My Cloud Dashboard Improvements


#1

Here are some suggestions for improving the primary dashboard page of the My Cloud firmware, also called OS 3. An example is shown below, followed by commentary outlining each suggested change.

Change the dashboard size so it completely fills screens with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The width is currently 960px and changing it to 1024px should work, while maintaining compatibility for lower screen resolutions. This would facilitate better viewing on wide screen televisions, tablets, and mobile devices. Note: Not everyone wants “an app for that”, when a browser works just fine.

Reduce the CSS width attribute of the primary navigation icons so that scrolling is not necessary to reach the apps and settings icons. There is absolutely no reason why a user should be forced to scroll to access primary navigation items simply so the dashboard can have more whitespace to make it pretty. Also, reduce the whitespace between the primary navigation icons section and the rest of the dashboard page, making it equal to the whitespace between other sections. Why waste precious screen real estate?

Add the ability to monitor disk space for individual disks and/or volumes, a CRITICAL aspect of NAS management, especially when a JBOD configuration is used. The use of a vertical bar chart would allow the display of one or more drives, with only minor adjustments to the width of each bar being required for 1, 2, 3 or 4 drives. Also, the “Capacity” section should be displayed for ALL users, and not just those who use RAID and/or “The Cloud”.

Remove the sections of the dashboard that show the number of “Cloud Devices”, “Users” and “Apps”, or at least relocate them to a less prominent position within the pages of the dashboard. The space can then be occupied by CPU and RAM utilization, which are much more important system metrics to monitor. In addition, the fan speed and system temperatures should be shown.

The arrow URL on the “Diagnostics” section of the primary dashboard should link to the “System Diagnostics” section/page of the dashboard, which is much more intuitive and less cumbersom (clicky) than having a diagnostics popup and a diagnostics page.

Change the color of the “Movies” icon from red to purple (or some other color). The color red should ONLY be used to indicate that there is a problem. This way it’s more likely to immediately call a users attention to any areas which need to be addressed.

If possible, keep a running log of the network, CPU and RAM activity for the last 15-20 minutes. This way the user can immediately see a brief history of activities, rather than having to wait for them to appear on the screen. The display can keep refreshing as it does now, showing current activity progress starting at the end of the existing logs, or the beginning of each display graph.

Give the user a choice of 2 or more color schemes to use, which is easily accomplished using CSS. For example: Some people (myself included) like dark color schemes because they are easy on the eyes, especially in a dimly lit room. By contrast, other people like light color schemes.

In addition to making the changes above, I strongly suggest updating all software and packages within the firmware to the newest versions possible. This will not only enhance security, but it may also solve many problems before they occur.

Afterwards, you could call it My Cloud OS 4.

Further reading:
https://www.geckoboard.com/blog/4-essential-steps-to-designing-a-dashboard-that-inspires-action/
https://www.geckoboard.com/blog/designing-and-building-dashboards-data-visualisations/


App Store - No Available Apps - Firmware 2.30.165
WD My Cloud PR4100 - My Conclusion
Change Volume Name
WD PR4100 Capacity Display
MyCloud Dashboard Space Overview (incorrect and looking strange)
#2

Idea status: Acknowledge

Approved for voting.


#3

Lately, I’ve begun to take a serious interest in examining the inner workings of the GPL firmware source code for my WD PR4100 NAS, largely because I really like the hardware, so from this point forward I will post my findings here, rather than scattering them across various forums. In the mean time, here are some additional observations and suggestions.

As I continue to examine the firmware, I’m beginning to realize that it needs a lot of work. That being said, I suggest taking a serious look at the My Cloud OS and attempt to bring it into the 21st century. The hardware seems to have vast untapped potential, but the software all but cripples it.

Look at what users keep asking for, time and time again. Give them some flexibility and the power to make these devices perform the way they want or need them to. Give advanced users the ability to make persistent changes and/or run their own custom scheduling for things like cron jobs, with the ability to disable existing cron jobs, processes, etc… as required.

Stop dumbing everything down to the point that it becomes almost useless. If you want to continue catering to basic users, as you should do, then simply include an advanced mode that can be turned on/off to enable/disable advanced and more powerful functionality.

Take a serious look at your primary competetors and see what they are doing, which I’m sure you may have already done. More importantly, look at the user response to competetor offerings, particularly that which involves their software. Your competetors are not without their own self-induced problems, but for the most part it looks like they are eating your lunch. At least in the software department.

