Single Client Performance - CIFS and iSCSI on Windows

The single client CIFS performance of the WD My Cloud EX2 was evaluated on the Windows platforms using Intel NASPT and our standard robocopy benchmark. This was run from one of the virtual machines in our NAS testbed. All data for the robocopy benchmark on the client side was put in a RAM disk (created using OSFMount) to ensure that the client's storage system shortcomings wouldn't affect the benchmark results.

WD My Cloud EX2 CIFS Performance - Windows

We created a 250 GB iSCSI target and mapped it on the Windows VM. The same benchmarks were run and the results are presented below.

WD My Cloud EX2 iSCSI Performance - Windows

Encryption Support Evaluation:

Consumers looking for encryption capabilities can opt to encrypt a iSCSI share with TrueCrypt or some in-built encryption mechanism in the client OS. However, if requirements dictate that the data must be shared across multiple users / computers, relying on encryption in the NAS is the best way to move forward. Most NAS vendors use the industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption algorithm. One approach is to encrypt only a particular shared folder while the other approach is to encrypt the full volume. Some NAS vendors have support for both approaches in their firmware, but Western Digital only opts for the latter.

On the hardware side, encryption support can be in the form of specialized hardware blocks in the SoC (common in ARM / PowerPC based NAS units). The ARMADA 370 has a 1 Gbps security engine which should accelerate AES operations, but the benchmark numbers below don't point to the utilization of any available hardware acceleration. We enabled encryption on a volume and created a CIFS share to repeat our Intel NASPT / robocopy benchmarks. The results are presented in the graph below (with the unencrypted volume numbers for comparison purposes).

WD My Cloud EX2 Encryption Performance - Windows

Encryption carries a very big performance penalty (about 5x slower, which is much more than what we saw for the EX4). It looks like there is some scope for improvement in this aspect, particularly if the current firmware is not taking advantage of the security engine in the SoC.

Hardware Aspects and Usage Impressions Single Client Performance - CIFS and NFS on Linux


View All Comments

  • hlmcompany - Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - link

    The article states: "The Western Digital My Cloud EX2 is bundled with a 36 W(12V @ 3A) adapter. A power cord (customized to the country of sale) and a network cable are included in the package." The EX2 units do not include a power cord. The 36 watt power adapter is a fixed-plug wallwart-style unit. The comment about a power cord seems to be left-over from the EX4 review. Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the note. I have fixed the relevant text. Reply
  • redmist77 - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    I refuse to buy any product with cloud in the name. Reply
  • romrunning - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    Well, that just kills my idea for "Cloud-soft" (tm pending) toilet paper! Reply
  • futbol4me - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    One very useful non-geeky benchmark would be time machine backup performance. I have a mybook live and while it may read and write files with decent performance via afs or smb, time machine backups are almost unuseably slow. Reply
  • teich50 - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    Has anyone figured out how to perform an encrypted Time Machine backup to My Cloud? I think, by default, the Time Machine back up writes to the Guest account with no encryption, which is scary. Reply
  • Atty - Sunday, March 9, 2014 - link

    What is your recommendation on hard drive choice? For this to be used to share and store mainly media files and stream them to various devices. Would it be worth the investment to get the re4 drives or are the red drives suitable? Reply
  • Cybernut1 - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    Red drives are recommended.For a home or small office setup Re drives are overkill. Re drivesare geared towards data centers. WD recommends Red for most common uses for this product though they will support select few other drives. Here's the full list of supported drives - Reply
  • Cybernut1 - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    The couple big issues for me with this having used it for a week are:

    1) Currently the ftp functionality is broken (if you are trying to ftp from outside your local network - which is almost 100% of the time). Broken because you cannot save your external IP for passive ftp to work and that is critical. It keeps resetting the external IP value to I have a trouble ticket open with their tech support but ETA for fix is unknown at this time.

    2) There does not seem to be any way for sftp - which is really a reason for many to get this. Even if you can get ftp to work (by going into the shell and making unsanctioned edit to the ftp configuration file), you cannot really do much about sftp. I am used to creating sftp via shell access for work - but here when you try to create an user in the embedded lightweight linux, that user cannot login to the shell no matter what privs you give that user. And without a remote way to ssh into the box, you can't do scp or sftp. So their marketing claim about "Secure FTP support" on this page -> (click on Advanced Serving tab) is rubbish.
  • jmm317 - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    I found WD My Clound EX2 and was happy because I bought this was a great idea and a perfect solution. I found the product has several problems that makes this product useless. The problem is the following. The unit CPU work 24/7 at 100% because it has issues with a process name "Convert" that tries to create thumbs to media files. The problem I´m experimenting it not an isolated case, you can find in WD Community lots of people having the same problem. WD is aware of the problem for a while and has not find a solution (firmware update) or doesn´t care.

    This problem:
    - Not been able to access the unit.
    - When you have access the unit crashes.
    - Difficulty to access files.
    - Continually crashes and need to be restart.

    WD should stop selling My Clound EX2 and start a refund process.

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