cloud Mirror external hard drive automatically makes a copy of all of the data from one drive to the next.
Available in configurations of 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB capacities, the WD My Cloud Mirror external hard drive takes all of the guesswork out of the equation. It is a complete, enclosed system—unlike the My Cloud EX 4 series, the hard drives in the Mirror line are not user-serviceable—containing two hard drives of equal capacity. It is factory set at RAID 1 so that it automatically makes a copy of all of the data from one drive to the next. It even allows you to back up the data from multiple computers in your home via the network, so if you’re using the drive on the main computer, it can still find and back up your laptop, tablet, and even smartphone data for you.
You’re not limited to mirroring, either. You can set the mode to JBOD and utilize the total capacity of the drive, or use the drive’s USB 3.0 ports to attach even more external storage. With that feature, your options for capacity are limitless. PC users can enjoy automated backups with the WD SmartWare program, and Mac users will be pleased to know that the WD My Cloud Mirror is Time Machine compatible.
WD also offers free apps that allow you to access your data from any Internet connection in the world. Simply configure your My Cloud Mirror on your home network, and access your files with the WD My Cloud Mobile app. You can also use and access Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive accounts.
Using a powerful 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of DDR3 RAM and a Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 interface for transfers, the My Cloud Mirror makes the backup of your data as simple as possible. It also supports other DLNA-certified devices like Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and media players. Additionally, you can effortlessly stream your music collection with the device’s integrated My Cloud Mirror iTunes server.
Had I known how simple and easy the setup of this was, I would never have bothered with transferring data manually from one hard drive to another. I would have simply streamed everything to this device, and let it back up my data instantly. If you pair this with a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) you can add even more stability and peace of mind to your setup.
So why consider this and not a remote cloud server? There are plenty of RCSs to choose from, and some of them seem not just cost-effective, but worry-free as well. Simply put, it’s a matter of privacy. I don’t trust a remote Cloud service over which I have no physical control, especially when it comes to personal photos and videos. I would rather have a unit in my house or workspace that I can get to if anything goes wrong.
Whether you’re looking for storage, accessibility, or just your own personal (and private) cloud server, your first stop should be the WD My Cloud Mirror. It can save you a large chunk of time, a lot of money, and rivers of tears in one handy box.
|Interfaces||2 x USB 3.0
Power supply (DC in)
|Memory||512 MB DDR3|
|Temperature||Operating: 41 to 95°F / 5 to 35°C
Non-Operating: -4 to 149°F / -20 to 65°C
|Power||AC Input Voltage (AC Adapter): 100-240 VAC
AC Input Frequency: 50-60 Hz
DC Output: 12 VDC, 3 A
|Supported Browsers||Internet Explorer 8 or higher
Safari 6 or higher
Firefox 21 or higher
Google Chrome 27 or later on supported Windows and Mac OS platforms
|System Requirements||Windows 8.1 or earlier, Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP (32 bit) SP 3 operating systems
Mac OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion or Snow Leopard operating systems
DLNA/UPnP devices for streaming
Router with Internet connection
|Dimensions (HxWxL)||6.75 x 3.90 x 6.10" / 171.45 x 99.06 x 154.94mm|
|Weight||4.6 lb / 2.1 kg|