Lastly, whatever you do, NEVER do stuff like running indexing or thumbnail generation services on devices which are sometimes underpowered to begin with. If you need certain services for cloud-based functionality, then do it server-side, not on the client device. Also, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do things like enabling secret hardware encryption that often results in the complete loss of all data if the drive enclosure fails. All this serves to do is erode what little trust users still have in you. And once that trust is gone, it’s all but impossible to get it back.


#4

It goes without saying that software should be kept up to date to minimize problems and enhance security, but telling people to keep their firmware up to date while the underlying packages are likely riddled with bugs and security holes seems ludicrous. Granted, there are many valid reasons why one might choose not to use the latest versions, largely due to compatibility issues and the complexity of rolling out changes across an entire product line. However, there is a point in time where this becomes an invalid argument.

Shown below is the firmware which I’ve been examining, followed by some of the more important software it contains. Note that variations of this same firmware are used on other My Cloud models (EX, DL, etc), although I don’t know what the exact differences may be.

WD My Cloud PR4100 NAS Firmware:
Firmware Version: WD MyCloud PR4100 GPL v2.21.126 (11/10/2016)
Source: http://downloads.wdc.com/gpl/WDMyCloud_PR4100_GPL_v2.21.126_20161110.zip

Linux Kernel:
Running: Linux Kernel Version 4.1.13 (11/9/2015)
Current: Linux Kernel Version 4.10.2 (03/12/2017)
Source: https://www.kernel.org/

Busybox:
Running: Busybox 1.20.2 (07/02/2012)
Current: BusyBox 1.26.2 (01/10/2017)
Source: https://busybox.net/

MySQL:
Running: MySQL 5.1.56 (02/12/2011)
Current: MySQL 5.7.16 (09/29/2016)
Source: https://www.mysql.com/

SQLite:
Running: SQLite 3.6.14.1 (05/19/2009)
Current: SQLite 3.17.0 (02/13/2017)
Source: https://www.sqlite.org/

Python:
Running: Python 2.7.0 (07/03/2010)
Current: Python 3.5.3 (01/17/2017)
Source: https://www.python.org/

Perl:
Running: Perl 5.10.0 (12/18/2007)
Current: Perl 5.25.10 (02/20/2017)
Source: https://www.perl.org/

PHP:
Running: PHP 5.4.16 (05/09/2013)
Current: PHP 7.1.2 (02/17/2017)
Source: https://secure.php.net/

Samba:
Running: Samba 4.0.9 (08/20/2013)
Current: Samba 4.6.0 (03/07/2017)
Source: https://www.samba.org/


#5

The storage section of the dashboard seems to go out of its way to mention RAID. However, it’s very confusing for some users.

Case in point, here’s a recent thread where I helped a new WD PR4100 user who was seeking to setup a JBOD configuration. The “Change RAID Mode” button had misled them into thinking it was only for setting up RAID volumes. The same had happened to me, and I’m a very experienced computer user. With this in mind, something I stated in the thread bears repeating here… Who’s going to click a button that says “Change RAID Mode” when they’re looking for JBOD?

The “RAID” section actually contains volumes, where RAID or JBOD are attributes of volumes. Therefore, I suggest changing it to simply say “Volumes”.


#6

Cloud Access is disabled on my WD PR4100 NAS.

Is there any point in showing the Cloud Access icon when access is disabled? It’s also potentially confusing because a user may have previously disabled Cloud Access, then later decides to enable it. With the icon present, a user is very likely to expect that’s the place to enable it.

An alternative solution, one that’s far more intuitive, is to simply move all cloud-related settings to the Cloud Access section.


#7

I had planned to suggest changing the Hibernate menu option to Shutdown, until I found the following nugget on the WD support website.

[quote]The Shutdown option on the Dashboard of multi-bay My Cloud products has been renamed to Hibernate.

To effectively perform a shutdown of the unit, please follow the steps below:

  1. Select Hibernate from the drop-down menu.
  2. Once the drive is in hibernation mode, disconnect the ethernet cable from the unit.The unit will now power off. In order to restart the unit, it’s necessary to remove and reconnect the power cable.
  3. On some models, it may be necessary to press the power button after reconnecting the power cable, in order to boot the device such as the My Cloud EX4, My Cloud EX4100 or a My Cloud PR4100.[/quote]

Quote from: http://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/answer.aspx?ID=13837

So when I want to turn off the NAS, rather than simply clicking Shutdown, I have to go through a multi-step procedure which involves disconnecting/reconnecting the network cables AND disconnecting/reconnecting the power cord?

