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November 17, 2015

WD My Cloud Business Series DL4100 24TB NAS Review


Most NAS storage nowadays offers the ease of content sharing from multiple devices in the same network or even anywhere that has internet connection and has been widely used by home and small scale businesses. 

We're now looking at a NAS storage that comes with the feature of a cloud storage for today's review, greatest thanks to Western Digital for providing us with the review unit of the My Cloud Business Series DL4100, a 4-bay business oriented NAS storage that is offering the benefits of both NAS and cloud in one single device. The 24TB variant DL4100 we have here retails at RM 7699.00 SRP and comes with 3-year warranty. 


Specifications

Unboxing


The My Cloud DL4100 comes in WD colours of deep blue with the NAS unit pictured at the front with the product name shares the same space. The model we have here ships with a total of 4 WD's own 6TB RED NAS storage drives in a total of 24TB of storage.


Some highlighted features of the My Cloud DL4100 is inscribed on the side of the box.


Included in the box: 
  • My Cloud DL100
  • a Quick installation guide 
  • Technical support
  • Warranty guide 
  • Ethernet cable
  • Power adapter

The My Cloud DL4100 shares the very same design as the My Cloud EX4100, it comes with a USB 3.0 port and a one-touch USB 3.0 copy button that allows you to copy the drive content onto a plugged in USB 3.0 storage device, hassle-free. 


The extra feature which you can find at the front is the LCD panel that allows you to go through additional details such as IP address, drive temperature, drive status and more. Something that comes in very handy for troubleshooting, a definite needs in business environment.


The use of these tool-free and easy to release locking mechanism makes hard drives installation/replacement a total breeze.


The DL4100 24TB is made up of 4 WD's 6TB Red Drive which is specifically made for long hours of operation - perfect choice for NAS storage that is meant for high uptime.


Other than the meshed design that act as an air intake vent, there's nothing in particular at the side that is worth mentioning.



At the back of the My Cloud DL4100:
  • Pinhole reset button in case if you wish to revert to the factory settings
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port
  • 1 x USB 3.0 port for sharing content from another USB 3.0 drives or copying its content
  • 2 x Ethernet port if you wish to have a redundant connection to ensure guaranteed uptime in case one of the network is down
  • 2 x DC port for the adapter to ensure guaranteed uptime in case one of the power failed
  • A large 140mm exhaust fan to get rid of the heat in the NAS

WEB UI 

By typing in the short name of the device in your browser address bar ( can be found in the user's guide ), you'll be directed to the Web UI of the My Cloud DL4100 for first time configuration.


Once you're done with the initial configuration, you're good to go with the My Cloud DL4100.


The UI is made simple but detailed and we have no trouble in navigating through it. There will be a warning exclamation icon to indicate that further action is required - in our case, firmware update is required.



The first drop down button will show the USB storage devices connected to the My Cloud DL4100.


The notification shows updated info, warning messages and critical issue so you can perform necessary action if any is required.


You can perform shut down, reboot and logout from the options available in this drop down menu.

User Menu

You can authorize other users to access to the My Cloud DL4100 by adding new user profile and manage its authority.


You can group the users into a group profile with pre-configured access authority if you have some data that is meant to be seen only by certain user group.

Share Menu

You can mange data sharing in the share menu, enabling public sharing, recycle bin, media serving, opclocks etc.

Cloud Access Menu


In the Cloud Access menu, you can configure the access to the My Cloud DL4100 for the selected user. Clicking on the 'Get Code' button generates a series of 9 digit passcode which can be used for accessing the My Cloud DL4100 with WD My Cloud mobile app and WD My Cloud Desktop app.

Backup Menu

In the backup menu, you can create backup job to store a copy of the My Cloud DL4100 content to a selected USB 3.0 drive or vice versa.


Select the direction of the copy job.


For remote backup, you can create the backup job to backup files to another NAS server if you're well equipped with a rich background knowledge in network configuration, else you can ignore this option. 


The internal backup doesn't requires any complicated setup as it's basically copies the files from one location to another which is located on the same drive.


As for cloud backup, you can backup your data to selected WD NAS partner like ElephantDrive and Amazon S3.


Camera backups allows you to backup photos directly from your camera that is connected to the My Cloud DL4100. 

