WD My Cloud DL2100 8TB

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - An­drew Har­ri­son

Western Dig­i­tal is best known as a man­u­fac­turer of hard disks, but is be­com­ing recog­nised for its com­plete stor­age so­lu­tions and in par­tic­u­lar net­work at­tached stor­age (NAS).

Two new se­ries of NAS drives were launched this year, both bear­ing the es­tab­lished My Cloud name, adding two mod­els to the Ex­pert Se­ries for home users; and a new Busi­ness Se­ries for small en­ter­prises. Fol­low­ing the two-bay EX2100 from the EX Se­ries we now fo­cus on its Busi­ness coun­ter­part, the My Cloud DL2100.

The DL2100 shares an al­most iden­ti­cal chas­sis with the EX2100, and viewed from most an­gles you can’t tell them apart with­out read­ing the printed name.

They do dif­fer in the type of pro­ces­sor. The EX se­ries uses ARM Marvell chips, while the DL units have bud­get Atom pro­ces­sors from In­tel. In the case of the DL2100, we have a 1.7GHz In­tel Atom C2350, a dual-core based on a 22nm die. It in­cludes 1GB mem­ory, and un­like the EX2100 is up­grade­able to 5GB.

Again we see the in­clu­sion of two USB 3.0 ports – one front, one back and two eth­er­net ports that can be con­fig­ured for bond­ing or failover. To help add con­fi­dence for busi­nesses need­ing as­sured up­time, the DL2100 adds a sec­ond DC power in­put. There is one ex­ter­nal 48W sup­ply in the box, and you can buy another to plug into the sec­ond port. If one PSU should fail the other will keep the NAS up and run­ning.

We tested an 8TB model with two WD Red 4TB disks pre­loaded. You can set the two disks as JBOD, lin­ear vol­ume, RAID 0 or 1. By de­fault the unit is con­fig­ured in RAID 1 with the disks mir­rored to pro­vide pro­tec­tion against a sin­gle disk fail­ure. Us­ing Crys­talDiskMark in Win­dows, we saw sequential read speeds at 115MB/s and writes at 99MB/s, sug­gest­ing it’s slightly faster in reads than the EX2100’s 103MB/s, but slower at large sequential writes com­pared to the lat­ter’s 109MB/s.

With sin­gle threaded 4kB ran­dom reads, its 20MB/s dou­bled the 10MB/s we recorded from the EX2100, and its 6.4MB/s ran­dom writes also beat the 4.3MB/s of the cheaper ARM-pow­ered NAS. At greater queue depths there was a re­ver­sal of for­tunes, with 4kB ran­dom reads at least (QD=32), as the EX2100 hit an im­pres­sive 51MB/s against the DL2100’s 17MB/s.

Tested in OS X over AFP, the Mac sys­tem de­fault, we again saw de­risory per­for­mance with small 4kB ran­dom writes, at just 0.07MB/s. Sequential reads hit 112MB/s but sequential writes av­er­aged only 34MB/s us­ing data 10MB its size.

Power con­sump­tion was com­pa­ra­ble to its ARM brother at around 19W disks ac­tive, fall­ing to 12W idle.

Ver­dict

The DL2100 is around £80 more than its EX2100 twin, but of­fers im­proved per­for­mance jug­gling mul­ti­ple data trans­ac­tions, and has a power failover op­tion. Ei­ther unit is ca­pa­ble and can be rec­om­mended as among the best in two-bay NAS at the price.

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