Perhaps they never thought of this, but many people (myself included) are prone to putting these things in places where it’s not quite so easy to access the connecting cables. It’s also CONFUSING. How so? If someone wants to turn off their NAS, they’re going to look for Shutdown, not Hibernate.

UPDATE: I just noticed that after clicking “Hibernate” from the dashboard, the status display on the front of the NAS says “System is shutting down”. Is it hibernating or shutting down?

It’s probably pointless, but I’m going to suggest it anyway. Change Hibernate back to Shutdown.


#8

The hard drive S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) data displayed by the WD My Cloud dashboard isn’t very meaningful.

To the average user, it looks like everything is fine, the data is shown and there don’t seem to be any problems. That’s all peachy keen except for one small detail, the most important value to monitor is the RAW_VALUE for each S.M.A.R.T. attribute, but the RAW_VALUE is not shown…

UPDATE: It seems that the RAW_VALUE was originally displayed, but was removed (commented out) for some unknown reason.

For comparison, the following example is the S.M.A.R.T. data for the same hard drive shown in the example above, except that the RAW_VALUE is included. Suddenly, the data becomes meaningful.

 ID ATTRIBUTE_NAME          VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     200   200   051    Pre-fail  0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            159   149   021    Pre-fail  11041
  4 Start_Stop_Count        100   100   000    Old_age   530
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   200   200   140    Pre-fail  0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         100   253   000    Old_age   0
  9 Power_On_Hours          087   087   000    Old_age   9839

As you can see, the Raw_Read_Error_Rate is 0, the Spin_Up_Time is 11,041 milliseconds, the Start_Stop_Count is 530, the Reallocated_Sector_Ct is 0, the Seek_Error_Rate is 0, and the Power_On_Hours are 9,839. A far cry from the meaningless values shown in the first example.

Therefore, I strongly suggest including the RAW_VALUE in the dashboard S.M.A.R.T. data display so that users will have the information they need to monitor the health of their hard drives.

More information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.


#9

I do a lot of video transcoding, and my favorite tool to use is Handbrake.

Currently, video transcoding requires me to read the source video from the NAS, transcode it, then write the resulting transcoded video to the desktop computer’s local hard drive, then copy it to the NAS. Alternatively, I could write the transcoded video directly to a target folder on the NAS, but read/write video transcoding operations tend to create excessive network traffic.

Normally, all my video transcoding is done on a desktop computer equipped with an Intel Core i7 quad core CPU with hyper-threading technology. The WD PR4100 NAS is equipped with a 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium N3710 quad-core processor (burst speed of up to 2.56 GHz), 4 GB of DDR3L of RAM (expandable to 16GB), and built-in hardware transcoding. With these specifications, the NAS would be ideal for video transcoding, albeit a bit slower than my desktop computer, but there isn’t “an app for that”.

That being said, I’d like to suggest that a Handbrake app be made available. Handbrake is open source and a command line version is available for Linux, so it should be possible, at least in theory.

Handbrake website: https://handbrake.fr/


#10

File management is part of the most basic functionality that most NAS users will require, yet the Web File Viewer is buried under the Apps section, almost as if it were tacked on as an afterthought.

In addition, the Web File Viewer is extremely cumbersome to use for anything but managing a few files and/or folders. It’s also not very intuitive, especially when compared with more traditional file managers. Web-based, or otherwise.

Also, the Web File Viewer appears to generate a background process or job when files are moved or copied. However, the only indication that anything is happening is an “Updating…” overlay on the dashboard. If the dashboard page is refreshed or the browser is closed, no futher indication is given that a background job is in progress.

I suggest moving the Web File Viewer out of the Apps section, and giving it a top-level menu icon. This would also afford the space required to provide a more traditional (and intuitive) file manager with two primary panes. Top-level folders on the left, and subfolders/files on the right. A jobs or progress indicator should also be added to the top navigation bar, so that users will know the status of file management operations which are running.

