The newest addition to Western Digital’s line of Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices is the My Book Live Duo. As the name would suggest it contains 2 storage drives that are capable of acting in spanning or data protection modes. In spanning mode the two drives combine to form one large volume, whereas in data protection mode one drive is used to store your data and the other is used to store a duplicate copy. The device also does the other things that are now expected out of modern NASes, it will stream your media or iTunes Library to any DNLA certified device such as blu-ray players or game consoles, it performs automated backups using the included WD SmartWare software or it works with Time Machine, and it provides internet and mobile access using its iOS and Android apps.
Once you connect it to your router using the included Ethernet cable, the setup and discovery of this network drive is fairly straightforward and takes only a couple of minutes. Most computers will detect it automatically without the software, but to obtain the full functionality of the device it is best to install the basic WD software on each computer that is connected on your network. The NAS ships in spanning mode by default so that if you want to take advantage of the data protection mode you will have to reconfigure the device, a process that can take several hours to complete.
As well as making your data available on your local area network, the 800 MHz server will allow secured access through any internet connection from WD2go.com. Western Digital promotes this as your Personal Cloud storage device that you can keep safely at home and access it without any cost. Once you log in, the WD My Book Live Duo NAS is mounted on your computer like a local drive, making all of your data quickly and easily available on your computer. Files can be opened, modified and then saved back on the Duo.
You can also use iOS or Android apps to access data using your favourite mobile device. This feature is enabled through the web portal on the Mobile Access tab of the Settings button where you first obtain an access code which is used to activate the mobile app. Using this capability, you can access your documents, photos, music and videos. In practice the mobile apps work fairly well on a WiFi network but viewing of photos and video slows down considerably on a 3G network. It is even possible to use the Air Play feaure of your iOS device to view your media on your televsion through Apple TV. Support for media file formats is limited though as it only seems to recognize mp3 music files and only mp4 video files. If you want access to all of your files, you either have to convert them to the proper format or use other 3rd party apps such as Air Video, Media Center or Orb.
This Western Digital NAS comes in 4 and 6 TB models and is available only at a limited number of retailers in Canada. I obtained a 6 TB model from a local distributor but it is also starting to become available at Canada Computers (canadacomputers.com). The units are presently fairly costly, the 4 TB model averages $379 while the 6 TB model will run you about $479. It is expected that these prices will come down as hard drive shortages ease up a bit later in the year.
In summary although this Network Attached Storage device is a little pricy, it delivers on everything it promises. It provides fast, safe and secure access for all of your data within your network and from anywhere on the internet. With all of these features the My Book Live Duo can truly become the center of your digital hub and your personal cloud storage solution.