Western Digital My Cloud EX2 2-bay NAS Reviewby Ganesh T S on March 4, 2014 11:00 AM EST
The market for 2-bay and 4-bay NAS units has been growing at a much faster rate compared to other configurations. This trend is only expected to accelerate over the next few years. As the 'cloud' becomes a more common buzz-word, the time is ripe to educate the average consumer about the benefits of purchasing a NAS system. Western Digital is aiming to tap into this opportunity with the My Cloud product line. Having already introduced 1-bay and 4-bay variants, they are launching their 2-bay product, the EX2 today.
Western Digital has had a lot of experience supplying SMB NAS units with more than 2-bays, but those have been based on Microsoft's Windows Storage Server. On the consumer side, their attempts with a custom Debian-based embedded Linux NAS system were very functional and cost effective. We reviewed the WD My Cloud EX4 recently. Despite the feature-rich firmware, the design of the hardware platform (choice of SoC and I/O ports) brought down the performance. For the EX2, Western Digital has retained the same firmware / UI, but moved to a different hardware platform.
The specifications of the Western Digital My Cloud EX2 are given below:
|Western Digital My Cloud EX2 Specifications|
|Processor||Marvell ARMADA 370 (MV6710) (Single Core ARMv7 @ 1.2 GHz)|
|RAM||512 MB DDR3 RAM|
|Drive Bays||2x 3.5" SATA 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-swappable)|
|Network Links||1x 1 GbE|
|USB Slots||2x USB 3.0|
|VGA / Display Out||None|
|Full Specifications Link||Western Digital My Cloud EX2 Full Specificatios|
The EX2 runs a Linux kernel (v3.2.40). Other interesting aspects of the platform can be gathered after gaining SSH access into the unit.
In the rest of the review, we will cover the hardware aspects of the EX2 and provide some setup and usage impressions. This is followed by benchmarks in single and multi-client modes. For single client scenarios, we have both Windows and Linux benchmarks with CIFS and NFS shares. We will also have some performance numbers with encryption enabled. In the final section, power consumption numbers as well as RAID rebuild times will be covered along with some closing notes.
Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology
Our NAS reviews use either SSDs or hard drives depending on the unit under test. While rackmounts and units equipped with 10GbE capabilities use SSDs, the others use hard drives. The My Cloud EX2 was evaluated using two WD Re (WD4000FYYZ) drives to keep comparisons consistent across different NAS units. Evaluation of NAS performance under both single and multiple client scenarios was done using the SMB / SOHO NAS testbed we described earlier.
|AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration|
|Motherboard||Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB|
|CPU||2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L|
|Coolers||2 x Dynatron R17|
|Memory||G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30|
|OS Drive||OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB|
|Secondary Drive||OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB|
|Tertiary Drive||OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid (1TB HDD + 100GB NAND)|
|Other Drives||12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)|
|Network Cards||6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter|
|Chassis||SilverStoneTek Raven RV03|
|PSU||SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evoluion 850W|
|OS||Windows Server 2008 R2|
|Network Switch||Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200|
We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:
- Thanks to Intel for the Xeon E5-2630L CPUs and the ESA I-340 quad port network adapters
- Thanks to Asus for the Z9PE-D8 WS dual LGA 2011 workstation motherboard
- Thanks to Dynatron for the R17 coolers
- Thanks to G.Skill for the RipjawsZ 64GB DDR3 DRAM kit
- Thanks to OCZ Technology for the two 128GB Vertex 4 SSDs, twelve 64GB Vertex 4 SSDs and the RevoDrive Hybrid
- Thanks to SilverStone for the Raven RV03 chassis and the 850W Strider Gold Evolution PSU
- Thanks to Netgear for the ProSafe GSM7352S-200 L3 48-port Gigabit Switch with 10 GbE capabilities.
- Thanks to Western Digital for the two WD Re hard drives (WD4000FYYZ) to use in the NAS under test.