This post has taken almost 6 hours to type up (I began about 5pm and finishing about 11pm) and my main reason for doing this isn’t thatI’m a staff of WD but I wouldn’t hesitate to take any under the table money if offered, is that after having bought my two WD Cloud and MyBook, I really wanted to share my love for the devices by giving back to the forums.
Currently the two drives are sitting on the bookshelf with Book Covers ( yeah they look like books), probably sleeping since I haven’t access them for quite awhile, however they are quietly waiting for my next access. I will not lie to you as there were some transitional pains between my old WD Live and the new drives and I’ll cover the pains later in this post.
I’ve read every single post on this forum looking for small nugets of information that I have been using to fix my problems with the device and I have been chuckling on the large number of posts that complains about the copying speeds. Even the Futureshop reviews, where I bought the drives, complained about about the speed of the device.
if you are having problems with copying files which seems to take forever… the problem is most likely “you” (well perhaps not you particularly but your infrastructure in your house) and it is not the device :P
Your Car will go 200MPH, just not in local traffic
Lets start off with the fact that your brand new WD Cloud is “NOT” slow. It has the ability to be as fast as some of the more expensive NAS devices out in the market however you have to spend a little time in finding out “why” you are having problems; and yes there are some nasty software problems that WD has (we will talk about it later), but for a new out of the box system you won’t have to worry about it till you fill up your hard drive with data.
How fast you ask? well for large movie file of 733MB, it takes roughly 15-20 seconds to copy it over to the NAS. To read it back from the device takes less then 10 seconds; reading is about twice as fast as writing.
This is the ultimate best scenario for your WD Cloud by being connected on a gigabit ethernet LAN (Local Area Network) and I’m reading and writing on a SSD flash drive on the Mac side. This means you have a router that has gigabit ports so that both your PC/Mac and WD Cloud are connected to the same router and your WD Cloud is showing a green LED on the ethernet connection. If it is showing up yellow, that means you are connected on100Mbits lan.
Just a brief note on the USB 3.0 Speed via the NAS
This was the selling point for keeping the two devices as I bought the 4tb WD Cloud and the 4tb WD MyBook together in hopes of using the MyBook as a mirror or rather as a backup, perhaps using scheduled rsync within the NAS itself.
The surprise was the network speed of 40MB/s write and 70MB/s reads off the WD MyBook connected via the USB 3.0 port, which is just slightly slower then 45MB/s write and 75MB/s read from the WD Cloud. This performance was more then acceptable!!
Going via WIFI only
So I disabled the wired connection on my Mac and enabled WIFI only to see how it would feel. To copy a 733MB file to and from the WD drive it took about 85 seconds, giving me 8.6MB/s which is pretty standard for WIFI.
What this means is regardless of whether you have a WD Cloud Drive or a very expensive data storage server on the other end and if you are transfering data via WIFI, this is about as fast you will get.
So if you got a 1TB drive on your laptop and you want to copy 1024GB to the NAS, at speeds of 8.6MB/s, it comes out to about 33 hours; probably more because smaller files takes longer.
For a more reasonalbe 100GB drive, to time machine backup would be about 6-8 hours, but once the initial backup is done, all later backup changes should take very little time.
Small files always takes longer, just the facts of life…
Now the funny thing is that if you copy many many small files, even over the gigabit ethernet connection, the speed drops down to about 4-6 MB/s and that is because you really don’t have much memory for caching the data on the NAS and that is to be expected. So if you are copying a lot of photos, mp3’s, ebooks, no matter what device you buy, the speed for copying small files is always terrible because even if you have a very very expensive NAS that has a large memory cache, it will eventually fill it up and you end up with 4-6MB/s.
The good news is that once you get the data over to the NAS, it is pretty much permanent until you buy your next device and have to do this all over again.
Okay, so are we on the same page for Data Speeds? Gigabit ethernet = good and Wifi = ok for laptops for general file copying.
The Nitty Gritty facts about your Network
Local area Network (LAN) is the interconnection of all your devices locally and they are separated from the Wide Area Network (WAN) which is the internet by your modem/router (usually the device that gets installed near your cable outlet).
Back in the old days of modem, then a router, then a switch or hubs, it was just a little bit easier to point the finger at which device is giving us the problems. Today, the cable company has installed an all-in-one modem/router/switch of which all the devices are plugged into. This router/switch is also your Wifi N hub.
When my internet went on the blink (cable signal going in and out), my whole LAN reset every 15 seconds. Thus all my files on the WD Nas was inaccessible. Yes it is true, without my router I cannot access my data on the NAS
Also if you have a yellow light on your WD Cloud ethernet connection, this means that you are on a 100Mb network from your router. I remember back in the old days when you had gigabit switch and if one of the devices was a 100Mb, it slowed the whole switch down, which means you cannot simply connect a gigabit switch to 100Mb router; you will need a gigabit router.