Lastly, the name “Web File Viewer” is somewhat of a misnomer because one can do much more than merely view files. Perhaps the name “File Manager” might be a more apt title to use.


#11

The drive sleep functionality doesn’t seem to work properly, and the default setting is far too short, which only serves to needlessly increase the Load_Cycle_Count for all installed hard drives and shorten their overall life expectancy.

Many users have requested more options to configure the drive sleep timeout setting, yet nothing has been done about it. And I don’t understand why because it would only require the addition of a dropdown list box to the dashboard and a few minor code tweaks here and there.

Therefore, I suggest adding a number of drive sleep timeout options: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours.

Before:

After:


Drive Sleep Timeout
#12

I’m in the process of replacing two of my WD 2TB drives with 4TB drives. The drives being replaced are located in slots/bays one (Volume_1) and two (Volume_2). All volumes use a non-spanned JBOD configuration.

Volume_2 is being replaced first because I believe that portions of the OS may reside on Volume_1, so I’m not certain what will happen when it’s replaced. Therefore, I want to ensure that all data it contains is safely copied to the new Volume_2 drive, just in case. If all goes well, I can simply delete the Volume_1 data from Volume_2 when the process is complete. The new 4TB drive was placed in slot/bay two and a new JBOD volume (Volume_2) was created without any problems.

Slot/bay three is currently empty because it’s drive was having problems unrelated to the NAS. I was curious to see what would happen if the former 2TB drive (old Volume_2) were inserted into slot/bay three. The system appeared to behave normally, generating the usual “busy” message as it examined the drive (old Volume_2) that was just inserted into slot/bay three. However, this time the following message appeared, which seems very odd because all drives are JBOD, not RAID.

I opted to click “Cancel”, despite the ominous sounding message, because I hoped this option would not make changes to the drive, at least not until I had copied the data to the new Volume_2 drive in slot/bay two. Afterwards, things seemed to be ok and all data is accessible. However, the LED status indicator now says “RAID roaming enabled” and the indicator LED light for slot/bay three is red, instead of blue.

UPDATE: I rebooted the NAS to see what would happen, and the “RAID Roaming” message reappeared. This time I clicked “OK” because I had safely copied my data to the newly installed hard drive (Volume_2). After a brief wait, the drive (Volume_3) status indicator light changed from red to blue, and everything else appeared to be normal. Also, all data on the drive (Volume_3) seemed to be unaffected.

Curiously, the manual makes no mention of “RAID roaming”, nor was much useful information found online. Also, once one clicks “Cancel”, there does not appear to be an option of going back to this point and clicking “Ok” to “integrate” the drive, whatever that means.

Since I only use JBOD, displaying a “RAID roaming” message makes absolutely no sense. Hence, I strongly suggest altering this fuctionality to make it more clear. Perhaps “Volume roaming” might make more sense? And for Pete’s sakes, put something about it in the manual.


#13

The math formula used by the dashboard to calculate the usage number of the Share Profile (under Shares) is wrong.

For example, it shows the following incorrect values. Correct values shown in parentheses.

1000GB (1.000TB)
1010GB (1.010TB)
1023GB (1.023TB)
1TB (1.024TB)

My math skills are a little rusty, so I found a website (TB to GB Conversion) that does a good job of explaining the actual math calculations. The difference all boils down to the following.

1 TB = 1000 GB (in decimal)
1 TB = 1024 GB (in binary)




#14

While using the “Copy” method of “Internal Backups” to move files and folders from one share to another, I recently discovered a bug which causes certain sub-folders to be omitted from the destination. The file counts were accurate, and further testing revealed that it only seems to affect empty folders.

Here is an actual example of a test I performed and it’s corresponding result. There were no errors and the system logs do not show any indication of problems. As you can see, FOLDER_5 is omitted from the destination.

Source:
SHARE_1\FOLDER_1\FOLDER_2\FOLDER_3\FOLDER_4\FOLDER_5

Destination:
SHARE_2\INTERNAL_BACKUP\SHARE_1\FOLDER_1\FOLDER_2\FOLDER_3\FOLDER_4

The issue also affects backups to and from the NAS via a USB connected drive. In this instance, my test folder contained a total of 188 nested sub-folders, but only 61 of them made it to the destination.

Backups are among the most IMPORTANT tasks one must perform, so I suggest fixing this problem… QUICKLY.


