Western Digital MyBook World Edition NAS server review: Western Digital MyBook World Edition NAS server
Western Digital MyBook World Edition NAS server
The Western Digital MyBook World Edition looks exactly like its desktop brethren, the MyBook Premium Edition, save for its glossy white exterior, reminiscent of the traditional iPod case. The MyBook World Edition sits vertically and is designed to resemble a book. The edges of the "pages" are marked with a series of dots and dashes--Morse code--that do double duty as a passive cooling feature. On the spine of the "book" sits a power button surrounded by two blue LED rings. The inner ring is a capacity gauge, while the outer ring flashes to indicate activity.
The back edge houses a Gigabit Ethernet port for connecting to your router, a USB port for attaching an external hard drive, a power port, a pinhole reset button, and a Kensington lock. Setting up the drive is simple: just connect the drive to a LAN port on your router using an Ethernet cable, connect the power cable, and plug it in. Once it's fully powered on (which takes about 3 minutes), use the included CD to install the WD Anywhere Access software and the EMC Retrospect Backup software.
The regular MyBook World Edition drive houses a single 500GB hard drive, but the MyBook World Edition II houses two 500GB drives (for a total of 1TB); the larger version is RAID-capable as well.
Once you've installed the included software, the drive should be mapped as a drive letter on your system, and you should be able to access its contents as if it were a local drive. On each PC on which you install the backup software, you can set one-off or regular backups of files and folders. The EMC software will also let you restore your files in case of a system failure.
The compelling feature of the MyBook World Edition NAS drive is the Anywhere Access software. Lots of NAS drives currently on the market advertise easy remote access, but implement that feature in a number of ways--some more convenient than others. Most of the true anytime/anywhere products ask you to open ports on your router and configure dynamic DNS services--not for the faint of heart. The Maxtor Fusion Personal Web Server is one such device. Others use a more kludgey workaround that requires you to upload the files you want to access to a "cloud," that is, a designated Web server. While this option is easy to implement, it requires a bit of forethought and planning to make sure the files you want will be accessible.
The MyBook World Edition's implementation is dead simple and offers a good compromise of the two above strategies. Western Digital has partnered with a remote-access software company called MioNet. MioNet has a product that allows users to access remote drives and PCs as if those devices were on a local network--similar to GoToMyPC and LogMeIn. MioNet has created a customized version for the MyBook World Edition that works similarly to its own offering. When you first install the drive, you'll use the included CD to install the software on your PC. Then, on each subsequent PC from which you would like to remotely access your MyBook World Edition--your work PC, for example--you'll need to install the software as well (each drive comes with five free installation licenses, available from MioNet's site) and indicate that you're adding the PC to an existing network. On each remote PC, you'll have the MyBook Anywhere Access control pane, where you'll see the available devices on your network. Now, you can access and use the MyBook as if it were installed locally.
When it comes to sharing the contents of your MyBook World Edition drive, the process is also simple, but there are limitations. To share, simply click the Share tab and pick the folders or files you want others to access. If the person is a MioNet user, she'll receive an alert of a new share. Non-MioNet users will get an e-mail with a URL. You can set read/write permissions, as well. Unfortunately, you can't share every type of file, and the list of unsupported file types is rather long.
A couple of features that the MyBook World Edition is missing are a print server and a media server. These two features are increasingly common on NAS drives and allow users to print across a network or stream media files that are stored centrally. After all, a NAS drive that lets all users store media files (among other file types) should allow for easy playback to a digital media adapter and television.
Despite the ease with which you can access and share files remotely, the Western Digital MyBook World Edition unfortunately falls a bit short with data transfer speeds. Over a local network, the drive took 31 minutes, 30 seconds to write a 5GB folder of mixed file types, and 30 minutes, 13 seconds to read it back. The next slowest drive to write the folder--the Buffalo TeraStation Home Server--was still five minutes faster with that task. If the easy remote access is important to you and you can live with the slow transfer speeds, this drive is a good choice. But if you need faster transfers, check out the HP Media Vault.
(Shorter bars indicate faster performance)
|5GB read test (min:sec)
|5GB write test (min:sec)
*Tested in RAID 0 mode
**Tested in RAID 5 mode
Service and support
Western Digital backs the MyBook World Edition with a generous three-year warranty. Toll-free phone support is available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT, Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Western Digital's site also offers e-mail to tech support, FAQs, a searchable knowledgebase, and downloads.