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Western Digital unveils improved home NAS server

Western Digital adds performance, features, and ease of use to its all new My Book World Edition NAS server.

The new My Book World Edition NAS server. Western Digital

I've complained before that network-attached storage (NAS) devices are just not easy enough to use. Most NAS servers further complicate the matter by offering a lot more than just simple plug-and-play network storage, which is what novice home users look for.

So far, I haven't seen any vendor do this right; however, Western Digital's newest NAS server might just be the first one.

The company introduced on Wednesday its newly redesigned, updated version of the My Book World Edition NAS server that offers plug-and-play installation and automatic continuous backup.

The new My Book World Edition comes in both 1TB and 2TB versions and is designed for those who have multiple computers on a home network. It works with both PC and Mac computers. Featuring Western Digital's GreenPower hard drive, the new NAS is also slated to use up to 33 percent less energy than the previous model.

The plug-and-play feature is the focus of the new NAS. Western Digital claims that you just need to plug the new NAS into the home network's router, click a few buttons on your computer, and you're done. The new My Book World Edition also works when you plug directly into a computer's network port. I witnessed a demo where the NAS appeared as a drive almost immediately when plugged into a Macbook.

Other than that, the new My Book World Edition also comes with much higher performance than the previous version and has a long list of network features, including the ability to share a digital media library.

Music, photos, and videos stored on the new My Book World Edition can be streamed to any PC, Mac, or connected DLNA or UPnP-enabled media player (such as Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game consoles, wireless digital pictures frames, or TVs). You can also access the new My Book World Edition fairly easily over the Internet via the included and free MioNet service.

It's worth noticing, however, the new My Book World Edition, like the previous version, comes only in a single drive. This means you won't be able to set up RAID array in case of hard-drive failure.

The new My Book World Edition, therefore, by itself works better as a backup device than a network storage, where you can store the only copy of your data. To make up for this, the device features a USB 2.0 port that can be used to host an external hard drive, which can be used as the backup of the NAS server.

The new My Book World Edition is expected later this month and costs $229.99 and $449.99 for the 1TB and 2TB versions.