#15

To guard against crypto ransomware and other threats, I recently created a new user account and granted it “Read Only” access to the shares/files stored on my NAS. However, I was horrified to discover that this user account has network (Samba) “Read/Write” access to the recycle bins for ALL shares.

In this case, I believe that the logged in user account should have the same permissions that are granted to the share which the Recycle Bin is associated with.

For Example:

SHARE_1 (Read Only)
SHARE_1_RECYCLED (Read Only)

SHARE_2 (Deny Access)
SHARE_2_RECYCLED (Deny Access)

SHARE_3 (Read / Write)
SHARE_3_RECYCLED (Read / Write)

This is a HUGE security vulnerability, so I suggest fixing it ASAP.


#16

As an added security measure, one of the first things I do is change the default user name from “admin” to something else. However, the login page pre-fills the user name field for the admin user account. Note: This behavior is persistent, even after clearing the browser cache and cookies.

To a would-be attacker, knowing the username is half the battle, so I suggest leaving the user name field blank. If a user forgets the user name, a 5 second reset is easy enough to perform, which also requires physical access to the device.


#17

The My Cloud OS uses malformed XML (config.xml) to store configuration settings. While it may work in many instances, it can cause any number of obscure problems.

Specifically, elements within the <crond></crond> section violate the XML syntax/naming rules. In other words, element names can’t start with a number.

  1. Element names are case-sensitive.
  2. Element names must start with a letter or underscore.
  3. Element names can’t start with the letters xml (or XML, or Xml, etc).
  4. Element names can contain letters, digits, hyphens, underscores, and periods.
  5. Element names can’t contain spaces.

In addition, the XML prolog (<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>) is missing. While the W3C XML rules state that the XML prolog is optional, it’s generally a good idea to include it. The developers should also learn to properly indent elements or use an XML beautifier, which makes XML 1000% easier to read.

Incorrect:

<crond>
	<list>
		<count>6</count>
		<name id="1">stime</name>
		<name id="2">wd_crontab</name>
		<name id="3">fw_available</name>
		<name id="4">app_get_info</name>
		<name id="5">recycle_bin_clear</name>
		<name id="6">chk_wfs_download</name>
	</list>
	<stime>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
		<method>3</method>
		<1>30</1>
		<2>2</2>
		<3>*</3>
		<4>*</4>
		<5>*</5>
		<run>/usr/sbin/stime&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</stime>
	<wd_crontab>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
		<method>3</method>
		<1>0</1>
		<2>3</2>
		<3>*</3>
		<4>*</4>
		<5>*</5>
		<run>wd_crontab.sh&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</wd_crontab>
	<fw_available>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
		<method>3</method>
		<1>0</1>
		<2>3</2>
		<3>*</3>
		<4>*</4>
		<5>*</5>
		<run>auto_fw -c 1&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</fw_available>
	<app_get_info>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
		<method>3</method>
		<1>0</1>
		<2>4</2>
		<3>*</3>
		<4>*</4>
		<5>*</5>
		<run>auto_fw -a -c&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</app_get_info>
	<recycle_bin_clear>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
			<method>3</method>
			<1>0</1>
			<2>0</2>
			<3>*</3>
			<4>*</4>
			<5>*</5>
			<run>auto_clear_recycle_bin.sh &amp;</run>
		</item>
	</recycle_bin_clear>
	<chk_wfs_download>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
		<method>3</method>
		<1>30</1>
		<2>3</2>
		<3>*</3>
		<4>*</4>
		<5>*</5>
		<run>/usr/sbin/chk_wfs_download&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</chk_wfs_download>
</crond>