Storage Menu

If the default RAID 1 configuration doesn't suits your needs, you can always configure the RAID mode for the My Cloud DL4100 in the storage menu.


You can choose the RAID mode from the list, ranging from JBOD to RAID 1 - which ever that suits your needs.


Disk status option will display the "health" of your HDDs.


iSCSI option allows you the setup to a total of 64 iSCSI target on other devices which can then be mapped in the Volume virtualization option.


Volume virtualization allows you to create up to a total of 8 virtual disk drives via iSCSI Initiator.

App Menu

In the Apps tab, users get to manage their downloads from the Internet to the drives in the My Cloud DL4100 without having to turn the PC on. Particularly useful to download large files over the Internet. HTTP downloads lets you download via direct sources.


FTP downloads are for files only accessible by having an access to the hosting website.


P2P are files grabbed from multiple sharing sources, usually on another computer somewhere in the world - aka the torrenting method that is commonly seen nowadays.


The web file viewer lets you view files on the My Cloud DL4100 via the web.


Here's the fun part - you can install a wide variety of apps such as eMule, Dropbox to ease up the downloading of your favorite files. 

Settings

Finally we come to the Settings tab. First option lets you set things like device name and time and such.


Network options adjusts the IP address and network services.


Media option lets you set the media database to access the data source you want and yes, it's the iTunes you're seeing there, users of Apple product will benefit from this feature.


All the things you will be needing for the system configurations and troubleshooting can be found in the the Utilities option.


Notifications options allows you to configure the My Cloud DL4100 to send you an alert via email or SMS according to the types of notification to be sent.


And firmware update lets you configure the My Cloud DL4100 to update automatically or you could disable it should you wish to update only when you want it to. Once everything has been setup properly, your personal cloud storage is ready for action.

Access from MyCloud App

As we did mentioned earlier, accessing your files in the My Cloud DL4100 via mobile phone is now made possible with the apps from WD which can be found in the Apple AppStore and Google Play. 

After entering the activation code generated from the cloud access menu, you can access the shared files on the My Cloud DL4100 from pretty much anywhere, as long as there's internet connection available.


Streaming videos on the My Cloud DL4100 in full HD? Not a problem.



Playing music files on the My Cloud DL4100.



Viewing images stored on the My Cloud DL4100.


 WD My Cloud Desktop App


There's also PC version of the WD My Cloud that allows you to do almost the same as what the mobile app did, except that it's a much more advanced version with more features. It'll automatically detect WD My Cloud that is connected to your network and list it out as the devices found in your network.  


Once connected, you can access all your beloved files and share it with your friends and loved ones, the WD My Cloud way.

Copying Files From / To the My Cloud DL4100


We've done a quick test on copying movie files from our PC to the My Cloud DL4100 and vice versa, both yields a result of a constant transfer speed of 11 MB/s.

Final thoughts
The WD DL4100 is really one easy to deploy NAS and all it takes is to connect everything together and a quite browse to the web UI to make everything work. The simple and user-friendly web UI is definitely worth a praise. Aside of that, it can be used as your company's private cloud storage, allowing you to share data and other necessary details with your clients, employees using the My Cloud app with all the function required centralized as one entity.

While it might look exactly the same as the expert series EX4100 by appearance and shares the same 2GB worth of RAM, WD has made it clear by creating a performance gap in between these 2 devices, where the EX4100 uses Marvel® ARMADA® 1.6 GHz dual-core processor; while the DL4100 packs more punch with the Intel® Atom™ C2338 1.7 GHz Dual-Core processor. Aside of the use of different processor, the DL series is more superior than the EX series as it can support a single drive up to 6GB

If you're running a small business and requires a feasible NAS instead of an enterprise level NAS that will probably cost a bomb and unnecessary, why consider the My Cloud DL4100 for that very purpose?

Pros
  • Sturdy metal enclosure that is built to last long 
  • Ready to use right out of the box and very easy to setup
  • Comes with LCD panel to display device status and other necessary details
  • Simple and user-friendly Web UI that is very easy to use
  • Gives you the personal cloud features that can be accessed with free to use mobile apps and software
  • Affordable pricing for a NAS in similar class
  • Cost efficient, much better than setting up a dedicated system just for the same purpose.
Cons
  • No options for accessing the drives via USB interface
  • Very bulky                                           

                   

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