You can buy a separate gigabit Router and connect it to your existing Router thus separating the cable modem trouble from the router. You can then make the existing Modem/Router into a gateway so that its job becomes a modem only. Thus you can buy one of those fancy AC Wifi routers on the market to give you gigabit WIFI speeds.
Luckily my internet outages was resolved after a few days with a visit from the tech guy. Meanwhile I bought a switch and gave all my devices static IPs so my NAS was isolated from the modem/router. After testing a few new $200 routers, I decided that money was better spent on a WD Cloud
Now for those with laptops that don’t have a gigabit ethernet like the new Macbook Air, you have a couple of choises. Since they have the new WIFI-AC, you can get a new router like the Airport Extreme that replaces your modem/router. Although none of the other Apple devices like the iPhone or iPad supports AC at the moment, this will probably be supported in the future.
Your second choice is the USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet NIC Network Adapter which allows you to connect the gigabit ethernet; these are only $50 at your local Computer store.
Lastly there are those older Laptops that probably has a 100Mb ethernet with possibly A/G Wifi and not N. Just because you have Wifi, doesn’t mean you have N. With b and g, if you turn on your microwave to heat up your coffee, you just might interrupt your network. So if you have b and g, you are talking Mbits here and not even MBytes. It is somewhere in the neighborhood of 11Mbits/S which means about 1MB/s if you are lucky. With g you get about 54Mb/s which works out to about 4-6MB/s.
Just because you connect your 100Mb ethernet laptop to the gigabit Network doesn’t mean you will get gigabit speeds. Your old network card will still only go about 6-8MB/s even though it is rated at about 11MB/s max.
Most likely on your older laptop you have a USB 2.0 port. There is almost a solution to this other then buying a new computer and that is Belkin’s USB 2.0 to gigabit network adapter. Although your max rate of a USB 2.0 is 480Mbs and a gigabit ethernet is 1000Mbps, Belkin claims it can do gigabit. Even if it doesn’t and does 480Mbs, it is still probably better then a measley 100Mbs.
So there you have it… from end to end, which really has nothing and everything to do with the WD Cloud. Nothing meaning that it isn’t the fault of the WD Cloud and everything meaning that without a good gigabit ethernet network, you won’t enjoy the WD Cloud to its fullest.
reduce the number of connected devices on your router/switch to just your pc/mac and your WD Cloud. and reboot everything.
for your pc/mac make sure wifi is disable.
note: if you have a mixture of gigabit and 100Mb devices on your router/switch, your router/switch may default to 100Mb.
Checking what speed is your Ethernet Card on your computer
So everyone claims they have a gigabit ethernet card on their PC, so how do you tell?
On a Mac
click on system preferences
click on network
select Ethernet and it should show connected
click on Advanced…
select the hardware tab
it should show Speed: 1000baseT if you doing gigabit
On a PC
select control panel
select Change adapter settings
double click on Local Area Connection
it should show local area connection status with speed: 1Gbps
Mapping the Devices as a drive
This is how I’ve been using the NAS device by mapping the device as a local drive. SMB for Mac and Samba for PC’s. After mapping the shares as a drive, with the gigabit ethernet, the shares almost feels local.
On my Mac, once your WD Cloud is powered up
in finder, click Go
select connect to server
you should see wdmycloud, double click on this
you will see Connected as: Guest,
a. if you have already created users with access to certain shares then you must click on ‘Connect as’ and enter your userid and password.
- select the shares that you want to connect and they will show up on your desktop.
On the PC,
1, click on computer
click on map network drive
click on browse under “what network folder would you like to map”
click on WDMYCLOUD and if your shares has a userid and password, it will prompt you for it at this time
you will see all your shares, select the one you want, Public is the default start up share
click ok and click finish
you can now see the NAS as a mapped drive in your Computer (treat it just like a local drive).
Finally the problem with WD Cloud
Ok, now we can finally complain about the WD Cloud device itself.
WD, in all its wisdom, wants to sell you a Cloud device; rather then just a NAS or file server. What that means is that you get all your music, movies, files and photos via the network; this includes an iTunes server, Twonky and DLNA. In order to give you quick access to these media files, a couple of programs attempts to catalog and convert photos into tiny images, on your tiny NAS linux device with 2 CPUs that are running at about 600Mhz each. If you are lucky, after a couple of years, all your photos, music files and movies will be indexed in a hidden sub folder in every single folder that you have on the drive.
Now if you had an empty drive and you copied a couple of million photos, music or movies, your tiny little WD Cloud should be working hard at running through all your files and you should hearing clicking and clacking of the hard drive at work.