Correct:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<crond>
	<list>
		<count>6</count>
		<name id="1">stime</name>
		<name id="2">wd_crontab</name>
		<name id="3">fw_available</name>
		<name id="4">app_get_info</name>
		<name id="5">recycle_bin_clear</name>
		<name id="6">chk_wfs_download</name>
	</list>
	<stime>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
			<method>3</method>
			<name id="1">30</name>
			<name id="2">2</name>
			<name id="3">*</name>
			<name id="4">*</name>
			<name id="5">*</name>
			<run>/usr/sbin/stime&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</stime>
	<wd_crontab>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
			<method>3</method>
			<name id="1">0</name>
			<name id="2">3</name>
			<name id="3">*</name>
			<name id="4">*</name>
			<name id="5">*</name>
			<run>wd_crontab.sh&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</wd_crontab>
	<fw_available>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
			<method>3</method>
			<name id="1">0</name>
			<name id="2">3</name>
			<name id="3">*</name>
			<name id="4">*</name>
			<name id="5">*</name>
			<run>auto_fw -c 1&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</fw_available>
	<app_get_info>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
			<method>3</method>
			<name id="1">0</name>
			<name id="2">4</name>
			<name id="3">*</name>
			<name id="4">*</name>
			<name id="5">*</name>
			<run>auto_fw -a -c&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</app_get_info>
	<recycle_bin_clear>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
			<method>3</method>
			<name id="1">0</name>
			<name id="2">0</name>
			<name id="3">*</name>
			<name id="4">*</name>
			<name id="5">*</name>
			<run>auto_clear_recycle_bin.sh &amp;</run>
		</item>
	</recycle_bin_clear>
	<chk_wfs_download>
		<count>1</count>
		<item id="1">
			<method>3</method>
			<name id="1">30</name>
			<name id="2">3</name>
			<name id="3">*</name>
			<name id="4">*</name>
			<name id="5">*</name>
			<run>/usr/sbin/chk_wfs_download&amp;</run>
		</item>
	</chk_wfs_download>
</crond>

This can be verified by saving a copy of the config.xml file and opening it in a browser. In my case, the latest version of Firefox was used. Alternatively, the W3C Markup Validation Service can be used.

I suggest fixing this ASAP, or eventually it will come back and bite you when you least expect it.


#18

Cloud access has been disabled on my PR4100 NAS since day one. However, I logged into the dashboard to change a setting and noticed that it had mysteriously turned itself back on. It failed to connect to the internet because I have it blocked with a hardware firewall.

I tried to turn it back off, but despite my best efforts, it remains on. Rebooting the NAS seems to briefly fix it, but the behavior returns within a short period of time.

This behavior is highly suspicious. While it may very well be a bug, it causes me a great deal of concern. I want NOTHING to do with the cloud, so I suggest fixing this ASAP.


#19

After rebooting the WD My Cloud PR4100 NAS, the login page displayed the following message: “Power was lost from the system. Performing file system consistency check. Please wait.”. There was also excessive hard drive activity, likely due to the unnecessary “file system consistency check” that was being performed. I could not log in until the process had completed.

The external LED display also showed the message: “Power loss detected on port 1”.

Fortunately, rebooting the NAS for a second time seems to have returned things to normal, but the growing list of problems I’ve discovered has caused me to second guess purchasing this over-priced ($500 USD) piece of hardware with the worst software I’ve ever seen.


#20

While trying to resolve the previously mentioned “Cloud Access” enabled issue, I decided to see what would happen if I rebooted the NAS and deliberately enabled “Cloud Access”, if only for a brief period of time.

Almost immediately, my normally semi-quiet NAS began thrashing all hard drives with more disk activity than I had ever seen. The CPU utilization rate also spiked to approximately 70% of maximum. I was curious to see what processes were involved, so I fired up an SSH connection so I could run atop to see what was going on behind the scenes.

As it turns out, the dreaded wdmcserver process had suddenly appeared, along with some sort of a convert process. Further investigation revealed that hidden .wdmc folders had been created for each share, and the sudden spike in activity has yet to cease. The capacity doughnut is back too, except this was expected after I was able to confirm that it’s intentionally disabled for non-cloud users. Oh really?

It seems that the wdmcserver and convert processes are creating wdmc.db SQLite databases, in addition to “transcoding” every “media” file on my NAS, whether I want them to or not. In other words, thousands upon thousands of hidden thumbnail images, etc, etc, etc are being generated. Seriously? I thought I had rid myself of this problem when I returned the Synology and QNAP NAS boxes, but now I find that WD is doing it too.

The proper thing to do would be to give people a choice of whether or not to do any “transcoding” and/or thumbnail generation. The need to generate a database of file types is understandable because the capacity display requires them, but the remaining “hidden” files are a waste of space for non-cloud users. People have been complaining about the wdmcserver process for years, so I will not waste my time making any suggestions about it. Rather, I will simply say this…

Mark my words… when I am done, there will be no trace of this garbage or the programs that generate it on my NAS, and I will have an excellent multi-volume capacity display to boot.