If you should decide to shut down the device at this time after copying the million media files… here is what happens when you reconnect…
The device will disconnect itself from the network
the device upon booting up will have a white light. Depending on the number of media files, your device might come back with a blue light after two years :P… or in some cases, it can come back after a short while (the definition of short while can be as short as half hour to years thereafter).
a second problem will manifest itself. After the blue light comes on and you managed to map out the device, everything you do is very sluggish. Your WEB/UI will be unresponsive and trying to look at your shares will show nothing in the directories. Then all of a sudden the device disconnects leaving you bewildered and frustrated as you repeat the steps of rebooting without properly shutting down the device because you cannot access it via the WEB/UI anymore. At this time you simply pull the power plug… and after plugging in the power, the white light stays on for years…
Now, in another post I have up, I SSH into the device and killed the processes that takes up the CPU time. Remember, I knew about these indexing process from my WD Live days so I knew that I had to shut these processes down. However what I did not know was that in killing the processes, I acidentally fixed the 2 problems that had been plaguing every user.
The Device becomes unresponsive after plugging in a USB drive
I’m not sure if the media gets indexed on a USB drive that already has data, however I do see a lot of processes running on the WD Cloud when a USB device is plugged in, again because I killed the processes, this problem also went away.
If your USB drive is empty, you will not have a problem. Also if you fill the USB drive through the WD Cloud shares, the indexing program should index your files simultaneously thus resolving any thrashing upon initial plugging in.
The lock up and thrashing occurs only if you have media on the drive that have not been scanned when you initially plug in your USB drive.
I had encountered this problem because I used the USB 3.0 port on my PC to fill the drive with data before plugging it into the WD Cloud which immediately caused the device to become unresponsive.
It will fix itself after the indexing is done
As the WD Staff will tell you, the process will eventually complete and your device will be fine after that. The problem occurs when you unplug and re-plug the device a few hundred times as well as throwing it out the window to fall 14 floors. At this time, after crazy gluing the pieces together, returning the device might be a good idea.
However I have read that it gets hunged up sometimes on a particular photo or media, which causes the scan to be 97% complete but never completes.
A Suggestion and Solution to WD
I do like the ability to see my thumbnail photos on my iPhone/iPad but just not all of them. As I’ve mentioned it in my other posts, I am a photographer and there are hundred of thousands junk photos that I need to keep for the client sake. However there are about 50 folders of good photos that I wish that I could have my Cloud device index and see within my iPhone/iPad photo app.
Although I don’t use DLNA, Twonky and the iTunes server, I can imagine the same that allowing the user to specify which folders are used for the media might be a good idea.
Also allowing the user to specify a time to do the indexing rather then this willy-nilly indexing that occurs everyday, every minute. I had the WD Live and before I stopped the scanning process, I swear that the device was clicking and clacking for over two years; never sleeping.
I have two other posts that solves these problems (for myself). If you are uncomfortable about voiding your warranty because they do involve SSH’ing into the device and making software changes, then don’t attempt these suggestions.
My workarounds is very simple and that is to disable the two processes immediately after plugging in your device and as soon as you can ssh into the device. Otherwise the scanning will resume and your device will soon disconnect shortly after.
update-rc.d wdphotodbmergerd disable
update-rc.d wdmcserverd disable
Conclusions and final notes
I’ve been researching Raids, File Servers and NAS devices for over two decades. In fact just prior to buying the two WD devices, I had bought a Vantec Raid devices with 4x2TB drives giving me 8TB of storage. The only problem with the Vantec Raid device was that it was only usable via the USB 3.0 port; thus requiring some sort of PC server to connect the drives to the network. Long story short… the Vantec Raid device is now on Craigslist looking for a new home.
The two WD drives are filled to the brim with photos, music, movies and ebooks. I have the WD Cloud app on my iPhone and iPad and I’ve on many occasions logged back to my drive looking for another book to read or to watch a movie. There are a few other Cloud drives out in the market, but WD Live got me first when I bought the drive from Costco thinking that after extensive testing that I would return it; that was two years ago.
If you think of the WD Cloud as a slow storage device after being use to USB 3.0 speeds of 120-140MB/s then it will make your purchase difficult to justify.
If you think of the WD Cloud as its name implies as a Cloud storage device, it begins to make sense that after you copy your data over that it is there in the clouds whenever you need it; or in my case over there on the bookshelf
Thanks for reading…
and I noticed that this forums has kudos, so if you have some to spare, click on the kudos for this post.
p.s. it has been a long 6 hours and I’ve proofread this post about a dozen times, thus if it is hard to read at certain points in the post as I wane and wax and change directions about a certain topic, I’ll fix this in the morning.